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The Portland Timbers won their first Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup Championship in December 2015. However, if it had not been for a kind double goalpost miss during a penalty shootout a few weeks earlier, the Timbers would never have been in the finals. On Oct. 30th, after what has been called “the greatest penalty kick shootout in MLS history,” featuring a combined 22 penalties that included penalties by both goalkeepers, the Timbers won their first-round playoff against Sporting Kansas City. During the thrilling shootout, which can be watched, for example, for example on the MLS website, Sporting had two potentially game-winning penalties miss by the smallest of margins. One penalty bounced off the goalpost back into the field and another was an improbable double post miss. For a physicist, this prompts an interesting research question. Could we find an estimate by what distance the double post penalty shown in Fig. 1 failed to be the game winning shot?


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