Those playing in the reserve match between the Columbus Crew and Dayton Dutch Lions on Wednesday night relived their childhoods when pickup games in the park went until there was no more sunlight.
Because of a power outage at Crew Stadium and surrounding areas caused by a late afternoon storm, the 3-1 victory for the Crew against the USL Pro Side ended in quickly diminishing daylight at 9:13 p.m.- 11 minutes after sunset.
"The last 10 minutes, it was actually kind of hard to see," Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson told MLSsoccer.com. "I figured they would call it at that point but luckily we were able to finish the match and have a no-questions asked victory as opposed to 'who knows what would have happened the last 10 minutes?'"
Fortunately, service was restored to the stadium at 5 a.m. Thursday and Saturday's friendly against Wigan Athletic is not in jeopardy.
Winds reaching 70 to 80 miles per hour battered central Ohio about three hours before the 7:30 p.m. kickoff and American Electric Power (AEP) said 152,000 customers lost service. As of midday Thursday 62,000 had regained power.
Crew Stadium lost power just prior to the start of the match (the field lights were already on). There was no electricity to do a live stream as planned and the locker rooms were powerless after the match.
Auxiliary power allowed for lighting of the concourses, restrooms, north-end stage and two security beams on each of the four stadium light poles.
Knowing the match could end in darkness, halftime was reduced to eight minutes. The saving of seven minutes might have made a difference in getting the game completed.
"It felt like it was backyard soccer," Crew defender Eric Gehrig said to MLSsoccer.com. "There was a ball that [midfielder Ben Speas] got and he was running around, I thought we were kids again. It was crazy with the sun going down like that."
This was the third time in recent years that storms put a match at Crew Stadium in peril: On Sept. 14, 2008, sustained gusts reached 75 mile per hour, or, a category 1 hurricane, for six hours to cause power outages to 650,000 AEP customers. It took two days to restore service to the stadium and the game against New York on Sept. 18 was played as scheduled.
Also, the match vs. Real Salt Lake on June 30, 2012, was moved back an hour because of violent storms the day prior that caused a loss of power at Crew Stadium for almost 24 hours.