|I've updated a few posts in the past few days:|
Comments and analysis about the world of American soccer.
|I've updated a few posts in the past few days:|
|What follows is a list of the men who have played the most games in the MLS regular season without playing in an MLS Cup, updated through the 2009 season.|
Most Regular Season Games Played Without Playing in an MLS Cup
(includes games through 2009 season)
Active MLS players in bold. Prev rank refers to their ranking after the 2008 season.
Jeff Cunningham passed Jason Kreis for the top spot on August 1, 2009. That was also the game where he scored four goals (a "beaver trick") against Kansas City in a 6-0 win. Previously, Kreis held the record from July 4, 2006 until August 1, 2009. Before that, it was held by Mark Chung.
Cunningham is in the same company as fellow athletes Gary Anderson (NFL), Dale Ellis (NBA), Mike Gartner (NHL), and Rafael Palmeiro (MLB), who all currently hold the distinction in their respective leagues.
If there's going to be a challenge to Cunningham any time in the near future, it will have to come from Pablo Mastroeni. He's still two full seasons behind, though.
Other big news: two MLS veterans saw their first MLS Cup action on Sunday and fall off the list: Kyle Beckerman and Edson Buddle. They were 9th and 12th in last year's ranking, and would've been 7th and 9th this year.
Logan Pause makes his debut in 15th place. Meanwhile, because of the two dropoffs, the retired Mark Santel comes back into the top 25.
Who else could make the top 25 in the coming years?
Active MLS players Outside the Top 25
|I've spent the last hour or so updating the Wikipedia page, so check that out:|
The MLS press release has some errors on the Generation Adidas graduates. However, it appears that all of the following players have graduated:
I've confirmed this based on protected lists and team press releases (all except for Zayner, who's certainly not gonna get a 5th year).
EDIT: MLS has issued an updated press release which confirms the above list, except for Zayner. Really, they've going to give him a 5th year? Surely that's another mistake. I know he was injured, but...
How does that differ from the list I was predicting? Well, it seems that Stefan Frei has been given another year, which is very surprising. I know Nick Rimando started all year in 2000 and didn't graduate, but Brad Guzan did and he's the only comparable player since then. At least I'm pretty sure Guzan did, I have him listed as doing so but I can't find the source. Frei really should've graduated, since he clearly established himself as the starter and played 90% of the season.
MLS did graduate Chris Seitz, I guess due to the fact that he is a lock to make the roster and also that he's had three years. How you graduate Seitz and not Frei mystifies me. Also graduating are 2007 draftees Amaechi Igwe and Anthony Wallace, which is another surprise. Apparently due to the larger senior roster (or smaller developmental roster), they're going to get these guys out earlier. But tell me how this makes sense: Igwe and Wallace have played 1,196 and 826 minutes in three seasons respectively. They graduated, yet Roger Espinoza has played 1,169 and 635 minutes in his two years and didn't. So I have to believe that the third year is what did it.
Overall, I missed 26 out of 165 protected players from my final preview the other day. Two of those were due to Seitz and Frei.
Here's my predictions on who Philadelphia will take. These things are always really tough to analyze; who would've guessed Jarrod Smith last year for example? If I can get more than three right, I'd be ecstatic.
I expect Philadelphia will take more veteran and expensive players this year because they haven't signed anyone yet. At this point last year Seattle already had committed to $800,000 against the cap with Keller, Ljungberg, and Le Toux.
So I don't think it's too unrealistic that they could take somebody like Luciano Emilio or Amado Guevara (who SBI and Goal.com both seem to expect will be taken).
(2010 age in parentheses)
CHI - Gonzalo Segares (27) - Even if there's only a 25% of him staying, it's worth the risk. It's not like all ten picks will end up on the roster anyway. Why not take the chance?
CHV - Shavar Thomas (29) - Solid defender.
CLB - Alejandro Moreno (30) - Won't score a lot, but it's not just about the goals. Every year his team ends up being good.
COL - Greg Dalby (24) - Cheap player who was very highly regarded coming out of college. Hasn't gotten a real opportunity to show his potential.
DC - Devon McTavish (25) - Versatile player can fill in at several positions.
HOU - Eddie Robinson (31) - Former Best XI player coming off a big injury.
KC - Herculez Gomez (28) - Cheap attacking player. Maybe him and Convey on the left and right side of midfield?
LA - Josh Saunders (29) - A better choice to start than Jon Conway. Also the most popular expansion draft prediction by every fan out there since Sunday.
NE - Amaechi Igwe (22) - Another young player who hasn't gotten much time. Assistant coach John Hackworth is familiar with him from the U17s. 100k salary might be a turn off, but they could negotiate it.
SJ - Bobby Convey (27) - Almost too perfect of a story, right? Surely must improve in 2010.
Total salaries: ~ $974,000
|Did you notice the stat ESPN gave about David Beckham on the MLS Cup broadcast last night? I sure did. They noted that the Galaxy's goal differential was +10 when he was on the field during the 2009 season. The team as a whole was only +5, though I don't recall if the ESPN stat was for regular season only or not (EDIT: It included the playoffs as well, he was +7 for the regular season).|
Plus/minus is a stat that has been used in hockey for a long time, and it's starting to pick up steam in basketball as well. It's come up from time to time on soccer sites as well, but not too much. I'm planning to look into the plus/minus data for each player MLS in 2009, and one thing I needed to deal with are the red cards. That's why this summer I went through MLS history and figured out all the necessary red card data, with the view of possibly looking at all seasons at some point.
Also, I want to use only full strength, 11 on 11 situations for the analysis. I'm also going to adjust for each team's goal difference, so each player will be compared to the average for the team (I'll post the non-adjusted number as well). Players will also have their playing time taken into account, like I did with the MLS Team Ages post.
But this post isn't about plus/minus. I mentioned having to get the red card data for 2009, and I've done that. So while I've yet to figure out the plus/minus, I have some interesting stuff to post: I wanted to show how teams have done this year with their goal differences, and not just the normal ones seen on MLSnet. How does their GD look when you take out all non-full strength situations?
First, let's look at the historical red card numbers for the entire league (which I believe I didn't actually post in my previous look on the subject). All data in this post is regular season only:
MLS Red Cards Per Game, 1996-2009
Yes, 2009 had the highest sending off rate in league history.
MLS is missing two red cards in their historical data the last time I checked, both in 1997. I've added both.
Also, MLS has sometimes counted in their MLSnet statistics red cards given to coaches. I don't count those, only ones given to players. Reds given to players on the bench or after the final whistle are counted, however. Four such cards are included in the 2009 data below (though they don't impact the minutes at all).
Now let's look at this past year. How many did each team get, and what about the minutes played in each situation?
2009 MLS Red Cards & Situational Minutes Played
"For" means a red card given to that team. So Chicago received 4 red cards (Robinson, Soumare, Thorrington 2), while benefiting from 6 called against the opposition.
Man, the Wizards played about 20% of their season up or down a man (or two). That stands out. I know they had that streak with a bunch of consecutive games with ejections for either team in the middle of the year (including the Superliga).
As mentioned above, four red cards were given to players not in the match at the time:
6/6 - Luciano Emilio, DC vs NY (bench)
6/13 - Mike Petke, NY @ TOR (after final whistle)
8/6 - Brad Davis, HOU @ DAL (bench)
9/12 - Carlos Johnson, NY vs KC (after final whistle)
Here's the most interesting thing:
MLS 2009: Goals For/Against in Various Situations
So here's how the GD's compare, overall and 11 v 11:
The two teams that jump out are Chicago and Colorado. Both go from positive to negative when you only consider full strength situations. On one hand, it means they took advantage of their man up situations. But it also means that they didn't impress at full strength. It's pretty surprising to me to see the Fire with a negative GD in full strength situations.
Meanwhile, LA-NE-NY all look better.
I know red cards are a part of soccer, but it's interesting to isolate the data like this. Thoughts?
|Real Salt Lake is the first American sports team to win a championship with a losing record in 60 years.|
In the history of the major four leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL), and also MLS and the NASL, only two teams have accomplished that. Both were in the NHL:
1949 Toronto Maple Leafs (22-25-13)
1938 Chicago Black Hawks (14-25-9)
Final Record: 5-19-6 (21 pts)
10) Jorge Rojas
9) Macoumba Kandji
8) Dane Richards
7) Albert Celades
6) Juan Pablo Angel
5) Juan Pablo Angel
4) Juan Pablo Angel
3) John Wolyniec
2) Dane Richards
1) John Wolyniec
Note: Only goals scored in the 2009 regular season were considered.
NY didn't give me a lot of material to work with, but it does make it easier to finish the video. Watching it makes me so thankful that Red Bull Arena will open next year and the NFL lines will be gone. I can already see the idiots on Youtube complaining in my head before I even post it.
Don't forget to subscribe to the CTL Youtube Channel!
Other 2009 Goal Comps
|Time to revisit my projections for the last time. Who will be available for the Philadelphia Union to select? The rules were announced recently, and they're exactly the same as the past few drafts.|
The following players should graduate from Generation Adidas status: Alston, Beltran, Frei, Gonzalez, Hall, Nyarko, Wallace, Zakuani, and Zayner. I would be extremely shocked if any of them didn't graduate, or if any other GA players did. See this post for further info on how minutes played affects GA status and graduation.
I'll also be updating the Wikipedia article on the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft. What normally happens is, MLS only releases the lists of exposed players. So you have to do a little work to figure out who actually was protected, including figuring out GA statuses. So next week I'll be updating that page for everyone's convenience.
I'll be sure to post my predictions for who will be selected by Peter Nowak and Philly when the lists are final.
In the following post, "changes" refers to how my projections have changed since the last time I posted them.
Changes: Lowry for Blanco.
I feel extremely confident on 8 of these players. The other three are Lowry, Pappa, and Segares.
Lowry should be protected because of his potential and low salary (developmental player). Segares is out of contract, but he's not a lock to leave and he's a highly valuable player. I still think he merits protection. That's not unprecedented, NE did it with Parkhurst last year.
Pappa is complicated because of his loan situation, which is up after the season. It seems likely that he'll be back though, and if so he's an important member of the team. The Fire will have to protect at least one of either Pappa or Segares, and he's probably more likely.
I still think there's actually a chance Mapp could be protected despite the high salary. He was a Best XI player only a few years ago, though I suppose the cheap Woolard might be a smarter choice.
Changes: Cuesta/Flores/Padilla for Braun/Lillingston/Trujillo.
The biggest change is Preki leaving. Who knows how that will affect the Chivas list, which was already one of the hardest teams to predict. I feel Bornstein/Galindo/Kljestan/Lahoud/Thornton are locks.
They also need three international players, which is complicated by the fact that Galindo/Jazic/Saragosa/Trujillo all hold green cards and that Padilla is an American. So they must protect at least three out of Cuesta/Harmse/Lillingston/Nagamura/Santos/Stepanovic/Thomas. That's even messier when you realize that Nagamura is out of contract and Cuesta/Santos are on loans. I'd say Nagamura probably still deserves protection, and Thomas might be the best bet of the group. I'll go out on a limb and pick Cuesta as the third international despite the loan, since he started in the playoffs and he's only 20.
Who gets the last three spots? Padilla will probably play a bigger role next year, and Flores has potential (even though he wasn't protected a year ago). Marsch has been a key player for the team despite his age. It might be wise to to protect him because of the former Fire connection with Nowak.
This does leave off a couple of notable players. Braun is a decent bet to end up on a the list, but he was a Preki signing and he hasn't exactly lit up the back of net.
Changes: Kimura for Smith.
I've been following what Jason of View From The Couch is projecting, so as a result I've included Kimura. However, I just can't put Baudet or Smith in the eleven. They both make over $150,000 and were brought in by Gary Smith, which means that the odds of either being selected are virtually zero.
Jason also excludes Gibbs, which I can't agree with no matter what Gary Smith thinks of Cory. Even if they're plan on going into 2010 without him, he could bring something in a trade. Palguta or Peterson could have an outside shot at making the list, too.
Changes: Gaven/Zayner for Hejduk/Moreno.
After the playoffs and the Denmark game, does anybody still want Hejduk to be protected? I've been reading the Crew forum on Bigsoccer, and they certainly don't. Zayner is much more likely to be selected by Philadelphia.
Gaven was left off the list last season, but he's played well and could be selected despite his $173,250 salary. He belongs in the eleven this year. Lenhart and Moreno split time up top, so be leaving both off they'll still have at least one next year.
Lenhart is probably the last man left off. If they're higher on him than Zayner, then they could make that switch.
Changes: Chavez/Sala for Ricchetti/van den Bergh.
Ricchetti burned his bridges and is gone.
Buzz at 3rd Degree suggests Harris over van den Bergh for the final spot, so I've made that change as well. VDB's inclusion is the only possible change I could see.
Changes: Burch/Khumalo for Fred/Moreno.
With Olsen's retirement and Soehn's departure, it seems like change is in the air at DC United. If you're going to leave off Emilio and Gomez, then you might as well leave off Fred and Moreno as well. Khumalo is included because of the need for three internationals.
The issue here could be "no trade" clauses. If designated player Emilio were to have one, for example, then he would take away a domestic player spot (as a green card holder).
Changes: Chabala/Weaver for Clark/Landin.
Clark is leaving on a free transfer and Landin was a huge disappointment. Based on their playing time down the stretch, Chabala and Weaver seem next in line and they're both cheap. Barrett/Mulrooney/Onstad were already left unprotected a year ago, so I'd expect that to happen again.
Holden's out of contract too, but you could at least picture him staying (or maybe not). If I were Nowak and Holden were unprotected, I'd take him. Why not take that chance even if it's really slim?
Changes: Hartman for Watson.
Seems pretty cut and dry. Down the Byline suggests Zusi instead of Wolff. Could he or Watson make the list instead of an older player?
Changes: Berhalter/Kovalenko for Dunivant/Eskandarian.
Bruce Arena protected Kovalenko back in 2006 when he was with NY, so I now expect the same thing to happen again. Along with Kovalenko, Berhalter has been huge down the strech and he seems a more likely choice than Dunivant, who can be replaced by DeLaGarza.
Larentowicz is out of contract, but as I mentioned above, they still protected Parkhurst last year. The big question is whether or not they'll protect Twellman. He's been injured for over a year and has one of the league's highest salaries. I think that it's still the smart move to do so. Kheli Dube (likely the 12th man in the pecking order) is clearly not on the same level even at his best.
Changes: Boundoul/Johnson for Celades/Cepero.
Boundoul won the starting keeper job down the stretch, while Celades announced his retirement. Without Celades, they'll need to protect another foreign player, so I selected Johnson over Rojas.
REAL SALT LAKE
Changes: Russell for Campos.
10 players are stone cold locks. Russell is the exception. Will it be him, Campos, Grabavoy or maybe Alexandre who completes the list? We'll see what Kreis is thinking. Russell was protected a year ago so I think that tilts it in his favor.
Changes: Wondolowski for McDonald.
As I've said before, no matter how much some people want Convey out of SJ and think he would be a perfect fit, I don't think he'll be unprotected. He has too much talent, it's too perfect of a scenario with the Philly hometown kid coming home, and also he holds value in a trade if they go that route.
I suppose Le Toux, Levesque, and Nyassi have an outside chance, possibly at the expense of Riley.
What was a nightmare to project when I first did this back in August now seems easy. The high-priced Guevara/Robinson/Vitti should be unselectable and easy to exclude. Meanwhile, Garcia played his way off.