Sunday, October 25, 2009

MLS Week 32 Notes

This is my favorite time of the year to blog. Not because it's playoff time, but rather because the regular season is over and I can get into the business of comparing this year's teams historically. I'll have plenty of material in the coming weeks, so check back often.

However, there's still two more games to play today. Let's discuss some things that happened this weekend first.

1) New England must get a result (win or draw) today in Columbus to return to the MLS playoffs. But that's not all - the Revolution streak of seven straight years in the playoffs is at stake. That's not just tops in Major League Soccer, but tied for 6th among the top five sports leagues in the US. Click on the link for a full list (which has yet to be updated with the latest MLB season, but that doesn't affect the Revs' position). Only the Red Wings, Spurs, Devils, Mavericks, and Pistons have longer streaks. It would also be Steve Nicol's first season without making it (not counting his interim coaching stint in 1999).

2) Team MVP winners are starting to be announced. They're usually given out at the team's last home game, though not every team does that. Already, I've seen articles naming Jeff Cunningham, Shalrie Joseph, Josh Wolff, and Nat Borchers (interesting) as winners. Check out the full list of previous winners (1996-2008) here, which I'll be sure to update once all 2009 winners are known.

3) All of the interconference games are done, and for the first time in five seasons, the west has finished on top. The final record was 45-37-30, with the Los Angeles Galaxy dominating to the tune of 8-1-5 vs eastern opponents. That does mean that LA was under .500 against its own conference, interestingly.

In the 14 MLS seasons, the east has been the top conference/division 7 times (96-97, 03, 05-08) and the west has been on top 6 times (98-99, 01-02, 04, 09). The extinct central division was first in 2000, with the west finishing second. So I guess you could say that both east and west have been better than the other an equal 7 times.

4) Barring something crazy, Jeff Cunningham is the 2009 MLS Golden Boot winner with 17 goals. At the age of 32.86 (on July 1st), he's the oldest winner (see Golden Boot Ages). Previously, Alex Pineda Chacon was the oldest at 31.53 years of age. Let's hope Cunningham doesn't fall off the way he did.

5) Questionable coaching decisions last night?

  • In all the all-important final match, Gary Smith started Preston Burpo over Matt Pickens in goal for the Rapids. I know their fans weren't happy about that, and it looks like their fears were justified with the way the match turned out. You have to question him leaving his line on the second goal and also the angle on the third (Yura's). Speaking of which, Movsisyan is always great on breakaways and one-on-ones. Possibly the best in the league in those situations.
  • It was surprising to see Schellas Hyndman wait until the 81st minute to insert Marvin Chavez into the match for Dallas. He waited 20 minutes after the equalizer to make an offensive substitution in a situation where their season depended on another goal.
  • Tom Soehn didn't start Jaime Moreno, among other "really interesting roster moves". I only watched the last 15 minutes, but he looked like the biggest threat on the field for United. Of course, they were so close to a game winner and a playoff berth in stoppage time, and then Soehn would've been something of a genius. DC's failure to make the playoffs may not look like a huge collapse based on the weekly standings, but it was. They had five straight league games at home before last night and only went 2-3-0.

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Comments on "MLS Week 32 Notes"


Anonymous Sean said ... (1:50 PM, October 25, 2009) : 

Ryan Johnson was San Jose's team MVP


Blogger SRM said ... (3:18 PM, October 25, 2009) : 

It's too bad San Jose 1.0 moved to Houston. That team would be on nine straight years in the playoffs if it were counted as one.


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