MLS Sporcle Quizzes
|I've made a couple of new ones. A great way to kill some free time!|
See this Bigsoccer thread for more MLS related Sporcle quizzes and discussion.
Comments and analysis about the world of American soccer.
|I've made a couple of new ones. A great way to kill some free time!|
See this Bigsoccer thread for more MLS related Sporcle quizzes and discussion.
|Taken from the game guide pdfs on MLSnet. They appear each week, and also in the playoffs. For the non-playoff teams who played each other last week (NY-TOR, KC-DC), I've added in the stats myself.|
I'll say it again: MLS should really promote these stats as they are very detailed and interesting and just get buried in the game guides.
Compared to Previous Years
Team Breakdowns: Offense
Team Breakdowns: Defense
If you're looking at this really carefully, you may notice an error. For offense, there are 289 open play goals and 24 rebounds, as well as 152 inside goal area and 339 inside penalty area. For defense, the numbers are 288-25 and 153-338. I checked, and it's not from any of the non-playoff teams that I manually added. Maybe at a later date I'll go through each week's game guides to find the error...not now.
Some interesting things to point out:
Corner kick goals. For the past four seasons, the MLS Cup winner has been in the top three percentage wise. Here's this year's breakdown:
The total PCT of 1.98% is lower this year:
Of course, keep in mind that due to the way MLS counts things, there are actually more goals scored off corners. I believe that if a corner is sent in and headed on goal, parried by the keeper back to an attacker who then puts in home, that would count as a rebound goal rather than a corner goal. And Blanco's corner vs CHV last week would go down as an own goal, because that's a separate category.
Stuff that jumped out at me:
Labels: goal details
OTFATT is short for "On the field, all the time." In these updates throughout the season, I've kept track of which MLS players have played every minute of every game (regular season only).
The season is over, and we have four survivors: three you could've guessed in March (Busch, Hartman, Onstad) and one that shocked everyone (Barnes). The only player to drop off in the past two months was Joe Cannon, who was rested by San Jose in a couple of their meaningless final games.
Darrius Barnes benefited from the injury to Gabrielle Badilla in preseason and never looked back. Kind of like Michael Parkhurst's story, who replaced the worn out Carlos Llamosa in 2005. The two NE center backs from ACC colleges are the last two rookies to accomplish the feat. Nick Garcia in 2000 is the only other rookie on the list below.
1996-2009: Played Every Minute
(players in bold played every minute of every game in all competitions, goalkeepers in italics)
Order of teams being totally wiped out for 2009, with last surviving player:
1. NY - Dane Richards (4/18)
2. CLB - Brian Carroll (5/27)
3. SEA - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (6/14)
4. RSL - Will Johnson (6/27)
5. LA - Omar Gonzalez (6/28)
6. TOR - Adrian Serioux (7/18)
7. COL - Jordan Harvey (7/18)
8. DAL - David Ferreira (8/1)
9. CHV - Carey Talley & Zach Thornton (8/8)
10. DC - Bryan Namoff (8/15)
11. SJ - Joe Cannon (9/27)
*Toronto's Nick Garcia was eliminated on 8/15. However, he was traded mid-season and had played every minute he was available for two teams - SJ & TOR. Toronto themselves had no players left after Adrian Serioux.
|I won't put it on the main page because it's such a long post, so check it out here:|
All Time Best & Worst MLS Teams (single season & multiple)
How do this year's teams stack up?
|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?
|Voting for the 2009 MLS Year End Awards is underway. I've learned some interesting things about this season's voting process:|
1) For the Best XI, Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Landon Donovan are listed as midfielders this year, while Guillermo Barros Schelotto is listed as a forward. You may remember the unfortunate situation from two years ago, where Blanco was a finalist for the MVP award yet missing from the Best XI. That was because MLS only allows two forwards on the Best XI, and that year he and the other two MVP finalists (Juan Pablo Angel and Luciano Emilio) were all in the forwards category.
So for this season, with no Donovan in the way, I'd expect Jeff Cunningham and Schelotto to be the two forwards. If Donovan had been listed as a forward, then we could've seen a repeat of Blanco 2007 if those three players end up as the MVP finalists.
2) Rookie of the Year. Eligible for the voting are Alex Grendi (127 minutes played), Stefan Dimitrov (124), Danny Cruz (107), Michael Holody (80), Peri Marosevic (47), and Andrew Dykstra (0, seriously). Missing are Nick Zimmerman (757), Graham Zusi (434) and O'Brian White (343).
How is player who hasn't played a game in the running when others who have actually contributed aren't? From what I understand, MLS teams are responsible for providing nominees, so they're likely to blame. But hey, Dykstra did get 90 minutes in the Open Cup.
3) Jhon Kennedy Hurtado will not be among the Newcomer of the Year finalists. Neither will his Sounders teammate Osvaldo Alonso. Seattle's nominees for the position are Keller, Ljungberg, and Moreno (I believe the limit is three for each team), so the other two aren't in the running.
Meanwhile, Hurtado is listed as 5th by the MLSnet Awards Tracker for that award.
4) Referee Jorge Gonzalez, who made the awful diving call on Chris Rolfe this past weekend, is one of six people in the running for Referee of the Year. If he turns out to be a finalist, I'll be really disappointed.
|1) The 2010 seeding formula. Using the previous formula (from 2006), it appears that Portugal's resurgence may see them get seeded after all at the expense of France. They were always in good shape as long as they managed to qualify, and that looks very likely now. The same eight teams have been in the running ever since July 2006, so one good team is going to get let out no matter what.|
Now despite what the formula shows us currently, we can never be certain as to what FIFA will actually do. The average person on the street would probably say that the previous World Cup runner up (France) should be seeded ahead of a team that barely qualified (Argentina). Remember, they've changed it slightly the past few World Cups.
BTW, I didn't see this Soccernet article until now. US Soccer president Sunil Gulati doesn't know what the formula was in 2006. He said it included "...50 percent for performance over the last three World Cups" which is incorrect. Acutally, they only used the past two World Cups for the 2006 formula. Also wrong is author Frank Dell'Apa, so I guess that gives you an idea of how many people really follow this stuff closely. I'd really expect Gulati to know better.
Anyway, there's speculation that this time only the current FIFA ranking could be used, maybe by itself or in conjunction with the previous World Cup performance half of the formula. I would approve such a decision. Why? Well, one thing that I always forget about until somebody mentions it is the fact that because the FIFA rankings half of the formula includes snapshots from three separate years (12/2007, 12/2008, 11/2009), matches from some years count more than others.
The current FIFA rankings procedure takes into account the past four years worth of results (before 2006 it was eight years). Those results are weighted 100-50-30-20. If the seeding formula stays the same and uses three years worth of FIFA rankings, what they're doing is this:
So matches from 2007 are counted the most, closely followed by 2008. Compare this to only using Nov-09:
It makes more sense to do it this way when determined who should be seeded for next year. The whole idea of using the rankings in the formula is to measure who's the best right now, isn't it? And then since the other half involves previous World Cups, that half is for who was the best in the past, which gives you a formula that involves both past and present.
2) Not only will FIFA have to decide what formula to use, they'll also have to decide the four pots for the World Cup draw. Unless they decide to seed all pots (which IMO is a good idea, but that's another post), the top pot should consist of seeded teams and the second pot of UEFA teams. That leaves the following 16 teams left:
4.5 - AFC
5.0 - CAF
2.5 - CONMEBOL
3.5 - CONCACAF
0.5 - OFC
Last time, AFC/CONCACAF/OFC was one pot and CAF/CONMEBOL was another. Before, it ws CAF/CONCACAF. What will they do this time?
If Uruguay wins the playoff with Costa Rica, it makes things simple. CONCACAF and CONMEBOL would each be at three teams, and either could be paired with the five teams of AFC/OFC or CAF. If Costa Rica & New Zealand win, then you would expect the only option to be AFC/CONCACAF (4 + 4) and CAF/CONMEBOL/OFC (5 + 2 + 1).
But if Costa Rica & Bahrain win, things get messy:
5.0 - AFC
5.0 - CAF
2.0 - CONMEBOL
4.0 - CONCACAF
0.0 - OFC
Now this is where Edgar has suggested we could see the return of the dreaded "special pot" which was used for Serbia & Montenegro in 2006 when things didn't add up evenly. That's something to look out for.
Or, they could just draw the groups instead of the teams which would be the fairer way to do it. That probably makes too much sense for FIFA, though.
3) I was discussing the possible 2014 World Cup qualifying playoffs on Bigsoccer the other day. No, it's not too early. Will the number of spots for each confederation change? Here's what I was thinking:
The interesting thing for 2014 will be how Brazil hosting affects things. For 2010, they decided to give CAF 5 spots plus the host spot for a total of 6. That never used to be the case; before, they would've given CAF 4+host for a total of 5 (taking the host spot out of the normal number).
So if they continue with the 2010 policy, Brazil as host should mean their spot wouldn't come out of the 4.5 for CONMEBOL. However, 5.5 total spots for that region (out of 10 teams) seems like a lot. Remember, for 2006 they originally reduced it to 4 (giving OFC a full spot) before changing it back. I would be kind of surprised to see CONMEBOL with 5.5.
Given the way AFC didn't lose their spots after 2002, I wonder if FIFA might do something like give CONMEBOL only 4+host and then give the extra 0.5 to CAF.
|The hexagonal or "hex" has been in its current form for four cycles: 1998/2002/2006/2010. The fourth edition has just been completed. The USA and Mexico are now tied with identical all time records of 22-8-10, though Mexico is ahead with a better goal differential.|
What else is new statistically? Carlos Pavon of Honduras won the golden boot for the second time (2002, 2010), and also became the hex's all time leading scorer. His 7 goals also tied for the most in one hex with Mexico's Carlos Hermosillo in 1998. This was also the highest scoring edition, as well as the one with the largest home field advantage. Home teams combined for a 20-5-5 record.
The top team in hex history is still 2002 Costa Rica with 23 points. They're immediately followed in the rankings by all 8 Mexico and USA teams. See below for the full list.
Some hex statistics:
Goals per Game & Draw Percentage
Home Field Advantage
Measured as home PPG minus away PPG. For comparison, the all time home field advantage in MLS is around 0.67 PPG.
Golden Boot Winners
Pavon becomes the first two-time winner, and who would've guessed it a year ago?
Overall Performance (1998-2010)
Pavon passed Wanchope on September 5th, 2009, with his second goal in the 4-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago.
No player has scored in all four hexes. Three have scored in 3/4: Ronald Gomez, Pavel Pardo, and Wanchope.
|Once again, it's that time of the calendar. I expect the US to take care of business, so I'll be looking at how the other matches will affect us.|
If you haven't heard, the big news is that Sepp Blatter announced a week ago that teams will be seeded in UEFA's World Cup qualifying playoffs. The eight playoff teams will be split into two pots based on their FIFA ranking.
I'm disappointed by this announcement. First of all, regardless of your opinion on the decision, it's wrong to wait until the competition is almost over to give us the details of the playoff draw. This should've been announced before a single European qualifier had been played. But it's not unexpected, because the same thing happened four years ago. Not just the seeding, but also the fact that they didn't decide on it until right before qualifying ended (link). We ended up with Spain vs Slovakia, remember?
Second, I don't see why the big teams need to be protected. If France and Germany both end up in the playoffs, why not have the possibility that both can be drawn against each other? Well, I know why it's this way, but it doesn't make it fair. Teams were already seeded once when the groups were drawn. If France can't win its group as the top seed, then why do they deserve any more protection? I really thought things might be different with Michel Platini in charge of UEFA, especially after the way he restructured the Champions League.
How will the seeding change things? As always, Edgar at Football Rankings is on top of the likely FIFA rankings. Based on probable results, we're looking at the following pots:
Pot 1: Croatia, France, Portugal, Russia
Pot 2: Bosnia, Czech, Greece, Ireland
France would've still been favored to qualify without this seeding, but now it just makes things easier for them (and Germany/Russia, Portugal) which also has an impact on American soccer. Protecting the big teams likely makes the 2010 World Cup harder for the United States. However slightly, this does hurt our chances for advancing from the group stage (due to a greater likelihood of a tough draw), as well as our chances for being seeded in future World Cups. As for FIFA's decision making, as Gabriele Marcotti wrote yesterday, regardless of how you examine it they don't come off looking good.
This week's qualifiers
As an American, we want the following results:
1) Russia vs Germany. This is the big one. We want Russia to defeat Germany and go on to take the automatic berth. Germany is one of the top teams who rarely miss out on qualification and they probably still won't, but at least there's a chance they could be shocked in the playoffs.
2) Argentina. Again, it's not likely, but we should still want them to finish 6th. It's not like Costa Rica could take them in the playoffs, so 5th is as good as qualified. Anyway, they should defeat Peru at home, before traveling to Uruguay for the final match. Assuming that happens, Uruguay must get at least a point in Ecuador tomorrow so that they can still pass Argentina in the final match with a win. Actually, that result is key. Ecuador can still pass Argentina on the final day no matter what happens on Saturday, so we definitely don't want them to win.
It'll also probably be necessary for one or both of Colombia/Ecuador to win away on the final day. Here's what we should be hoping for in CONMEBOL:
I don't expect Colombia or Venezuela to get those results, so we're relying on Ecuador and Uruguay. Don't forget to check out the CONMEBOL results simulator, which is great fun.
3) Portugal. They're a team with more potential than Sweden, and I'd like to see them crash out. Saturday's matches are key, since both are likely to easily win on Wednesday (Portugal vs Malta, Sweden vs Albania). Portugal should beat Hungary, so Sweden will need a result in Denmark. A draw there probably won't be good enough. If Sweden-Denmark ends in a draw and Portugal wins, Portugal will be ahead going into the final matchday. At the very least (a one goal win), they would be ahead on goals scored and they have a much easier final opponent. Sweden really needs to win in Denmark. They're capable of that; remember the Euro 2008 qualifier where they were going to win there until the match was abandoned?
Labels: 2010 world cup