Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MLS: Number of Meaningless Games per Season (Updated)

(Edited 2010-12-21 with final numbers, and a list of the games)

The 2010 playoff berths are pretty much decided at this point. Seven of the eight teams are known, and it would take another collapse by the Colorado Rapids for them to miss out (and let Kansas City sneak in). It's unusual to see things nearly wrapped up with a few weekends left. There's less parity this season, and we're now in a situation where only half the teams in the league make the playoffs, the smallest percentage in league history (I'm not complaining, I wish it was even less).

How many games will actually be meaningless? The answer is very few. I've defined meaningless as any game which has no impact on the playoffs or the Supporters' Shield. So even though the playoff teams are almost decided, seeding still comes into play which makes plenty of games meaningful. There are only five games this season which will definitely lack any meaning. Two of them occurred this past weekend: CHV vs TOR and HOU vs NE. Only three of the remaining 18 are in that category as well. We could possibly see a couple more added on the final weekend, but I doubt more than eight total.

That's still a high for the seasons I've looked at. Here's some numbers for recent seasons:

Number of Meaningless Games per Season


Games Total PCT
2010
6
240
2.50%
2009 0 225 0.00%
2008 3 210 1.43%
2007 2 195 1.03%
2006 3 192 1.56%
2005 3 192 1.56%
2004 0 150 0.00%
2003 2 150 1.33%
2002 0 140 0.00%




Total
19
1,694
1.12%

Of course, this can't measure exactly how meaningful a game is. In my opinion, having fewer teams make the playoffs means that the games which are meaningful are worth more.


List of Games

2010-10-09 CHV vs TOR
2010-10-10 HOU vs NE
2010-10-16 CHI vs DC
2010-10-23 DC vs TOR
2010-10-23 CHV vs CHI
2010-10-24 CLB vs PHI


2008-10-25 SJ vs TOR
2008-10-25 CHV vs HOU
2008-10-26 LA vs DAL


2007-10-20 TOR vs NE
2007-10-20 DC vs CLB


2006-10-14 LA vs DAL
2006-10-15 DC vs CHI
2006-10-15 CHV vs RSL


2005-10-08 SJ vs RSL
2005-10-15 NE vs CHI
2005-10-15 DC vs CLB


2003-10-25 SJ vs LA
2003-10-26 CLB vs CHI

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Comments on "MLS: Number of Meaningless Games per Season (Updated)"

 

Blogger BigLance said ... (9:11 PM, October 16, 2010) : 

Unless there have been any other new MLS players during today's game, Tyler Deric may just be #1500, starting tonight's Dynamo v SJ match.

Biglance

 

Blogger scaryice said ... (9:30 PM, October 16, 2010) : 

Yup, I'm on it.

 

Blogger Andy Huffman said ... (2:43 AM, October 18, 2010) : 

one thing I love about MLS is that even in the meaningless games there is a sense of pride. I don't see a lot of teams "playing for the pick" as you see in the NFL, etc.

 

Blogger Andy Huffman said ... (2:44 AM, October 18, 2010) : 

one thing I love about MLS is that even in the meaningless games there is a sense of pride. I don't see a lot of teams "playing for the pick" as you see in the NFL, etc.

 

Anonymous Dylan said ... (4:06 AM, October 22, 2010) : 

This is what is otherwise known as a 'friendly'. But they are really not that meaningless, because a friendly game can give you experience, can give you a psychological gain over your opponent. There can be a lot to be gained by winning or losing a friendly.

 

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