Wednesday, May 30, 2007

MLS: Fouls Per Game

In my previous post about fouls in MLS, I noticed that the numbers really didn't add up when it came to fouls committed (FC) and fouls suffered (FS). Here's proof, throughout the years:


FC FS Diff Min
1996 4432 4386 46 14400
1997 4583 4579 4 14400
1998 5402 5132 270 17280
1999 5551 5285 266 17280
2000 6489 6236 253 17280
2001 5211 4966 245 14551.5
2002 4559 4364 195 12897
2003 4836 4584 252 13982
2004 4573 4348 225 13500
2005 5670 5432 238 17280
2006 5573 5297 276 17280


This is taken from the "league stats" pages on MLSnet. Every year, there are more FC than FS. Are some things like handballs considered fouls, or it is just poor stat keeping? I'd really like to know the answer. At least it's been reasonably consistent on the difference. What's also funny is that if you go to the team stats pages, the totals are sometimes slightly different there. I believe that's due to recent years not including the goalkeeper stats on the team stats pages.

Minutes is the total number of minutes played in the season (aka all team totals divided by 2). Blame MLS for having an uneven number in 2001. Let's take a look at the averages per 90 minutes:


FC FS
1996 27.7 27.4
1997 28.6 28.6
1998 28.1 26.7
1999 28.9 27.5
2000 33.8 32.5
2001 32.2 30.7
2002 31.8 30.5
2003 31.1 29.5
2004 30.5 29.0
2005 29.5 28.3
2006 29.0 27.6

This is per 90 minutes rather than per game due to the overtime games from 2000-3. Why was there an increase in 2000? No clue. There was a big increase in scoring that year, and it was also Don Garber's first season in charge. I wonder if they changed things in 1998, due to the differences between FC and FS? That's about the same time the number of assists increased greatly as well, although the big jump there was from 1996 to 1997.

Comments on "MLS: Fouls Per Game"

 

Anonymous Mike Juby said ... (11:34 PM, May 30, 2007) : 

hmmm, besides the handball's there's probably been a fair amount of dissent cards.

 

Anonymous zeusbrowne said ... (9:22 AM, June 01, 2007) : 

Handballs seem the obvious culprilt. A handball constitues a "Penal Foul," and thus would fall into the category of Fouls Committed.

Mike, yellow cards would not be "fouls." "Cautionable Offenses" is a separate category of Law XII so Dissent would not be a "foul."

 

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