Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MLS Week 10 Notes: Popsicles, Draws, & Streaks

1) Kasey Keller likes popsicles. At least he did as of 1990, since it was in that year's USA World Cup media guide. I wrote a post about some of the interesting facts from that guide it three years ago. So why am I bringing this up again? Well, Goal.com (which has become a really good site for MLS coverage, BTW) had an article where they encouraged fans to post questions for Keller. I wanted to know if he still enjoys popsicles 19 years later, and they picked that question to ask:

See 1:55...

The really funny thing to me is on Goal.com where they posted this video, somebody left the following comment:

"Well, we know he still enjoys popsicles, but we don't know what he considers his greatest achievement..... Splendid choice of questions.........."


2) Did you know that New England's Steve Ralston has started 15+ games in every single MLS season? He's the only player to do that. Several other players have long current streaks in that category: 10 years for Jay Heaps, Chris Klein, Tyrone Marshall, 9 years for Nick Garcia and Sasha Victorine, 8 years for Landon Donovan, and 7 for Kevin Hartman.

3) The Chicago Fire's unbeaten streak is now at 10 games to start the season (4-0-6). If you count shootouts as draws, the longest streak is 1997 DC at 14 games (9-0-5). If you don't want to count that, then the record is 12 games by 2000 KC (10-0-2). Two other shootout era teams went 12 games without a real loss: 1996 LA (10-0-2) and 1999 DAL (6-0-6).

4) Also, the Los Angeles Galaxy as you can probably guess are the quickest team to reach 8 draws in a season (10 games, 1-1-8). The record was previously held by 2006 NY, who got it in their 13th game (2-3-8). Only 5 draws away from tying the record high in a season (13, by several teams).

5) Speaking of draws, I know a lot of people are commenting on the high percentage of them this season. But if you're going to compare this year to 2000-02 like Ridge Mahoney of Soccer America, then you really should use for those three years the number of games that were drawn after 90 minutes because it's not a fair comparison otherwise. You can mention the actual number of draws, but it's important to mention the "after 90 minutes" numbers too. 2003 had the highest percentage of tied games after 90 minutes with around 35%, so to me that's the high mark we should be looking to this year if we're talking about all time highs.

6) Update on the home/away games dipsarity. Teams that have played 2+ fewer home games than away games, and therefore should be a bit better than their record indicates: CHI (-2) and NE (-3). The only team to have played 2+ more home games is TOR (+3), so they might looking a little better now than they really are. I had them pegged as the 9th best team in the league entering the year, and it seems likely they will be in that 7-9 range at year's end, either barely in or out of the playoffs.

7) Much has been made of the poor away form of New York and Real Salt Lake, who both sport 0-4-1 records with zero goals scored. Hardcore MLS fans can probably remember the two teams to have gone winless away from home (2003 LA, 2005 RSL), but I bet you couldn't tell me who holds the record for the fewest away goals scored in a season. The answer? 2002 DC, who scored only 6 goals in 14 games for an average of 0.429 per game (both records).

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