Philadelphia Union-NYCFC match interrupted by raccoon field invader

CHESTER, PA - MAY 15: A raccoon invades the pitch during the game between New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union on May 15, 2024 at Subaru Park in Chester PA. (Photo by Terence Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Just a little guy taking in the sights. (Photo by Terence Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The most agile athlete on the field of Wednesday's game between the Philadelphia Union and New York City FC was nocturnal.

The 21st minute saw a raccoon invade the field at Subaru Park and evade capture for the next two minutes, despite a persistent effort from a Union grounds crew armed with trash cans. The furry Philadelphian was eventually led into a trap and caught in a can.

The effort won over the hearts of the crowd and the Apple TV broadcasters, who urged the raccoon to "go on" as the crew circled. The players were less amused by the stoppage.

The good news for animal lovers is Union announced the raccoon was given to a company called Hoffman's Exterminating (one would hope their capabilities go beyond extermination) and safely released into the wild, or the closest thing you can get to the wild in Philadelphia.

NYCFC led 1-0 at the time of the raccoon's arrival and doubled that lead with a goal from Hannes Wolf in the first half's stoppage time. The Union got on the board in the 47th minute via Julián Carranza's goal, but ultimately fell short despite a 26-10 shot discrepancy.

The loss knocked the Union's record down to 3-5-4, a rough start after finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference last season before being ousted from the MLS Cup playoffs at the feet of FC Cincinnati in the conference semifinals.