15 April 2014

Shivering, sniffling through opening-night broadcast at the MLS U-17 championship

Our setup on Monday night
You would think Dallas in late April would be pretty warm, but the weather on Monday at the 2014 Generation adidas Cup was anything but welcoming. With temperatures in the 40s and dropping into the 30s at night (which, of course, included our live broadcast under a full moon), and a strong wind whipping across the exposed complex all day long, everybody on hand was talking about how cold it was.

The broadcast must go on, of course, so at 8 p.m. CT I stepped onto a small podium near the bench of the San Jose Earthquakes U-17 team and called their game against the Chivas Guadalajara U17s. Coaches and kids from both teams were staying at our hotel, so that made it easier than normal to prepare for the game, but there were still a few challenges. For example, Chivas wears thin, navy blue numbers (often in the triple digits) on a background of red and white stripes, which is virtually impossible to see more than 40 yards away. We also did not have replay capabilities on Monday, although we hope to show replays later in the tournament.

The game itself, despite being the only 0-0 tie of the day in the tournament's championship division (my full Day 1 recap is available here), was pretty compelling. Less than three minutes in, we had the heartbreaking site of a San Jose player in tears after suffering an injury and being helped off the field by his teammates. Whatever the injury, you could see the anguish on the kid's face. Luckily, when I checked at halftime, the injury turned out not to be the complete ruptured Achilles the player had feared it to be.

After San Jose dominated the game in terms of scoring chances but was consistently denied by the Chivas goalkeeper, the Mexican club won in a very well-executed shootout, as the teams combined to score on nine of their 10 penalty kicks. One Chivas player had been injured late in the game, after the club had run out of substitutions. So he remained with his team in the center circle for the shootout, then was carried off in tears by a teammate.

While you obviously hope both kids are OK and get to play again in the tournament, it's not every day you call a game book-ended with that kind of emotion. Hopefully we get more elation than anything else throughout the remaining games!

Here's the full archive of the game:

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