Elusive raccoon shows off moves as it scampers across field during soccer match


PHILADELPHIA — Pass that raccoon a soccer ball. Lionel Messi pales in comparison to this critter.

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An elusive raccoon nicknamed Raquinho bolted onto the pitch during Wednesday’s MLS match between host Philadelphia Union and New York City FC, entertaining the crowd for nearly three minutes as it eluded stadium groundskeepers.

The wily raccoon scampered onto the field at Subaru Park during the 21st minute of the match, KYW-TV reported.

Sign him now,” MLS wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, featuring a video of Raquinho’s dashing moves.

Members of the grounds crew chased the animal with a trash can and poster boards for 161 seconds before it was finally caught, according to the television station.

MLS officials said the raccoon broke the league’s record for game stoppage due to a live animal on the field, according to WXTF-TV.

“We need to find him a ball because he’s moving very well in the center of midfield,” Apple TV+ play-by-play commentator Callum Williams said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite as bizarre as this, particularly given the amount of time he’s remained on the field.”

Williams later added, “this is marvelous entertainment.”

“At what point are we just rooting for him?” color analyst Calen Carr added.

Finally, after nearly three minutes and 10 staff members in pursuit, Raquinho was finally caught as a groundskeeper used the trash can to subdue him.

Raquinho’s fame became complete when Topps added the animal to its daily Topps Now offering. For a limited time, collectors can buy a card online for $8.99, KYW reported.

New York City won the match 2-1, but the star was obviously Raquinho.

In an update, the Union said that the raccoon was “put in good hands” and was safely released by clup partners Hoffman’s Exterminating, CNN reported.

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