Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Best MLS Teams (single season & multiple)



It's probably the most basic piece of information that MLS fans would be interested in. I'm talking about the best single season records in league history. Incredibly, I've yet to post them while going on and on about trivial stuff. I did post a list last summer, but it wasn't the now standard (for me anyway) "shootouts as draws" version (aka Adjusted PPG).

However, it would be too easy to post just that. It wouldn't be a Climbing the Ladder post unless I took it a step further, and I've done just that by also figuring out the best MLS teams over 2, 3, 4, and 5 year periods. Scroll down for the top ten in every category, but now a quick look at the best teams in each:

Best MLS Teams

1 Year 1998 Los Angeles
2 Years 1998-9 Los Angeles
3 Years 1997-9 D.C. United
4 Years 1998-1 Los Angeles
5 Years 1998-2 Los Angeles

The 1998 Galaxy were a team the likes of which hasn't been seen since. Unfortunately, Chicago and DC also had great teams, and they couldn't get it done in the playoffs. But let's take a moment to look back at how truly amazing that Galaxy team was. They had 9 wins of 3 goals or more, and 7 games where they scored at least 5 times. It was the best offense in league history (2.66 goals per game) by 0.35 over the second place team (1998 DC). They also managed to lead the league in goals allowed.

Starters: Kevin Hartman, Greg Vanney, Robin Fraser, Steve Jolley, Ezra Hendrickson, Danny Pena, Martin Machon, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Cobi Jones, Welton, Carlos Hermosillo

Subs: Matt Reis, Paul Caligiuri, Dan Calichman, Joey Franchino, Daniel Hernandez, Wellington Sanchez, Clint Mathis

That's a pretty nice gameday roster right there. I would love to see a video game with classic MLS teams. In the middle of writing this, I just realized that Wellington Sanchez was on Ecuador's 2002 World Cup roster (although he didn't play). Did not know that.

Whenver an MLS coach is in trouble, I always like to bring up Octavio Zambrano's name. His teams in LA and NY played some great attacking soccer. A lot of that was probably due to the talent, but if Rongen can get another shot, then why not him? Anyone who offended Lothar Matthaus can't be that bad.


Best Single Season MLS Teams





W L D Pts APPG GF GA GD Titles
32 1 1998 Los Angeles 22 6 4 70 2.19 85 44 41 0
26 2 2001 Miami 16 5 5 53 2.04 57 36 21 0
32 3 2005 San Jose 18 4 10 64 2.00 53 31 22 0
27 4 2001 Chicago 16 6 5 53 1.96 50 30 20 0
32 5 1998 DC United 17 5 10 61 1.91 74 48 26 0
32 6 1996 Tampa Bay 19 9 4 61 1.91 66 51 15 0
32 7 1999 DC United 17 6 9 60 1.88 65 43 22 1
32 8 2005 New England 17 7 8 59 1.84 55 37 18 0
32 9 1997 DC United 17 7 8 59 1.84 70 53 17 1
28 10 2002 Los Angeles 16 9 3 51 1.82 44 33 11 1

Yep, the 2001 Fusion were amazing...and the 2005 Earthquakes. Hmm...maybe the Wizards shouldn't aim to be "that" amazing in 2006.

Along with those two, I would add the 2000 Fire as the best 3 teams in this decade. Another one that screwed up in the playoffs. Only 3 of these teams took home the MLS Cup, as you can see by the "titles" column on the far right. Not surprising, since only 4 of 10 Supporters' Shield winners have won the championship.


Best MLS Teams Over 2 Seasons





W L D Pts APPG GF GA GD Titles
64 1 1998-9 Los Angeles 39 14 11 128 2.00 134 73 61 0
64 2 1998-9 D.C. United 34 11 19 121 1.89 139 91 48 1
64 3 1997-8 D.C. United 34 12 18 120 1.88 144 101 43 1
59 4 2000-1 Chicago 33 15 11 110 1.86 117 81 36 0
64 5 1997-8 Los Angeles 36 18 10 118 1.84 140 98 42 0
54 6 2001-2 Los Angeles 30 16 8 98 1.81 96 69 27 1
64 7 1998-9 Chicago 33 20 11 110 1.72 113 81 32 1
64 8 1999-0 Chicago 32 18 14 110 1.72 118 87 31 0
64 9 1999-0 Los Angeles 31 18 15 108 1.69 96 66 30 0
64 10 1996-7 D.C. United 32 20 12 108 1.69 132 109 23 2

Ok, now that we're in multiple year territory, you can throw out every team except for the "big 4" of MLS. This isn't a particularly close list at the top. Too bad the Dynamo history is officially seperate from the Quakes, or they could've given 'em a run for their money.

There's only a couple completely post-shootout teams here, as is the case for the other years. I should also mention that the 1996-7 Mutiny were tied with the 9th and 10th place teams. I sorted them by goal differential, but I could've easily listed them up there as well.


Best MLS Teams Over 3 Seasons





W L D Pts APPG GF GA GD Titles
96 1 1997-9 D.C. United 51 18 27 180 1.88 209 144 65 2
96 2 1998-0 Los Angeles 53 24 19 178 1.85 181 110 71 0
96 3 1997-9 Los Angeles 53 26 17 176 1.83 189 117 72 0
91 4 1999-1 Chicago 48 24 19 163 1.79 168 117 51 0
96 5 1996-8 Los Angeles 51 27 18 171 1.78 199 137 62 0
96 6 1996-8 D.C. United 49 25 22 169 1.76 206 157 49 2
96 7 1998-0 Chicago 50 29 17 167 1.74 180 132 48 1
90 8 1999-1 Los Angeles 45 25 20 155 1.72 148 102 46 0
86 9 2000-2 Los Angeles 44 26 16 148 1.72 143 106 37 1
87 10 2000-2 Chicago 44 28 15 147 1.69 160 119 41 0

DC finally breaks up the Galaxy domination. Two titles, and only 18 losses in 96 games.


Best MLS Teams Over 4 Seasons





W L D Pts APPG GF GA GD Titles
122 1 1998-1 Los Angeles 67 31 24 225 1.84 233 146 87 0
128 2 1996-9 Los Angeles 68 35 25 229 1.79 248 166 82 0
128 3 1996-9 D.C. United 66 31 31 229 1.79 271 200 71 3
123 4 1998-1 Chicago 66 35 22 220 1.79 230 162 68 1
128 5 1997-0 Los Angeles 67 36 25 226 1.77 236 154 82 0
118 6 1999-2 Los Angeles 61 34 23 206 1.75 192 135 57 1
117 7 2000-3 Chicago 59 35 23 200 1.71 213 162 51 0
119 8 1999-2 Chicago 59 37 23 200 1.68 211 155 56 0
120 9 2002-5 San Jose 55 32 33 198 1.65 184 136 48 2
128 10 1997-0 D.C. United 59 36 33 210 1.64 253 207 46 2

4 years in a 10 year league is a long time, which is why you can have a horrible team (2000 DC) be a part of this group.

Bubbling below in 14th place is the 1999-2 Dallas Burn. Huh. They had a great 1999 followed by 3 average years, and only 1 playoff series win to show for it.


Best MLS Teams Over 5 Seasons





W L D Pts APPG GF GA GD Titles
150 1 1998-2 Los Angeles 83 40 27 276 1.84 277 179 98 1
154 2 1997-1 Los Angeles 81 43 30 273 1.77 288 190 98 0
160 3 1996-0 Los Angeles 82 45 33 279 1.74 295 203 92 0
151 4 1998-2 Chicago 77 48 26 257 1.70 273 200 73 1
149 5 1999-3 Chicago 74 44 31 253 1.70 264 198 66 0
146 6 2001-5 San Jose 68 39 39 243 1.66 231 165 66 2
148 7 1999-3 Los Angeles 70 46 32 242 1.64 227 170 57 1
160 8 1996-0 D.C. United 74 49 37 259 1.62 315 263 52 3
147 9 2000-4 Chicago 67 48 32 233 1.59 249 206 43 0
146 10 2000-4 Los Angeles 64 47 35 227 1.55 220 181 39 1

Again, it's the same teams over and over. 1998 and 1999 were very uneven years, helped by the move to 12 teams. I expect future expansion to cause a bigger imbalance between the good and the bad; at the very least we won't be like 2002-4 again. Only 10 teams, plus the dispersal draft; it was incredibly even. With 12 or more teams, you can have a few teams with really great seasons. Just look at the 2001 standings. There's also the whole "gradually moving away from single entity" thing. So what I'm saying is, soon we'll have our very own Yankees and Royals.

There's still only one title, though. So while the records here may be improved, good luck beating DC's accomplishment (3 in 4 years).

Comments on "The Best MLS Teams (single season & multiple)"

 

Anonymous Evan said ... (3:26 AM, May 21, 2006) : 

Funny...the Galaxy, as you have shown, have been one of, if not arguably, the best team in MLS history. "But they didn't win trophies!"

So the Galaxy wins the double last season..."but they sucked in the regular season!"

(Not saying that you're saying this, just repeating some of the arguments that are out there when anyone dares mention a team other than DC as MLS' best).

 

Blogger scaryice said ... (6:22 PM, May 21, 2006) : 

Yeah, the Galaxy kinda deserved to win last year to make up for that.

It all balances out in the end...unless you're a Buffalo Bills fan.

 

Anonymous per head service said ... (4:40 PM, January 26, 2013) : 

I thought DC United won in all categories but It proves me wrong and it is great to see that there are more than one team in the fighting for the first position.

 

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