03 March 2012

Disney Day 7: Nothing like a couple of 1-0 games

I don't know where to start with for this one - it's been an exhausting seven hours. I worked on the ESPN3 broadcasts of the Pro Soccer Classic for the second consecutive year, which is a real thrill because the production value (audio, number of cameras, graphics, etc.) is on a different level from anywhere else I've worked. There were some big changes to the setup from last year, and I think they mostly worked out very well - I had a good time calling both games, and hopefully the broadcasts worked for our viewers in Texas, Canada, and wherever they were watching.

I was about 10 minutes late to the studio today (a hazard of not renting your own car), which I really hate to do. I like to be early and be prepared, but instead I found myself rushed at times. On the other hand, I still got to help set up the graphics used on the broadcast, including soccer lineup graphics.

For last year's lineups, we just listed the 10 field players and highlighted the goalkeepers separately, but this year we got the actual lineup graphics from ESPN and used them. Having checked with teams yesterday and today, I had a good idea of the lineups, and I got to help the production assistant move the players into the various formations (we had four teams with three different looks today) and choose which stats to highlight for certain players. This may go away as I get more experience, but as someone who has watched sports on TV forever, it's freaking cool to see information that you provided get put up on an ESPN graphic. The PA was great to work with, and I thought the graphics were a major upgrade over last year.

We were also working in a bigger studio than last year (yes, the games today were called from a studio less than 100 yards from the field - not ideal, but more efficient), which gave us a little more room to shoot our stand-up and deal with issues that came up during the broadcast.

I did play-by-play on the first game -- my normal role -- and it featured two teams I know very well: my former employer, the Houston Dynamo, and my biggest client this year, FC Dallas. The game had some good chances and exciting plays, notably a second-half penalty save and later a shot off the crossbar, but it's always disappointing when the only goal of a game comes on a penalty kick. I also lost crowd noise coming through my headset for maybe the last 20-25 minutes of the broadcast, which is incredibly frustrating - calling a game with no atmosphere is not enjoyable.

For the second game, there was almost no turnaround time, but Kevin Corke stepped in on play-by-play (we met less than 15 minutes before the broadcast began), and I served as color analyst for the first time on a soccer broadcast. I was worried about it, I'm not going to lie, but I really enjoyed doing color. I had spent most of my research time on Vancouver and Toronto, and I felt comfortable chiming in with whatever information I could provide - the story of Toronto basically stealing Logan Emory from under Orlando City's noses was my favorite! I didn't feel great about my question for Martin Rennie during halftime, so that's among the many things I will take away to work on.

After the games, I got to voice over 1-minute highlight packages of both games, which always makes me feel like a SportsCenter anchor. As expected, everybody I worked with tonight - Kevin, the producers, the sound guys, the stats person - was really professional and knew their stuff, which made the job amazingly fun.

All that being said, I know a letdown is coming. I just called eight games in nine days, with only two days off and plenty of work to do on both of those days. I've been working hard every day, talking soccer and eating at restaurants in some spare time, and I had been building up to this tournament for a while. Professional life will resume a slightly slower pace next week - although the New Jersey hockey playoffs and the CONCACAF Champions League should be interesting to cover - and it will take a bit of adjusting.

But I'm really glad I got to work on this tournament and had a great time covering the coaches and players and working with communications professionals and everyone else involved. So long from Orlando, as it's back to Philly in the morning!

Houston Dynamo (0-2-2) vs. FC Dallas (2-1-1)
March 03, 2012 -- ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL

Scoring Summary:
FCD -- Brek Shea 1 (penalty kick) 9

Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Andre Hainault (Kofi Sarkodie 79), Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe (Oscar Recio 85), Colin Clark (Luiz Camargo 61), Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson (Youssouf Hersi 77), Brad Davis, Will Bruin (Calen Carr 67), Macoumba Kandji (Cam Weaver 61).
Substitutes Not Used: n/a.

FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, Hernan Pertuz, Jair Benitez (Geoffrey Tulasne 46), Fabian Castillo (Andrew Wiedeman 53), Daniel Hernandez (Bobby Warshaw 59), Andrew Jacobson (Victor Ulloa 59), Carlos Rodriguez, Blas Perez (Juan Carlos Enriquez 76), Brek Shea (Ruben Luna 46, Bryan Leyva 87).
Substitutes Not Used: n/a.

Misconduct Summary:
FCD -- Andrew Jacobson (caution) 46+
HOU -- Je-Vaughn Watson (caution) 52
HOU -- Andre Hainault (caution) 70
FCD -- Juan Carlos Enriquez (caution) 77
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (ejection) 88

Referee: Jorge Gonzales
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Kevin Klinger
4th Official: Ted Unkel
Attendance: n/a
Weather: Clear-and-83 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

Toronto FC (2-1-1) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (4-0-0)
March 03, 2012 -- ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL

Scoring Summary:
VAN -- Camilo 1 (unassisted) 10

Toronto FC -- Quillan Roberts, Jay Chapman (Jordan Hamilton 60), Michael Green, Logan Emory, Kevin Huezo, Efrain Burgos, Oscar Cordon, Eric Avila (Sergio Camargo 76), Nick Soolsma, Moises Orozco, Keith Makubuya (Stefan Vukovic 60).Substitutes Not Used: Chad Bush.

Vancouver Whitecaps -- Joe Cannon, Young-Pyo Lee, Martin Bonjour, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat, Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie, Atiba Harris (Omar Salgado 71), Darren Mattocks, Camilo, Eric Hassli (Russell Teibert 54).
Substitutes Not Used: Callum Irving, Bryce Alderson, Bilal Duckett.

Misconduct Summary:
TFC -- Keith Makubuya (caution) 2
VAN -- Darren Mattocks (caution) 25
VAN -- Russell Teibert (caution) 87
TFC -- Efrain Burgos (caution) 91+

Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee's Assistants: Sean Hurd; Joe Fletcher
4th Official: Cedric Adams
Attendance: n/a
Weather: Clear-and-78 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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