FIFA and adidas had been hoping that a smart chip soccer ball would be ready in time for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Unfortunately, the technology wasn't deemed ready by the powers that be.
Well, after last Saturday's match with DC United, Chivas USA might want to see if MLS wants to work with adidas to bring a prototype to the US as soon as possible. In case you missed it, Chivas USA forward Juan Pablo Garcia took an almost perfect free kick that hit the crossbar, then the left post, struck the ground, and then spun back out into the field of play. The officials let play continue as they ruled that the ball did not completely cross the goal line.
When the video replays were shown, it was still too close to call. Although, former forward and ESPN2 color analyst, Eric Wynalda felt that it was clearly a goal.
The only thing that I know for certain about that play is that it is the perfect example of why they need to continue to develop the smart ball technology. Even with slow motion video replay, it was extremely difficult to tell whether that ball completely crossed the goal line. And it was a coin toss for the referees to get it right and there was almost no way that they could clearly tell what happened with the naked eye in real time.
Since adidas is a major partner with MLS and they have been working on this technology for a while, perhaps the next step should be to introduce the technology in MLS soon. That way it should be perfected in time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Random thoughts on Week 2 in MLS:
- Less than 12,000 fans showed up for the DC United-Chivas USA match at RFK? I know the game was on ESPN2 and the weather was poor, but I thought that the United faithful were better than that.
- Hats off to Red Bull for pulling off an amazing home opener by all accounts. Granted, the game itself left a lot to be desired by those looking for plenty of goals, but pulling in over 35,000 fans is a solid first step. Now let's see if they can keep the momentum going with a team that managed a draw in each of it's first two matches.
- Two matches, two Kenny Cooper goals. Add in Carlos Ruiz's strained hamstring and Cooper is going to be a hard guy to take out of FC Dallas' starting eleven any time soon.
- Sigi Schmid's squad is off to a rough start. Back to back 3-1 road losses to Kansas City and Colorado have the Crew hoping that the Fire are starting to tire early on in their 9 game trek around MLS prior to their new stadium in Bridgeview opening. For some reason, I'm looking forward to the Rhinos-Lynx preseason tilt more than the Crew-Fire match that will be on ESPN2 at 4pm Saturday.
- Everyone who expected Jose Burciaga Jr. to be Kansas City's offensive catalyst this past week raise your hand. The Wizards left back not only set up Sasha Victorine's equalizer, but he also got the 90th minute game winner. On a team with Eddie Johnson, Josh Wolff, and Davy Arnaud, you can see why the Dynamo defense might have been sleeping on Burciaga.
- Brian Ching only scored one goal this week? I was hoping the "he's on pace for over 100 goals this year" would last a little longer. Although, I shouldn't jinx DC as Ching and company are coming to RFK on Saturday night. And it's not like the United defense has been stellar so far this season.
- Chivas USA showed me that they are a lot better than last season in that 2-0 loss to DC. The match was a lot closer than the score line would suggest.
- Finally, I've got to give a shout out to Pittsford native Jamil Walker who assisted on Jaime Moreno's 96th MLS goal.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.