MLS Playoff Game Delayed 40 Minutes While Grounds Crew Repaints Penalty Areas (Video + Tweet)

Image via Getty

Image via Getty

The first leg of the MLS Eastern Conference Final between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC was supposed to start at 8pm ET on Tuesday night. However, it didn’t actually get underway until 8:45pm ET.

The reason for the delay? The Olympic Stadium grounds crew had to repaint the lines demarcating the penalty areas at the last minute.


The Impact normally play in the soccer-specific Saputo Stadium. However, with the Eastern Conference Finals starting so late in the season—and with demand for tickets much higher, given the stakes—the league and team decided to move the game indoors to the much larger Olympic Stadium.

Unfortunately, the Olympic Stadium grounds crew did not measure the penalty boxes properly. The box is supposed to extend out 18 yards from the goal line, and 18 yards out from each goal post. When the referees stepped onto the field on Tuesday they thought the boxes looked a little too narrow. So they measured and, sure enough, the boxes were a couple yards short on either side.

As a result, the game had to be delayed while crews covered the existing lines with green spray paint and then painted new lines at the proper width.


They even brought out a guy with a leaf blower to help speed the drying process.

This was a big PR blow for a league constantly trying to prove it belongs with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL as one the big boys of the North American pro sports landscape.

Twitter certainly did not let the MLS off the hook:


After this debacle you can be damned sure that every grounds crew at every stadium in North America is going to be double-checking their measurements today.

Hat Tip – [The Score]

Tags: MLS, montreal impact, Soccer, Toronto FC,