Forget yellow and red cards, the real color we’re all hoping to see during tonight’s hotly-anticipated MLS Cup is ... orange?
While Toronto and Seattle are sporting some of the flashiest kits in the league with bold red and electric green, respectively, much pre-game talk has instead been devoted to the rumored appearance of the famed orange game ball.
MLS match balls are typically white with colored accents. The orange ball, on the other hand, is, well, orange. Like a deer hunter gearing up for opening weekend, the orange match ball is specifically designed to be substituted in the event that snow is on the pitch to help increase visibility for players and spectators.
According to mlssoccer.com, there has never before been snow at an MLS Cup. Cold temps? Sure. 2013’s championship game was a balmy 20-degrees. But the league has yet to break out the shovels during the season’s biggest game.
If a dusting of snow does grace the pitch at BMO Field, the league has 24 of these neon beauties ready for duty. Six are set aside for each team to warm up with while the remaining dozen is for use during the match.
MLS Cup match referee Alan Kelly will have sole authority to
turn the match into a rave use the high-visibility balls.
All this talk of frigid outdoor games may strike Minnesotans as a bit redundant, and perhaps for us it is. But the rest of the league is fairly unfamiliar with snow intermixed with soccer.
“While we’ve yet to see snow at an MLS Cup, there have been several snow games during the regular season,” says mlssoccer.com’s Sam Stejskal. “Unsurprisingly, Colorado have been involved in a preponderance of them, while the Red Bulls have hosted two snow games and Toronto FC have played host to one. In late May. Fun.”
Whether match officials actually get to bust out the coolest ball in their arsenal tonight, the league is almost certainly in for a chilly awakening when Minnesota United join their ranks in a few short months.
I wonder if the TCF Bank Stadium crew kept any of those sideline heaters from when the Vikings played there last season? United may want to reserve a few...