MLS: Fewest Returning Players
|Which MLS teams have had the fewest number of players returning from the previous season? I counted only those players which received playing time in a regular season game during both seasons. Of the 132 two-season spans we can look at, the average is exactly 14 players returning. Only seven times has a team returned fewer than 10 players.|
Let's take a look at those teams:
What do these teams have in common? New coaches. Everyone of these teams had more than one coach in those two years, even if it was just at the end of the second season like NE/SJ. Also the fact that a couple of the teams were pretty horrible.
Bob Bradley's not shy about remaking a team, as you can see by the top two being teams that he joined. The record holding 2002-03 Metrostars used only the following players in both years:
To give you an idea of how hard this record will be to match, the Galaxy have been perhaps the most active (non-expansion) team this offseason in moving players around. But among their 33 man preseason roster still remains 19 of the 28 men who saw action during the 2008 season. Barring more trades, for them to join this list you would have to have Ricketts start every match in goal, Beckham and Donovan not returning, several of the mediocre guys cut, and maybe a season ending injury or two.
The most players returned record is shared by DC and LA in 2005-06, with 20. Dallas from that same time period is right behind with 19. Of course, that was year after the league expanded the roster to 28.
Returning Players: All Teams
Doing "percentage of minutes returning" would be another interesting thing to look at.