The Clean Sheet: Crossing the line

whether by a chip in the ball or via video replay -- to make sure a goal is a goal.

And my thanks goes out to the Manchester United-Tottenham Hotspur match on Tuesday for pathetically illustrating my point.

In case you haven't seen it, late in a scoreless contest, Spurs' Pedro Mendes drove a ball from near midfield high in the air, trying to chip United's Roy Carroll. Carroll backpedaled in plenty of time, but then chose to catch the ball up against his chest. Unfortunately (well, maybe not for Tim Howard), the ball had other ideas, going through his hands, bounding off his chest, and back into the goal. The ball crossed the line and actually bounced on the ground a good foot or three across the line, before a scrambling Carroll dove back and knocked the ball away with one hand.

No goal was awarded.

Picture the play: the ball is driven from midfield, so linesman Rob Lewis rightfully was up with the last defender watching for offside. He had no chance of getting back to see that play. Or as he put it: "There was nothing I could have done differently apart from run faster than (track star) Linford Christie."

So because of those circumstances, Spurs were denied a legitimate goal, and two more points in the table, as the match ended in a 0-0 draw. It was a complete miscarriage of justice -- you really have to see this play to believe it.

Fittingly, the play has caused a bit of an uproar.

So on Wednesday, reports came out that FIFA will indeed now test a device where a chip will be implanted in a ball. According to Reuters, the new device is being made by adidas.

Hmm, adidas? That name sound familiar? Yup, it's the one that just became a big-time partner of MLS.

Now I have no idea how far away this technology really is to being match-ready, but I would love to see MLS step up and carry the torch as the testing ground for this new system.

I also would support a video replay system in this situation. Even United's Sir Alex Ferguson rightfully spoke in favor of this Wednesday, despite the fact it would have cost his team the match. Arsenal skipper Arsene Wenger also chimed in, supporting the use of video replay after the Old Trafford debacle.

So with that, I call on MLS to take the reins on this issue and begin the 2005 season with some sort of system in place -- or at least institute it sometime during the year. For goal line situations only, stop the game for a pre-determined maximum amount of time (30 seconds? One minute?) and have the fourth official or someone review the play.

Tuesday was not a great day for the game worldwide. Why not have our own MLS take the lead in trying to make it better?

***

THE NEWS: Cleetus to RSL

TCS SAYS: You know how I feel about Cleetus (or if you don't check out my recent column on The Legend Of Cleetus).

THE NEWS: According to my man Steve Davis down in Dallas, Toni Nhleko has left FC Dallas to join Walsall, currently struggling in England's third division (which is called "League One" or something like that this week).

TCS SAYS: All together now: "Who ate all the pies? Who ate all the pies? ..."

THE NEWS: Seal and Heidi Klum are engaged to be married.

TCS SAYS: Are you absolutely kidding me? Is that not perfect proof that all you need to get hot chicks is either money or the ability to sing? I mean, c'mon, this guy's complexion makes former Raiders QB Jim Plunkett look like a model.

Oh well, good for him. Won't affect me anyway, since I am about to move to Aruba with the new love of my life, Paz Vega. Know who she is? Go see the new Adam Sandler movie, "Spanglish," and you will. Two words: Hey. Now.

THE NEWS: Apparently Mario Lopez is going to star in some Brazilian soccer movie called "The Goal" (not to be confused with "Goal: The Movie," the big trilogy with all the backers). The "Saved By The Bell" alum stars as a player who gets traded to the USA.

TCS SAYS: A.C. Slater gets transferred to the States in a soccer movie? What, he gets sold to Real Salt Lake and rooms with Evan Whitfield, who is played by none other than Screech?

The Clean Sheet runs each Thursday on MLSnet. Views and opinions expressed in this column views and opinions are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com. Send any questions and comments to tcsresponses@yahoo.com.


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