Thursday, September 24, 2009

MLS Week 28: Mid-week notes

1) The Columbus Crew's home unbeaten streak in all competitions is over with the CONCACAF Champions League loss to Cruz Azul. You may have heard that they broke the record for the regular season with 19 straight games back in July. However, they also managed to just do enough to break the overall streak as well. They were at 24 games before last night, one better than the 2000-01 Chicago Fire. That included 21 regular season games, plus the two playoff games last year and the Puerto Rico game last month.

2) Let's revisit this post: Top MLS Goalscorers by Season Age. How's 2009 going to change these lists? Well, Guillermo Barros Schelotto has already set a record for an age 36 season, easily eclipsing Preki's season for the awful 1999 Kansas City Wizards.

Brian McBride has scored 6 goals, but due to the injury he's probably not going to beat Youri Djorkaeff's 10 for age 37.

Meanwhile, Jeff Cunningham is 3 goals away from tying Adolfo Valencia's age 32 record haul of 16 in 2000.

Unfortunately, there haven't been any teenage goalscoring sensations this year to light up the younger age records.

3) Recommended reading (neither are MLS, but...):

If you're not reading Jonathan Wilson's articles for the Guardian's football web site, you really should be. He has the best articles on tactics that I've come across. His current one deals with the possible return of the sweeper, and there's several links to some of his other ones in that story.

Another great read is Pro Player Pipeline, which deals with college soccer and features detailed reviews of matches seen by the author.

4) The Los Angeles Galaxy may be doing well in the league table, but they're coming dangerously close to fielding the league's oldest ever starting lineup. The record is currently held (as far as I can tell) by the Chicago Fire's lineup on 8/28/1998 with an average age of 31.48 years old. This past Saturday, the Galaxy's lineup was on average 29.59 years old. That may not seem too close, but they're only two players away from setting a new mark.

Against Toronto, If you had replaced Gonzalez with Sanneh and then switched out either Franklin for Klein or Kirovski for Buddle, they would've set a new mark.

The best chance may come if Omar Gonzalez has to sit out a match. He's still shy of his 21st birthday, so replacing him would make things a lot closer. Unfortunately, Tony Sanneh may be just too old to even consider in the lineup anymore, especially alongside Gregg Berhalter. A more likely path to the record would see Franklin move to CB instead of Gonzalez, who's place in the lineup would be taken by Klein (at RB). Klein's younger than Sanneh, so then you would need another big age increase. How about Jovan Kirovski? Him (33.51) replacing Buddle (28.33) wouldn't be enough, but what if Donovan moved back and Birchall came off instead (25.37)? Those two moves (Klein/Kirovski for Birchall/Gonzalez) to this past Saturday's lineup would be enough to set a new record.

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