Midway through the first half, Real Monarchs and Saint Louis FC stopped play rather immediately.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Omar Holness collapsed to the ground, completely removed from play, when he suffered what RSL Communications called an "apparent seizure."
If you've never been at a match where a player drops to the ground, it's unlike anything else I've experienced. Everything stopped. The crowd went silent, and the players went into a sort of frenzy, calling for immediate medical attention.
When you spend 90 minutes in fierce competition with 11 other players, it's easy to lose sight of something bigger than the game. But when the worst thing imaginable happens, that all fades. There were no divisions: Saint Louis FC players were rushing to ensure that a gurney was brought out as quickly as possible, pushing it along the grass at Rio Tinto Stadium as quickly as possible. Real Monarchs players did the same.
Imagine, just for a moment, being part of a team when one of your teammates, your colleagues suffers from a dangerous medical condition unexpectedly, and all you can do is watch. Imagine pushing that gurney as fast as you can across the field, only to have medical staff attend to the player on the ground, because that's simply what has to be done. Imagine the most help you can offer is to stand there and be helpless, to go on when such a jarring, upsetting event just happened.
And imagine your teammate being loaded onto an ambulance to be taken to a local hospital, as Holness was. These are concerns that go beyond sporting competition and touch at an intimately human point of each of us.
At the end of the day, a match seems infintesimally small compared to the life of one of its players. Instead of celebrating a win, we sit here grateful that Omar Holness was able to raise his hand when being put in an ambulance that, for a brief time, was forced on to the stark, green sanctuary. Instead of celebrating a goal, we are thankful that 21 players were aware that a fellow competitor had fallen, and ensured the attention paid to him was immediate.
Omar Holness, Real Salt Lake representatives have said, is awake and alert at the hospital. The next steps for him and for his family cannot be easy, even if this terrifying event turns out to be a single instance that doesn't repeat itself. Whatever happens next, the least anyone can do is be supportive. I, for one, am grateful that he is on a team that has proven to be supportive of its members in many ways. I expect that will continue to be the case here.