Sunday, September 03, 2006

Penalties 2006

The decision to call a penalty kick is always filled with drama. Just ask Dominic Kinnear. We all know that, just as we can easily see what is going on in front of our faces at any sporting event. What makes statistics interesting is that you can go beyond that, and find trends and patterns over time. How much information about the awarding of penalties in soccer is out there? This is one area that the sport is definitely missing out on. I'll try to fill the void a little bit with my research into the subject in MLS.

For & Against

For Against
CHI 4 3
CHV 2 1
CLB 4 1
COL 2 4
DAL 0 1
DC 3 6
HOU 3 3
KC 5 3
LA 1 2
NE 1 2
NY 1 4
RSL 6 2

RSL (+4) and Columbus (+3) have most the most "net penalties" while DC (-3) and New York (-3) have done the worst.

Last year, DC (+3) benefited the most while Chivas (-5) was last. NE(-4) and (SJ -3) also fared poorly. Doesn't appear to be much of a pattern when it comes to the quality of the team. I'll have to check the other years.

Home vs Away

It's very interesting to note that pks are more likely to be given to home times. I know, you're shocked. Home teams have taken 62.5% of penalties (20/32) this season, which is just above the all time MLS percentage of around 61%. Last season it was even more lopsided (71.2%).


There has been about one penalty for every five games this season, which is an all time low in league history. Normally one is called about every three games. The refs seem to be a little shy this year. Personally, I think there should be more penalties and red cards. If the situation calls for it, then give it out (just like at the World Cup, Portugal-Netherlands). They have no such problem in Mexico, where seven red cards were given out yesterday in six matches.

Earned & Caused

Three players have earned two penalties this season:

Alecko Eskandarian
Atiba Harris
Ryan Pore

On the flip side, four players have given away two penalties:

Eric Denton
Danny O'Rourke
Troy Perkins
John Wilson

I am currently collecting data on who has earned every penalty in league history, which is not available at MLSnet for the years 1996-8. That means I've been going through match reports, Internet Archive, and the newsgroups trying to find the answers. I've also found out that MLSnet's own statistics for 1996 are wrong; they're missing several penalties in their player stats. I'm still missing the data on about 50 total.

However, I do have complete data on that from 1999-2006, and do you know who has earned more penalties than anyone over that time period? Mamadou Diallo and Josh Wolff are tied with ten apiece.

The real all time leader is almost certainly Cobi Jones. He's earned nine from those eight seasons, and at least four more in the first three years. So he's at 13 plus. But, Wolff earned at least two in 1998, so he's got at least 12. It's definitely one of those two, though.

So far, I think the record is four earned in one season. It's shared by Diallo (twice, but not in his amazing 2000 interestingly), Diego Serna, and Igor Simutenkov (huh).

Comments on "Penalties 2006"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:37 PM, September 03, 2006) : 

It should be noted that Wilson's 2 penalties came in the same game with a one goal lead and lead to a defeat. He is TERRIBLE.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:57 AM, September 04, 2006) : 

What's even more interesting is that despite all the PKs at home that RSL has gotten, they've been shutout at home more often this year than anyone else in the MLS. They've been blanked at home 5 times.



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