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Philadelphia Union trainer Paul Rushing a new folk icon after ejection

Sunday’s game with NYCFC was filled with many twists and turns but Paul Rushing’s ejection was the weirdest one of all

Morgan Tencza

Jose Martinez may have been the man of the match because of his defensive bite, his redirected shot that won the game and his double salute to NYCFC fans, but Philadelphia Union head athletic trainer Paul Rushing took on a new level of hero status when he was ejected from the game.

Yes, the Union’s head athletic trainer was red carded after a skirmish with NYCFC players, who were interfering with him treating an injured Julian Carranza.

It’s not the first time the long-time trainer for the team has captured the attention and imagination of fans.

During the Union’s last win on May 22 in Portland, Rushing and assistant Steve Hudyma were involved in an exchange with Sebastián Blanco that prompted some fun social media banter started by Brotherly Game contributor Alex Klein.

Sunday’s skirmish was a little more involved — Rushing shoved and exchanged words with Nicolas Acevedo and also got into it with Taty Castellanos — leading to a red card from referee Armando Villarreal and a standing ovation from fans as he exited the stadium.

MLS Soccer has the video of the incident from the national TV broadcast.

Though it didn’t directly lead to what would end up transpiring after it — NYCFC tying the game on a penalty and Cory Burke winning it with his hip deflecting a Martinez shot deep into stoppage time — it certainly contributed to the fight in the players to get all three point and to an atmosphere that felt like an Eastern Conference final.

It’s a moment no one at the game will forget anytime soon.