27 May 2014

Looking back on Seattle broadcast: Memorable for me, less so for the Sounders

All smiles before the game began, of course.
I had the chance to step in as a replacement play-by-play broadcaster on the Seattle Sounders' May 11 broadcast, but I'm not sure I'm going to be asked back any time soon.

Seattle came in on a five-game winning streak but suffered a 5-0 loss, its worst in six years of MLS regular-season play. We all know broadcasters have nothing to do with results, but it sure didn't look good for me. I have several college friends who live in Seattle and were excited to watch the game, but as you can see, their excitement quickly turned to frustration:
The Sounders' production team, from the excellent behind-the-scenes staff led by Brian O'Connell to vibrant pre-game hosts Jackie Montgomery and Taylor Graham and my unfortunately under-the-weather partner Kasey Keller, was extremely welcoming and great to work with. And of course the man for whom I filled in, Ross Fletcher, provided an excellent scouting report on the show format and some storylines when we talked during the week.

Interviewing Lamar Neagle from afar.
The Sounders communication staff and team personnel were also helpful - I talked briefly with defender Chad Marshall on Saturday, then had pre-game production meetings with head coach Sigi Schmid and defender Brad Evans on Sunday, finally interviewing Lamar Neagle for the pre-game show. Full credit to Sigi Schmid for enduring a halftime interview with his team down 4-0 and his voice starting to go.

My favorite two hours.
As for the broadcast itself, I definitely wish I could have another crack at the pre-game show. As always with a new show, there's a level of comfort that would be there the second time around but isn't present right away. It wasn't bad, but just something I know I could have done better. I felt very good about the in-game play-by-play, but of course it didn't create many happy memories for Sounders fans.

We were fortunate enough to be a little bit prescient in highlighting Revolution wing Diego Fagundez. He's one of the players I most enjoy watching in MLS but had been scoreless in 2014. During the week, I looked up the numbers and found that his nine starts without scoring a goal was the longest such streak of his young career, a stat I had not seen anywhere else. He also had a great track record against Seattle. Unfortunately for the Sounders, the trend that continued was him killing Seattle, as he scored twice in the first half. Not good on the field, but you always feel good when something the entire production team chose to highlight ahead of time ends up being relevant to the game itself.

Here's a look at highlights from the game via our broadcast (the league highlights used the home team broadcast in this case):

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Sounders won their next game and tied the next; as of May 27, they remain on a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) when I am NOT calling their games. I would love to work with these guys again, but I can't say the odds are looking very good.

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