Chivas USA trainers and staff have been using the adidas miCoach sensors and equipment to monitor players' speed bursts, heart-rate and other metrics.
At the 2012 All-Star Game adidas-Major League Soccer's official outfitter and primary sponsor-fitted the MLS All-Stars with its miCoach tracers. People logging onto their Facebook page could see and track individual metrics such as who ran the most, who was the fastest and other things. It wasn't without some glitches, but overall it was impressive enough that adidas proclaimed that all MLS players will wear its sensors in 2013.
Several European teams, perhaps most notably Jose Mourinho's then-team Real Madrid, had using the equipment during training. The idea itself wasn't entirely new. Taylor Twellman recalled wearing heart-rate monitors when training with Munich 1860 and provided a useful anecdote:
"It wasn't just about how high you could get [your heart rate] and keep it there, but how fast you recovered. How fast do you go from 205 back down to 130," Twellman explained. "They came to me and said, ‘You're out of shape.' I said, ‘What are you talking about, I just ran two miles in 11 minutes.' And they'd say, ‘Yeah, but your heart rate is still too high. They'd point at the defensive midfielder and say, ‘He's back down at 130.'
"And I realized that, yeah, he was the fittest guy on the team."
Opta and their chalkboards are a fantastic tool to look for trends on the field. The Opta data itself is already sufficiently overwhelming and they only track events that involve the ball (one of the few exceptions when a player gets or draws a foul or card off the ball).
But that is limited to the ball and the people who touched it. It doesn't (read: can't) track player runs into the box, or the pressing for instance that Timber's forward Maximiliano Urruti put on the Seattle Sounders backline in Portland's win on Sunday.
There was anticipation. But then ... nothing. Were the players wearing sensors? Certainly didn't appear like it. Did the players balk? Was this a union issue? Was the tech not ready for primetime? The miCoach system wasn't used at this year's All-star game. No one really seems to know. Or at least be saying anything. Even when asked directly:
@TaylorTwellman I wanna see Henrys micoach stats compared to say Espindola. You want ppl to work hard for you? Be the example! He gave up.— Skather (@Soph_Kather) March 11, 2013
For whatever reason it's roll out was stalled, it's a pretty useful tool for the team, particulalry as young as Chivas USA is. For instance, we thought we were out of the woods in the late goals Chivas had been conceding. Then boom, we're right back to the same problem again. Could it be an issue with conditioning?
I'd also like to see Erick Torres's miCoach stats when he's paired with a striker up top versus alone. My hunch being he runs a lot more with far fewer touches.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!