Better Than Their Record?
|We have a good idea of who the best and worst MLS teams in MLS history are. I've already gone over this subject in depth here, detailing the top ten in single and multiple seasons. However, that's only considering their regular season record. What I've never done before is to make a list of the top & bottom single season teams over all competitions. How would that change the standings?|
I was thinking about this the other day as I watched the Los Angeles Galaxy get pounded again. They're a bad team, no doubt, but if you look at all of their games the story isn't quite so dire. They have a record of 3-10-5 in regular season play for a PPG of 0.78, on pace to be the 6th worst team in league history. Just horrible. But they went 2-1 in Open Cup play and are 3-1 in the Superliga (reminder: final tonight), so if you add that 5-2 record into their total, it becomes 8-12-5 over all competitions. The PPG is now 1.16 vs 0.78 in the regular season only, a huge difference.
The 2005 Galaxy were pretty much the same story, winning the double despite an average regular season record (partly explained by Donovan missing games). However, they went 7-0-1 in the Open Cup and playoffs:
The 2005 Galaxy only improved the third most all time. So which teams have improved and decreased the most in MLS history? Obviously it's a lot more likely for a team to get better, because if you lose in the knockout competitions then you are done. Not to mention the Champions Cup. Let's take a look.
Most Improved Teams When Counting All Competitions
Interesting that 3/4 of Chicago's years under Dave Sarachan make this list.
There are three MLS Cup champions on this list. Those teams also made huge leaps in the overall table (see below). But the number one team here is actually one of the worst ever. They get credit for their participation in the Champions Cup and the Giants Cup, as well as their US Open Cup semifinal run.
Most Decreased Teams When Counting All Competitions
2001 and 2002 feature prominently here and on the previous list. That's because those two years had the shortest seasons, at only 28 games (actually 26 or 27 for 2001, due to 9/11). So they would be easier to affect.
The number one team here, the 2001 Crew, played only a 26 game regular season. They went 2-4-1 in other competitions, including the Giants Cup.
Several teams had had huge playoff collapses: TB/MIA/SJ, all Supporters Shield winners.
Best & Worst Single Season Teams Revisited
So if we were to look at the all time lists normally and under all competitions, how would things change?
The best teams:
Three changes in the top ten, all of newcomers Fire teams. The 2003 edition is now in third place all time, while the 2002 Galaxy move from tenth to second.
In all competitions, the most points all time would go to the 6th and 7th place teams at 84 (and also the most games at 44). The 2000 Fire's 26 wins are also a record.
The worst teams:
Only one change here. Like I said above, obviously there's more movement among good teams.
2005 Chivas won their first Open Cup game which bumped them up a bit.