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Your latest instant replay debate fodder: Omar Gonzalez’s goal that should have been

Oct 28, 2013, 12:53 AM EDT

Good luck finding a most egregious examples of a goal which should have been allowed. Go to YouTube, find your example, and paste them into the comments below, because it’s going to be hard to top the mistake the officiating crew made Sunday night in Seattle.

Just before halftime, Omar Gonzalez’s header bounces within the goal, leaves a mark on the turf, and leaves green between its landing spot and the white line. The only thing preventing it from hitting the net by a player who was well within the goal. Shot of the nylon flexing at the back of the goal, what more could the linesman possible want?

ESPN’s broadcast team immediately cited the lack of instant replay, and Major League Soccer’s reluctance to jump on board with the technologies now used in England should be noted (especially since, at one time, MLS claimed it was eager to offer itself as guinea pig for replay experiments). But this goal shouldn’t have needed instant replay. It shouldn’t have needed the goalline officials being used more and more often across Europe.

You see officials make that right call on plays much more obscure than this one, and although review (and other kinds of goal line technology) would have given the Galaxy this equalizer, it shouldn’t have been necessary. There’s a minimum level of proficiency we should expect from officials. This falls well within it.

Ultimately, this non-goal didn’t hurt the Galaxy. Had they won in Seattle (as opposed to drawing, 1-1), they’d still be the third seed in the West. They’ve still be matched with Real Salt Lake, and they’re still be playing the second game of their conference semifinal in Utah. With Vancouver’s win, Seattle was never going to fall lower than their current fourth seed. Ultimately (and thankfully), this error has no real effect.

Consider that a bullet dodged. At the time, Gonzalez’s disallowed goal was the difference between LA playing mid-week and the team being able to focus on Real Salt Lake. That it ended up being insignificant should not obscure the problem. It should remind us that MLS shouldn’t have passed on their chance to keep up with the world.

  1. the0verheadwire - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    Why do we even need an expensive technology like goal line? Just give an official 30 seconds in a box to review and have a direct link to the ref or a sign from the box that says yes or no. It would be much less expensive and get more calls right.

    • nappy25 - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:04 AM

      You might as well just stick to the NFL. If the MLS isn’t keen on spending money on goal-line technology, then they should at least go the route of having the extra officials behind the goals like UCL matches. Having replays will just make the game slower. Plus, what happens when the replays don’t show any evidence because a player(s) blocked the view? 30 seconds would turn to 3 minutes, and the same outcome would come when they say it wasn’t a goal. I know it might be rare, but all it needs is to happen once and the goal-line technology argument happens again. No to replays!

      • the0verheadwire - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:56 AM

        Just like those luddites in MLB who didn’t want to use replay for home runs. Why not get the call right? And don’t stop the game, if it’s out of bounds then you can take 15-30 seconds to figure out a call. The refs can even let play resume for 15-30 seconds if the ball gets kicked out like today. It’s not like you don’t see refs conferring with each other after a foul for 30 seconds to a minute. And if its not instantly known, then it’s not a goal. In college football all plays are reviewed by the booth now between plays, it’s not that hard and it won’t slow the game if done right. Why spend millions on goal line tech when you can do it for so much cheaper.

  2. nogoodusernames - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    I’m not arguing that this wasn’t in, it was a goal, but regarding some of the things people say as if it is all you need to see to prove something is a goal, in reality, it is possible for a ball to leave a mark over the line, but for the ball itself to not be “over the line” in a goal or out of bounds sense. For a ball to be outside the playing surface, no part of the ball can be above the line. It’s not that hard to put a ball next to a line, and from an angle, see green between the ball and the line, but still have part of the ball be above the line. It may be pedantic, but it’s true.

  3. SD1 Timbers Special Forces - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    This is the “gun control” debate for Soccer.

    Okay, where to start with this. First, as Americans, we are the worlds connoisseurs of Sport. We have higher attendance to our sports leagues than the entire world combined. We do sport like no one else, ever. We also have higher standards than the rest of the world. Americans expect to have the latest technology available to provide the most accurate outcomes in their competitions. From clocks that stop, to radar, to zoomed in slo-mo video, we use technology in everything we do.

    Just allow a single challenge by the Manager per game. The fourth Official watches the replay and gives a verdict within a 60 secs. This happens very infrequently so a single challenge per game is perfect.

    The only reason we know that was a bad non-call is from the very technology that supposedly will usher in the Apocalypse. How many times have you watched it? How many people last night watched the replay over and over? Why should the only people on the planet not allowed to watch it be the very ones who need to see it? It’s like some bizarro Star Trek planet.

    The last game between Seattle and Portland had on average of one dead ball every minute. 95 of them. Additionally the average time from a play to replay was 9 secs.

    For a notoriously corrupt Sport, Soccer should be the first to be use the most accurate information, not the last. Come on, Rodeo has instant replay and Soccer doesn’t? It seems that many of the Soccer establishment benefit from one person having the final say at the expense of accuracy and honesty. Totally normal.

  4. talgrath - Oct 28, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Replay isn’t the answer, goal-line technology is, but MLS can’t quite afford it, yet. Once the costs drop a bit to the point that it isn’t thousands of dollars per game to install the goal line technology I think MLS will definitely pick it up.

  5. wwsiralexd - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    The lineman didn’t position himself properly to see the goal. Fire bad officials before any technology.

  6. bmars1 - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    Ok, the goal denied to the Galaxy was a seriously missed call. But also worthy of discussion is the first half goal by Eddie Johnson which was whistled back for offside. Looked to me like the ball was clearly played to Johnson by a Galaxy player, meaning that Johnson was onside and the goal should have stood. The Ref team missed it.The announcers made a brief mention that the pass might have come from a Galaxy player, but they cut away to an unrelated comment from the sideline reporter and never came back to the “offside” play. I thought Lalas would talk about it at half time, but he didn’t.

    Seems both teams were unfairly denied a goal, but the Galaxy one is the only one getting any attention.

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