22 July 2013

How Matthew Foerster got stoppage time correct in the RSL-KC game

I didn’t watch the Real Salt Lake-Sporting Kansas City game on Saturday night. But when I got ready to turn in for the night, my Twitter feed told me the game was still 1-1 in stoppage time, with RSL down a man, and I figured I’d check out the climax.

Sporting Kansas City had just enough time to score the winning goal.
What I got, of course, was one of the latest, most dramatic goals of the year, as Kansas City’s Ike Opara headed in a corner kick in the seventh minute of stoppage time to give Sporting the win. Much of the post-game controversy surrounded the referee, Matthew Foerster, including both his performance throughout the game and why 5 minutes of stoppage time had been announced, but 7 minutes and 20 seconds were played.

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 timeEnd timeElapsed

11 July 2013

Breakfast of champions

A breakfast I would advise you try: banana pancakes. ... With ice cream on top. Seriously. What could be better? Maybe you could mix and match some flavors of both pancake and ice cream, but the general concept of ice cream on top of pancakes seems hard to beat.

That's right - that's ice cream, not butter, adorning this stack.

08 July 2013

Right place, right time to call spectacular Nagbe goal

I had a great chance to work with an up-and-coming organization in MLS, the Portland Timbers, on a game a few weeks back. This is a club that puts a lot of resources into its broadcasts and has already seen its television play-by-play broadcaster, John Strong, hired as the new (American!) voice of MLS on NBC Sports.

Booth shot in Frisco.
So when the Timbers asked me if I was available to provide the radio call for their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against FC Dallas on June 26 (I'm only a 3-hour drive away), I was psyched to do it.

It had been about 20 months since I had done radio play-by-play, so I felt a little rusty at times, but the game had a terrific second half and one wonderful goal, and it was a really fun experience from start to finish. I'm hoping to produce more extended highlights at some point, but here are the calls from the Timbers' big plays, including Darlington Nagbe's spectacular solo effort:

As an added bonus, I've been called on by Comcast Houston to do play-by-play for the Houston Dynamo's August 10 game against Real Salt Lake. Can't get enough MLS action!

01 July 2013

Fun with news typos

This was up on CBSNews.com (and Google News' top result) for at least 30 minutes on Monday afternoon, despite my best efforts (in red) to fix it:

I have made my share of typos -- I once sent out a press release with "El Pason" in the subject line instead of "El Paso" -- but when a typo like this appears in headline, lede, and page header (not pictured), and nobody at a major news site catches it for 30 minutes, it's kind of jaw-dropping.

EDIT: After about 30 minutes online, the offending typos have been fixed. Of course, the URL remains "lightening," but I suppose correcting a permalink would have been too much to ask: