|Sporting Kansas City had just enough time to score the winning goal.|
Having not watched the game, I cannot speak to Foerster’s performance in terms of fouls and cards. But having watched (and now re-watched, with a stopwatch) stoppage time, I can tell you his assessment of stoppage time was spot-on.
Stoppage time exists because the referee stops the game clock (either literally, via his watch, or mentally, by noting the time) at certain points during the game. These stoppages can be for injuries, goals, cards, substitutions, excessive time-wasting, and the like. Every game has stoppage time, so most of these are not unusual. The amount of stoppage time announced by the fourth official (in this case, a big ‘5’ was displayed to the stadium) is a minimum, and is announced as such in the stadium by the public address announcer.
So why were RSL and KC still playing in the eighth minute of stoppage time on Saturday? Because there were stoppages during stoppage time. By my calculation, in terms of actual playing time, Saturday’s game had 4 minutes and 58 seconds of stoppage time. Right on the money.
Here’s how I figured it:
In the 92nd minute, Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales was fouled and fell to the ground. Shortly afterward, he grabbed his knee and rolled over. I stopped my watch at 91:14, when he first rolled over. The referee, Foerster, came over to Morales without blowing his whistle, so I can’t say for sure when he stopped the game clock, but I know that Foerster re-blew his whistle at 92:05, calling for the game to resume. That’s 51 seconds.
In the 96th minute on the television clock (about 94:24 on mine), Foerster breaks up a scuffle between players from both teams in the penalty area. He blows his whistle to stop play at 95:15 and restarts play at 95:58. That’s 43 seconds.
So while the game clock read 95:58, and Real Salt Lake fans were thinking the game should have been over a minute earlier, the amount of stoppage time played was well under five minutes. In fact, Graham Zusi struck the corner kick at 4:46 on my watch, and Opara’s header found the back of the net at 4:49.
I stopped my watch for another 45 seconds during the Kansas City celebration, although we cannot be sure for how long Foerster stopped his, which leads us to our final total of 7:17 on the television clock, but 4:59 on the actual clock.
So everyone is entitled to have their say about Foerster's decisions and game management, but I hope they will re-consider their criticism of the amount of stoppage time. Five minutes was announced, and five minutes was played.
Here’s a spreadsheet summarizing the stoppage time played:
|Start time||End time||Elapsed|