For FOX, the MLS Cup going to penalties on Saturday night is close to a dream scenario. Penalty kicks might not be the fairest way to pick a champion of the league, but they’re surely the most exciting, thanks to the built-in drama. After both Toronto and Seattle converted on four of their first five attempts, it went to sudden death.
After a Toronto miss, Seattle’s Roman Torres stepped to the spot with a chance to capture the MLS Cup. And FOX basically missed the entire thing. Here’s how it looked for FOX viewers:
It seems like the production was caught by surprise when Torres took a quick run-up, staying with the closeup shot for too long. They cut to their overhead angle as the ball was entering the goal, but by then it was too late. Twitter concurred:
Congrats, too, to Fox's crew for a great call. Unfortunately, nightmare finish for director — how do you (just about) miss the decisive PK?
— Sam Borden (@SamBorden) December 11, 2016
— New York Owls (@NewYorkOwls) December 11, 2016
How do you miss the Cup-winning penalty in a shootout?
Anyway, congrats Seattle.
— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) December 11, 2016
— Ariel Perez (@Arielworld) December 11, 2016
— Michal Kucharz (@kucharzm) December 11, 2016
To top it off, broadcast viewers were then treated to a prompt cutaway to a Volvo commercial, missing further replays and some of the immediate on-field celebration:
Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go over well either:
— Sarbjeet Johal (@sarbjeetjohal) December 11, 2016
FOX already takes hits for their soccer coverage, some more deserved than others. This was an unfortunate mistake, of course, but it could have been prevented. And as they hold the rights for the next few World Cups, attempting to clear a very high bar for soccer coverage set by ESPN, this is not the kind of mistake they needed in a big moment.