There are very few things that Major League Soccer can do better than the rest of the world's soccer leagues.
In fact, one of the ways MLS can become a real player on the world soccer stage is to admit that and proceed accordingly.
For instance, the league can't hang its hat on acquiring the world's best players. There will always be other leagues with better players, drawn either to a better Champions League or to the brighter spotlight. MLS can't hang its hat on being a cauldron of tactical innovation. There will always be second-tier divisions with the next big thing in coaching. The list goes on.
What the league can and should hang its hat on, however, is being the league that tries things. Like, anything.
MLS should be the mad scientist of soccer leagues, the consistent pioneer of technology that the conservative "it's-always-been-this-way" crowd won't allow in leagues with a longer history than their own.
And from an Atlanta United perspective, Uncle Arthur should totally let Mercedes Stadium become the mad scientist's laboratory.
As you might have already heard, there are reports that MLS is considering implementing video replay into its refereeing practices. The technology could be used to review red cards, penalty kicks, and whether or not a goal should or should not be given. I think I speak for most American soccer fans when I say we welcome a slight delay to get a game changing call correct, especially in soccer, a sport that plays waaaayyy faster than most of our other beloved pastimes and contains missed calls that really and truly change the result of the game.
All of that is fine.
But more than just saying video refereeing will be awesome and MLS should get into it as soon as possible, what I really want to say is that Atlanta United should build Mercedes Stadium specifically to accommodate this new facet of the game. Mercedes Stadium is supposed to be the paragon of architectural innovation, so it should absolutely also be the seedbed for on-field innovation. Whatever MLS thinks it needs to make this work, whether that means more cameras, cameras in certain positions, or even a drone cam that flies over the action, Atlanta United should make it happen. I say this because ATLUTD has the unique opportunity of building the stadium for these purposes rather than trying to adapt to them once the mandate has come down. And while most MLS clubs probably won't have any trouble accommodating a mandate for video refereeing, any change always brings with it certain barriers if you've been doing things a certain way for a certain amount of time. Atlanta is a truly blank slate, and that gives them a unique opportunity to let MLS write whatever the hell they want.
So not only does Atlanta gain worldwide recognition for being the first soccer stadium built for video refereeing it also gets he added bonus of having access to the best technological setup to gain back a disallowed goal. In a league where expansion teams rarely make the playoffs in their first year that technology will be much more than just a publicity stunt.
All in all, video replay at Atlanta United seems like a win from just about every angle you slice it.
Decades from now we'll all be watching a World Cup wondering how in the world we ever watched soccer without video refereeing. I'd like to support a club where we've never ever had to wonder that in the first place.