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March 23, 2013 11:06 AM   Subscribe

The United States Men's National Soccer team played a very, very, snowy game last night against Costa Rica. Costa Rica is not happy. A live blog of the events.
posted by josher71 (49 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Much to the chagrin of Costa Rica, which has 24 hours to file a protest with FIFA, the governing body of international soccer.

Hmmm, is the statute of limitations up on protesting the Fog Bowl?
posted by Drinky Die at 11:13 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think we should start a pre-emptive protest against scheduling World Cup matches in hell.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:17 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I see from the photo gallery they had the dayglo ball, so can't see what the problem is - :mutter: :mutter: away to Dynamo Kiev in November, uphill both ways, kids today.
posted by Abiezer at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The ball was not dayglo on TV. I couldn't follow it very well at all.
posted by josher71 at 11:20 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, is the statute of limitations up on protesting the Fog Bowl?
posted by Drinky Die at 11:13 AM on March 23 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Come to think of it, adding "Fog of War" artificial fogging machines as standard to American football games would make them a lot more fun.
posted by Bwithh at 11:20 AM on March 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Admittedly, I'm getting this from the US announcers, but it did seem like the ref asked if they wanted to stop and Costa Rica said no. It made sense at the time, they were threatening to score, but you don't get to change your mind now.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:21 AM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of the articles says that they only stopped to clear the field. I'll be interested to hear what FIFA says. I can't imagine they'll uphold the protest.
posted by josher71 at 11:24 AM on March 23, 2013


Man, that's a hard call. On one had yeah, play on. On the other, does that mean large countries that have a wide range of options can schedule matches in cities that are likely to have weather that would be a serious detriment to visiting countries?

I don't really have a strong option on the matter but understand both sides and whatever the final decision is matters as much as if the opposite decision was made, to me.
posted by edgeways at 11:26 AM on March 23, 2013


The ball was not dayglo on TV. I couldn't follow it very well at all.
Well, to make my point, such as it is, more seriously; AFAIK heavy snow falls within the range of conditions football gets played in subject to a judgement call by the officials, and if the ref's digression was that they could play on (noting Bulgaroktonos saying he offered the call-off) then any protest is on dodgy ground (due to heavy icing underfoot).
posted by Abiezer at 11:27 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did they or did they not agree to play? One of the LA Times articles says this: "Costa Rican counterpart Jorge Luis Pinto, along with players from each team, implored referee Joel Aguilar that the game go on."

Another says this: "Costa Rican Coach Jorge Luis Pinto was outraged that the game was played. 'I asked them to stop,' he said after the game."
posted by Houstonian at 11:27 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


edgeways: "Man, that's a hard call. On one had yeah, play on. On the other, does that mean large countries that have a wide range of options can schedule matches in cities that are likely to have weather that would be a serious detriment to visiting countries?"

It seems like the weather conditions more or less affect both teams equally; it's not like the US practices in the snow.
posted by dismas at 11:28 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


This looks like a hockey game!
posted by limeonaire at 11:36 AM on March 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


From the NYT article, it sounds like the US side was more trying make it hard for Costa Rica fans to get tickets, and that's why it was set in Commerce City. The weather in Colorado in March is wildly unpredictable, and they could have just as easily had 75F and clear skies. If you are playing outside, it's a gamble you take.
posted by ambrosia at 11:37 AM on March 23, 2013


likely to have weather that would be a serious detriment to visiting countries?"

A blizzard like that isn't likely and the US has a skilled team (not been playing great) that should have a skill advantage over Costa Rica that snow would have wiped out.

In short, there's zero advantage for the US here.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:38 AM on March 23, 2013


The thing is, that wasn't a soccer match. It should never have been played. In a place where the possibility of snow and ice is encountered regularly, there should be heating coils under the pitch. That was not an adequate pitch to play on. I'm sympathetic to their complaint.

I wonder if there were players on the Costa Rican team who had never seen snow in person before?
posted by Fnarf at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Admittedly, I'm getting this from the US announcers, but it did seem like the ref asked if they wanted to stop and Costa Rica said no. It made sense at the time, they were threatening to score, but you don't get to change your mind now.

I believe (and I admit I could be totally wrong here) that it's the referee's call, at least once the match starts.

That aside, I would doubt the announcers because, as referee, you don't want to be put in the position of having asked the teams their opinion, had them disagree and then end up siding with one or the other.
posted by hoyland at 11:46 AM on March 23, 2013


Doesn't seem to be helped by having it called a 'near-blizzard' or 'white-out'. It wasn't either, but that also doesn't make it suitable playing conditions.
posted by edd at 11:54 AM on March 23, 2013


I can't find anything beyond it being the referee who gets to abandon a match due to weather (or flares or whatever else). No guidelines for how this determination is made.
posted by hoyland at 11:54 AM on March 23, 2013


Lot of discussion by the announcers during the game about who decides to call it and under what circumstances. There was definitely an intense conversation at the 55th minute about whether to continue or no and it looked to me as if the players on both teams wanted to play, as of course did Klinsman. Horrible conditions to play in - it was a mess!
posted by leslies at 11:59 AM on March 23, 2013


It seems like the weather conditions more or less affect both teams equally; it's not like the US practices in the snow.

If anything favored the U.S> here it would be the altitude, I'd think (Commerce City is about 2000 ft. higher than COsta Rica's highest point.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:01 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Playing in snowy conditions is not a reason for cancelling a game in itself. It can become an issue if

- visibility is so poor that supporters or players cannot see adequately
- the pitch has become hazardous, for example due to slipperiness or the ground is frozen
- the markings are significiantly obscured (this can legitmiately be mitigated by removal of snow)
- the ball is behaving very differently than under normal conditions
- the ball cannot be seen (there is an option to use a coloured ball to try to overcome this)

All these are grounds for postponement of the game by the ref. A problem arises if conditions go down hill rapidly once the game has started, anything which threatens the safety of the players is grounds for stopping the game but there is advice in the English game to make a decision before kick-off and stick to it, so it has to be a big drop in quality for an in-game decision.
posted by biffa at 12:04 PM on March 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


abandoning is definitely the referees decision. As long as the game is playable (you can see the lines) and there is no health risk to players (lightning is the general example) you play*.

* I guess at lower levels there's also concern for whether or not playing in certain conditions will be bad for the pitch itself, but probably not relevant in this sort of situation)
posted by cmyr at 12:05 PM on March 23, 2013


visibility is so poor that supporters or players cannot see adequately

And perhap more importantly the ref themselves and the ref's assistants, since they need to see infringements.
posted by biffa at 12:19 PM on March 23, 2013


I believe (and I admit I could be totally wrong here) that it's the referee's call, at least once the match starts.

In particular, Law 5, which deals with the Referee, who "stops, suspends or abandons the match because of outside interference of any kind."

In this case, stop means to briefly halt play, and suspend means to halt play and send the players off the field. Weather is *definitely* outside interference. In general, referees are told to let them play, the big exception being lighting in the area, which will result in the game being suspended.

Indeed, in American Football, which also has a "play in anything" ethic, they will also stop an outside match if lightening is nearby, and I remember on Bears preseason game that was abandoned after a thunderstorm camped out near Soldier Field.
posted by eriko at 12:31 PM on March 23, 2013


Man, that's a hard call. On one had yeah, play on. On the other, does that mean large countries that have a wide range of options can schedule matches in cities that are likely to have weather that would be a serious detriment to visiting countries?

Mexico always schedules their matches in the Azteca, located in the high-altitude, hot, smoggy Mexico City basin and filled with a legendarily hostile vibrant crowd. They have a very good home record (11 losses total since 1967). Mexico are 23-1-1 all time against the US at home in the Azteca; in the last 10 matches elsewhere, they are 3-4-3.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:44 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the other, does that mean large countries that have a wide range of options can schedule matches in cities that are likely to have weather that would be a serious detriment to visiting countries?

This already happens often in CONCACAF. Honduras scheduled games against the US and Mexico during the mid-afternoon. It was over 100F on the pitch for both matches. Mexico always plays at altitude in the Azteca. The US tends to prefer playing in buildings where they can be assured a pro-US crowd. Additionally, I assumed one reason USSF scheduled this match in Colorado was so US players could be acclimated to the altitude for Tuesday's match in Mexico City.
posted by prosthezis at 12:50 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The US players wore white while playing in the snow, the pitch was covered in snow and it sounds like a proper shambles.
posted by 13twelve at 1:05 PM on March 23, 2013


Snowy? In Colorado? In peak ski season? Whoda thunk!

The ball was not dayglo on TV. I couldn't follow it very well at all.

Pfft. Americans.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2013


I was clicking-around last night and hit on this game. It was a pretty funny/amazing/wtf? experience. I immediately told my daughter (who played soccer from age 5 straight through to varsity HS) to come see it. As soon as she saw it she broke out laughing. She's played in sleet falling horizontally, but never a blizzard.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:25 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The US players wore white while playing in the snow

The US would have announced its kit before the match (so that the Costa Rican and Referees would be able to choose contrasting kits) and traditionally wears white at home anyway -- except for (and I hope they die FOREVER) last year's "Where's Waldo" home jerseys.

And note it was White over Blue.

Snowy? In Colorado?

In the mountains? Yes. They weren't in the mountains. On the plains next to the Front Range, that being where they played, it's actually fairly unusual to have that much snow hit this late in winter. The last big late March winter storm happened ten years ago, March 17-19, 2003.

And, as prosthezis notes, everyone else plays their home field advantage. The Mexican national team has one of the most effective home field advantages in all sports. Of all the games the MXMNT has played in the Azteca, they've lost only 11, to only 8 teams. The US is one of them, which gives them a, IIRC, 1-25 record playing there.

The US is somewhat of an outlier in that we do not have a predefined national stadium that we play a majority of our games at.

Do we demand that Mexico move? Nope. We go play them in the Azteca. Now, if the US could control the weather, Costa Rica would have a case. But we can't, and it snowed just as hard on us -- and the USMNT was in no way any more, or less, equipped or trained to play in driving snow that the Costa Ricans.
posted by eriko at 2:03 PM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the other, does that mean large countries that have a wide range of options can schedule matches in cities that are likely to have weather that would be a serious detriment to visiting countries?

IMO this "advantage" is barely worth noting in contrast to the simple advantage of being a large country with a large pool of potentially world-class players. The US basically dominates CONCACAF (along with Mexico) as it is and qualifying for the World Cup is basically pro forma. It can be argued this dynamic actually makes us less competitive at the cup, as not only don't we need to try very hard, we're mostly playing against tiny little countries.
posted by dhartung at 2:16 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the plains next to the Front Range, that being where they played, it's actually fairly unusual to have that much snow hit this late in winter.

Not really. Statistically, March and April are the snowiest months here in Denver. Including this most recent storm, we've gotten about 40" in the past 30 days. This is when we typically get our big storms.
posted by jal0021 at 2:28 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyway, this pales into comparison with what the Germans, Spanish, French and other perfidious foreigners do; consistently fielding sides of talented and well-schooled players in a fiendish plot to deny England our rightful place at the summit of world football.
posted by Abiezer at 2:28 PM on March 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Anyway, this pales into comparison with what the Germans, Spanish, French and other perfidious foreigners do; consistently fielding sides of talented and well-schooled players in a fiendish plot to deny England our rightful place at the summit of world football.

What I would do for an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the Yanks.
posted by josher71 at 2:32 PM on March 23, 2013


I see he scored in our testing qualifier against the might of San Marino. Sort of relatedly, was thinking regarding dhartung's point about the general weakness of CONCAF that maybe seeding of groups made qualification usually a formality for European sides too, but actually there's three at least what you would have said in advance are serious challengers in England's current group and Montenegro have turned out to be no slouches either, so his point holds I think.
posted by Abiezer at 2:40 PM on March 23, 2013


Yeah, the Costa Rican coach either begged to keep playing or demanded to stop, depending on which report you read there.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 2:42 PM on March 23, 2013


Did they or did they not agree to play? One of the LA Times articles says this: "Costa Rican counterpart Jorge Luis Pinto, along with players from each team, implored referee Joel Aguilar that the game go on."

Another says this: "Costa Rican Coach Jorge Luis Pinto was outraged that the game was played. 'I asked them to stop,' he said after the game."


It's not an either/or. Depending on how many times they were asked they could easily have changed their minds.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:52 PM on March 23, 2013


Well, at least they didn't construct the stadium seeking an advantage. Wait. What's that? Costa Rica has? Color me shocked... Watching the US men's team qualify against Mexico at Crew Stadium when the temperature was well below freezing was a delight - the US warmed up and a decent number weren't even wearing gloves. Mexico rushed onto the field right before kickoff and they looked absolutely miserable for 90 minutes. Reasonable payback for Azteca.
posted by combinatorial explosion at 3:26 PM on March 23, 2013


Sort of relatedly, was thinking regarding dhartung's point about the general weakness of CONCAF that maybe seeding of groups made qualification usually a formality for European sides too, but actually there's three at least what you would have said in advance are serious challengers in England's current group and Montenegro have turned out to be no slouches either, so his point holds I think.

I think this is fairly typical. If you're a 'big' European team, you should be able to qualify in a fairly straightforward manner (for either the World Cup or the European Championship), but there's room to screw it up and there's usually competition for the playoff places. Some team you wouldn't expect ends up in the playoffs roughly every time. Granted, they tend to then win the playoff, but not always.

MXMNT

Can we please kill this acronym and never mention it again? It's not like calling them 'Mexico' is burdensome.
posted by hoyland at 3:27 PM on March 23, 2013


MXMNT

Can we please kill this acronym and never mention it again? It's not like calling them 'Mexico' is burdensome.


Maybe my favourite thing about US soccer culture is the USMNT nomenclature, which puts the men on equal footing with the women; it's not a national team and a women's national team, it's a men's and a women's.

The cynic may point out that the US women (or on rare occasion, the US women with Norwegian help) are the only team that wins anything, so they should at least get even billing if not star billing. I still think it's great.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:20 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


First time in a long time I've watched an entire match. Looked to me that after halftime Costa Rica was outplaying the US and wanted to keep playing. They had a number of good shots on goal, I'm surprised it didn't end up going their way.
posted by cosmac at 5:20 PM on March 23, 2013


Drill baby drill !!
posted by jeffburdges at 5:50 PM on March 23, 2013


I watched the entire match live, albeit while working, so I wasn't paying 100% attention to it.

From what the announcers seemed to say, if they were to have delayed or cancelled the match, the only other times they could play would be either day day after (when some 6" of show was predicted) or sometime in 2014 (which would have cut it really close to the World Cup itself.) Hence, continue on!
posted by spinifex23 at 6:05 PM on March 23, 2013


Can we please kill this acronym and never mention it again? It's not like calling them 'Mexico' is burdensome.

It's not my fault the MXWNT sucks.*

One of the worst things I saw was when the Brazilian women came out wearing five stars over the crest. My first thought was that the USMNT should wear two over theirs. My second thought is that the USWNT needed to cordially invite them to GTFO of the World Cup, and while it took an extra time miracle and PKs, they proceeded to do just that.

* They are getting better, though.
posted by eriko at 7:31 PM on March 23, 2013


It's not my fault the MXWNT sucks.*

My point is that you can call them 'Mexico', too, and then disambiguate as necessary. No hard-to-parse acronyms involved.
posted by hoyland at 7:34 PM on March 23, 2013


Maybe my favourite thing about US soccer culture is the USMNT nomenclature, which puts the men on equal footing with the women; it's not a national team and a women's national team, it's a men's and a women's.

That plus you get to call them the US Mutant Ninja Turtles.
posted by prosthezis at 8:28 PM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Relevant.
posted by gertzedek at 8:54 PM on March 23, 2013


haha colorado <3. someone commented about it being rare for it to snow that late in winter... i remember heavy snows happening in june after all the leaves had come in. breaking all the branches of the trees. good times.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 12:02 AM on March 24, 2013


CONCACAF qualification is always difficult. There is always - ALWAYS - a mitigating circumstance. A friend of mine works with the Canadian Men's National Team and regularly regales me with stories of what Canada has to put up with when visiting Central American and Caribbean countries. IN this qualification round we had to play St. Kitts and Nevis who didn't have FIFA regluation balls (the used a Team Canada practice ball, a bag of which were left behind as an international goodwill gesture!). Also there they had to MAKE nets for the goals out of fishing nets.

When we went to Panama, the local fans set up camp outside the Canadian team hotel and made noise and partied all night, including letting off fireworks at all hours. The Hondurans regularly schedule games for the mid afternoon which is a bitch for the northern teams.

So that's how it is. Costa Rica complaining against the snow in Denver is funny.
posted by salishsea at 12:19 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


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