With Hurricane Irma bearing down, Fafa Picault worried about hometown Miami

Philadelphia Union's Fafa Picault battles with Minnesota's Collen Warner

MINNEAPOLIS ­– It’s been an intense week for the city of Miami. The nation’s fourth-largest urban area has been bracing for Hurricane Irma as the storm was set to make landfall over the weekend. As such, evacuation has been difficult for many in South Florida.

Among the Miami residents in transit were Philadelphia Union midfielder Fafa Picault’s parents, Leslie and Lucerne. Fortunately, they were able to get out of the city before the severe weather hit.

“It’s been a bit hectic,” Picault said after the Union battled Minnesota United FC to a 1-1 road draw. “[I’ve been] trying to pressure my friends to evacuate, making sure everybody’s OK. I’ve been on a lot of phone calls over the last three days.”

While he played the waiting game, Picault was able to keep his mind off of what was coming by focusing on the field. Meanwhile, with flights completely booked, the Picaults were able to drive up to Philadelphia to their son's home, a trip that took 27 hours given the heavy traffic.

“I just hope everybody else back home stays safe,” Picault said. “It’s my job, so at the end of the day I have to do what I have to do. I have good parents, so they just make sure I concentrate on what I’m doing. I have some good people back in Philly who made sure to take care of them. I left my keys with a friend who got them to my parents, so everything was easy.”

Perhaps that relief helped the winger get in the zone. He made quick work of getting into the box score Saturday, sending in a cross in the fifth minute that found CJ Sapong at the far post. It marked his second assist in MLS play.

“Man, a win would’ve done it,” Picault joked when asked if this assist was a little sweeter. “I guess it felt OK to still get on the field despite everything else that’s going on back home. Now I get to go back and see my parents and play the waiting game. Hopefully, this hurricane can curve around, but I know Jose is right around the corner.”

Indeed, with Hurricane Jose bearing down too, Fafa may have his extra house guests for a bit longer than planned. But the Picaults will make the most of their impromptu reunion.

“We’re just gonna hang out and eat,” he said. “My mom’s here, so we might as well eat like crazy. The kitchen doesn’t smell like food until she’s there, so. She makes everything. They’re excited to see me, I’m exciting for the food. Nah, I’m excited to see them too. It’s always a plus.”