Friday, September 30, 2005

Draws/Goals per game

Games Draws PCT
1996 160 34 21.3%
1997 160 33 20.6%
1998 192 33 17.2%
1999 192 57 29.7%
2000 192 47 24.5%
2001 158 36 22.8%
2002 140 36 25.7%
2003 150 53 35.3%
2004 150 46 30.7%
2005 171 37 21.6%

This is the number of games tied after 90 minutes, which is the fair way to compare the games from all years. With 21 games to go this season, It's no surprise that the percentage has dropped. RSL and Chivas are just so horrible, and you also have San Jose and New England who are great teams. I don't know if I would've predicted a 9% drop though. Next year, I would guess it goes back up to around 25%, which is still pretty low.

Also, notice how it was high the two years before they eliminated the shootout and overtime (1999 and 2003).

Draw percentages for most leagues around the world (2003-4 season), thanks to Bigsoccer's Elninho.

Games Goals GPG
1996 160 539 3.37
1997 160 522 3.26
1998 192 685 3.57
1999 192 549 2.86
2000 192 612 3.19
2001 158 519 3.28
2002 140 421 3.01
2003 150 433 2.89
2004 150 392 2.61
2005 171 493 2.88

Goals per game (this does include overtime goals, BTW). 1998 was the year where DC and LA destroyed the competition. Generally, the more even a league is, the more draws and fewer goals they have. Most leagues are in the mid to upper 2.00's, so the last few years are what we should expect in the future, not the high scoring of the first few years. Expansion caused a rise this year because the player pool was expanded this year. The level of play should be better in 2006. I would expect a slight decrease next year. Not too much, because RSL and Chivas should have better offenses. Their defenses can't get much worse.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Open Cup final tonight

Los Angeles vs Dallas, the winner will become the second MLS team to win the tournament twice. Should be a good game. I have to take the Galaxy at home.

Just like MLS as a whole, there are no magic beans that will make the Open Cup grow overnight. I know a lot of people talk about advertising it more and stuff like that, but it's going to slowly increase in stature as the league does likewise. There are plenty of great stories every year in the cup, but you need an audience for them, and we just don't have it yet. Having said that, there is a wonderful article you need to read by the Boston Globe's Frank Dell'Apa about the early days of the tournament:

A Steelworker Forged History

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Timelines (CLB, DC, MET, RSL)

The third and final installment:


04/13/96    Brian McBride   1
04/13/96 Pete Marino 1*
04/13/96 Brian McBride 2
06/27/96 Pete Marino 8*
07/04/96 Pete Marino 9
07/20/96 Brian McBride 9*
07/20/96 Brian McBride 10
07/25/96 Pete Marino 10*
07/31/96 Brian McBride 11
08/01/99 Stern John 44*
08/01/99 Stern John 45
08/11/99 Brian McBride 45*
08/11/99 Brian McBride 46
08/18/99 Stern John 46*
08/18/99 Stern John 47
09/26/99 Brian McBride 49*
09/26/99 Brian McBride 50
10/10/99 Stern John 50*
10/17/99 Stern John 51
08/08/00 Brian McBride 55*
08/26/00 Brian McBride 56

Stern John destroyed MLS, blowing past McBride in his two year stint. A year later, Brian would take the crown back, which at 56 goals is the highest number leaguewide for a new record holder. Four years would pass between McBride passing John and the next change, Twellman passing Moore (see yesterday's post).

DC United

04/20/96    Raul Diaz Arce   1
05/15/96 Steve Rammel 3*
05/15/96 Steve Rammel 4
05/15/96 Raul Diaz Arce 5*
05/30/96 Steve Rammel 6
06/02/96 Raul Diaz Arce 6*
06/05/96 Raul Diaz Arce 7
06/05/96 Steve Rammel 7*
06/05/96 Steve Rammel 8
06/23/96 Raul Diaz Arce 8*
06/30/96 Steve Rammel 9
06/30/96 Raul Diaz Arce 9*
07/04/96 Raul Diaz Arce 10
06/13/99 Jaime Moreno 49*
08/04/99 Jaime Moreno 50
(EDITED: 3/27/06, because I previously had counted one Moreno goal as Diaz Arce's.)

Moreno is now over the century mark in goals for DC. He has a lead of about 90 over any other active United player, and he's still going strong. It will probably be a decade or more before he's overtaken.


04/13/96    Giovanni Savarese    1

Not much to see here, folks. The only team to h player on top for their entire existance, Savarese scored the first eight toals (plus an own goal) in team history and hasn't looked back. Mathis was only five goals away when he left. If Guevara leaves, the mark could last another ten years.

Real Salt Lake

04/09/05    Jason Kreis     1
04/16/05 Brian Dunseth 1*
04/30/05 Jason Kreis 2

One season down, and one wire to wire lead for Jason Kreis. Somehow, I doubt any of the other current RSL players will overtake him in the future.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Timelines (CHV, DAL, LA, NE, TB)

Chivas USA

04/09/05    Thiago Martins    1
04/09/05 Hector Cuadros 1*
04/09/05 D. Sequeira 1*
04/16/05 Thiago Martins 2
05/07/05 Hector Cuadros 2*
05/22/05 Hector Cuadros 3
06/18/05 Thiago Martins 3*
07/09/05 Hector Cuadros 4
07/13/05 Thiago Martins 4*
07/13/05 Isaac Romo 4*

I know Chivas is awful, but 4 goals could be enough to lead the team for the season. Unbelievable. I haven't checked, but I'm sure that's a record. Palencia should blow past these guys next season.


04/18/96    Jason Kreis     1
04/18/96 W. Rodriguez 1*
04/18/96 John Kerr 1*
04/21/96 John Kerr 2
04/28/96 Jason Kreis 2*
04/28/96 W. Rodriguez 2*
05/01/96 W. Rodriguez 3
05/11/96 Jason Kreis 3*
05/11/96 John Kerr 3*
05/11/96 W. Rodriguez 4
05/18/96 Jason Kreis 4*
05/18/96 Jason Kreis 5

Another one that was settled early. No one will touch Kreis for years; he has the biggest lead of any of the team leaders. Eddie Johnson has the talent, but he's around 70 goals behind, and he'll be gone before that.

Los Angeles

04/13/96    Cobi Jones       1
04/13/96 Arash Noamouz 1*
04/20/96 M. Cienfuegos 1*
04/20/96 Jorge Salcedo 1*
04/28/96 M. Cienfuegos 2
05/05/96 Jose Vasquez 2*
05/05/96 Jorge Salcedo 2*
05/12/96 Eduardo Hurtado 2*
05/19/96 M. Cienfuegos 3
05/19/96 Eduardo Hurtado 3*
05/26/99 Eduardo Hurtado 4
07/11/99 Cobi Jones 37*
08/07/99 Cobi Jones 38

Hurtado tore up MLS the first two years, then was traded to the Metrostars. It would take Cobi two years from then to make up the difference. Ruiz was 2 goals away before being traded.

New England

04/13/96    Robert Ukrop     1
04/27/96 Geoff Aunger 1*
05/04/96 Geoff Aunger 2
05/19/96 Alberto Naveda 2*
05/25/96 Alberto Naveda 3
05/25/96 Geoff Aunger 3*
06/06/96 Alberto Naveda 4
06/23/96 Paul Keegan 4*
06/30/96 Alberto Naveda 5
08/11/96 Joe-Max Moore 5*
08/16/96 Joe-Max Moore 6
08/21/96 Alberto Naveda 6*
08/21/96 Joe-Max Moore 7
09/12/97 Alberto Naveda 13*
09/16/97 Joe-Max Moore 14
04/17/04 Taylor Twellman 43*
07/14/04 Taylor Twellman 44

Twellman is the latest guy to take over a team lead, and also was the first since 2000 (not counting RSL/Chivas). Since he seems to be heading towards that Jason Kreis mold of being great in MLS but not internationally, he could hold the lead for a long time.

Tampa Bay

04/13/96    Ivan McKinley   1
04/13/96 Roy Lassiter 1*
04/13/96 Steve Pittman 1*
04/20/96 Martin Vasquez 1*
04/28/96 Roy Lassiter 2
05/04/96 Diego Viera 2*
05/08/96 C. Valderrama 2*
05/08/96 Diego Viera 3
05/18/96 Roy Lassiter 3*
05/18/96 Roy Lassiter 4

Lassiter of course went on to score 27 regular season goals that first season, still the record, and a total of 34 the first season. Only Carlos Ruiz has scored more in all competitions, with 35 in 2002. Raul Diaz Arce is the only other guy to hit 30, in 1996.

Lassiter finished with 44 goals for the Mutiny, who folded in time to stop Mamadou Diallo from overtaking him (39 goals). Ralston was close as well.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Timelines (CHI, COL, KC, MIA, SJ)

As mentioned yesterday, here is the history of these five teams' alltime leader scorer titles. Most of the teams have seen little change since their first year. I'm not sure what analysis I can give here, so I'll just let the numbers speak for themselves. If you have any questions, post them.

An asterisk means that the player tied for the record and wasn't the sole leader. And also, just to clarify, the reason the numbers jump a little bit is because the leader scored more goals. For instance, Kosecki passed Nowak with his 7th goal, but he also was the first to score the 8th, 9th, and 10th, where Razov caught up to him.


03/24/98    Roman Kosecki    1
03/24/98 R. Kotschau 1*
04/04/98 Frank Klopas 2
04/25/98 Roman Kosecki 2*
04/25/98 Frank Klopas 3
06/11/98 Peter Nowak 5*
06/11/98 Peter Nowak 6
06/24/98 Roman Kosecki 6*
07/01/98 Roman Kosecki 7
09/10/98 Ante Razov 10*
09/13/98 Ante Razov 11
10/05/98 Lubos Kubik 11*
03/20/99 Ante Razov 12


04/21/96    Marcelo Balboa    1
04/21/96 Shaun Bartlett 1*
04/21/96 Marcelo Balboa 2
05/19/96 Shaun Bartlett 3*
05/19/96 Marcelo Balboa 4
06/02/96 Jean Harbor 4*
06/08/96 Jean Harbor 5
07/17/96 Shaun Bartlett 6*
07/24/96 Shaun Bartlett 7
08/01/96 Jean Harbor 7*
08/03/96 Jean Harbor 8
07/30/97 Chris Henderson 11*
08/02/97 Chris Henderson 12
05/06/98 Paul Bravo 15*
05/09/98 Paul Bravo 16


04/13/96    V. Takawira    1
04/13/96 Frank Klopas 1*
04/13/96 V. Takawira 2
05/02/96 Mo Johnston 2*
05/02/96 Preki 2*
05/11/96 Preki 3


04/04/98    Jerry Tamashiro  1
04/04/98 Diego Serna 1*
04/11/98 Henry Gutierrez 1*
04/18/98 Dan Stebbins 1*
05/02/98 Dan Stebbins 2
05/02/98 David Vaudreuil 2*
05/09/98 Dan Stebbins 3
05/23/98 Jerry Tamashiro 3*
07/02/98 David Vaudreuil 3*
07/08/98 Diego Serna 3*
07/08/98 Dan Stebbins 4
08/30/98 Diego Serna 8*
09/13/98 Diego Serna 9


04/06/96    Eric Wynalda      1
04/21/96 Ben Iroha 1*
04/21/96 Paul Holocher 1*
04/28/96 Paul Bravo 1*
05/04/96 Eric Wynalda 2
05/04/96 Paul Bravo 2*
05/08/96 Paul Bravo 3
06/30/96 Eric Wynalda 6*
06/30/96 Paul Bravo 7
05/22/97 Eric Wynalda 13*
06/08/97 Eric Wynalda 14
05/16/98 Ronald Cerritos 18*
05/16/98 Ronald Cerritos 19

Saturday, September 24, 2005

MLS: Alltime leading goalscorers by team

Includes ALL competitions, not just MLS, which really should be the way of calculating the leaders. It's how many goals you've scored for the club in official games. The league top scorers (aka regular season) is a good statistic, but when you're talking about who is the club's alltime leading scorer, it really ought to include all competitions. If any of you saw the great Henry/Bergkamp "Centurians" dvds, they featured each player's first 100 goals for the club, and didn't limit it just to the league.

Be sure to come back the next few days, because I will be posting the leading goalscorer timeline for each team. So you'll be able to see who has been the leading scorer at any point in your MLS club's history. I don't really pimp myself much, but you won't be able to see this stuff anywhere else.

Here are the current alltime leading goalscorers:

DC    113    Jaime Moreno      
DAL 98 Jason Kreis
CHI 95 Ante Razov
KC 80 Preki
CLB 79 Brian McBride
LA 74 Cobi Jones
NE 69 Taylor Twellman
SJ 66 Ronald Cerritos
MIA 59 Diego Serna
COL 46 Paul Bravo
TB 44 Roy Lassiter
MET 44 Giovanni Savarese
RSL 12 Jason Kreis
CHV 4 Hector Cuadros/Thiago Martins/Isaac Romo

And if you need a(nother) reason to laugh at the Rapids and Metrostars, here you go. Most of these be will safe for years, unless you have a guy like Twellman with a meteoric rise. Guys like Razov and Kreis nearly triple the second place total for their team. I would say the only one (non-expansion) that could be broken in the next year is the Metros. Amado Guevara is 16 goals away. Chris Henderson was less than 10 away when they traded him. Pretty interesting stuff.

As I said, I will post the leading goalscorer timelines for each team in the next few days:

Sunday: CHI, COL, KC, MIA, SJ
Monday: CHV, DAL, LA, NE, TB
Tuesday: CLB, DC, MET, RSL

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Long View

One thing that I always notice when reading Bigsoccer or other online message boards, is how fans are quick to rush to judgement. Not exactly a shock. But there was a great example of it the other day, when the U17's defeated North Korea. They did enough to win, but it wasn't a great preformance. Therefore, I got to read about how this team was awful, none of the players will make it, etc. And then the USA goes out and gets a dominating win over Italy, and you can guess the reactions. It's so funny to read this stuff, because I knew this would happen. I've seen it a million times.

It was only a few years ago that contraction occured, and MLS' existence was hanging in the balance. Now that the league's future is secure, the new issue seems to be how successful it's going to be, and how fast will we get there. As an American soccer fan, I understand the demands for overnight success. We have come a long way in the past 15 years. And in this country where over 60% of the people are overweight and credit card debt keeps rising, it's not really surprising that people want instant gratification. But it's just not realistic. Higher attendances and better quality of play won't come overnight.

In the past few years, the people behind soccer in this country have started to think long term. Finally they have realized that Americans are not suddenly going to become soccer fans, and that soccer fans will not necessarily become MLS fans. This is a long term process, and fans need to realize that too. The crowds at Pizza Hut Park, Pumas destroying DC United, or any one game for that matter: these things are not very important. Building stadiums, getting MLS profitable, and steady growth for the league and all American players is. I may be preaching to the choir here, but it's still important to think about this, at the very least for your own sanity as you read stuff online.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The 200 club

Which players have made at least 200 appearances (in all competitions) for their MLS team? It's a small list of only 22 guys, who have been major players in the history of the league:

CHI-Armas, Brown, Marsch, Thornton
CLB-Clark, Cunningham, Maisonneuve, McBride
KC-Garcia, Klein, Preki, Zavagnin
LA-Cienfuegos, Hartman, Jones, Vanney

DC-Etcheverry, Moreno, Williams

DAL-Kreis, Pareja


This year, Armas, Garcia, Henderson, Pareja, and Zavagnin have joined the club. I believe the closest player to 200 is Ben Olsen, but they need to advance in the playoffs and Copa Sudamericana for him to have a shot at it.

Also this year, Cobi Jones became the first to get 300 appearances for his club, the Galaxy. A quick check says that it occured on June 5 vs the Metrostars.

The top 5 teams on this list (CHI-CLB-DC-KC-LA) are all in the top 6 alltime record-wise (at least entering this season). The only one that isn't is San Jose, who really have had two seperate eras in their short history. KC has as well, but SJ has been more willing to change up their roster from year to year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

MLS Records to look out for (updated)

Previous post

First of all, even though their season is dead, Chivas USA still has something to play for. They need 3 points in their final four games to avoid becoming the worst team in MLS history, curently the 2001 Tampa Bay Mutiny. The Mutiny's adjusted points per game (APPG) was 0.52. Adjusted simply means that I count shootouts as draws. The 1999 Metros' APPG was 0.63.

1) No team has finished a season undefeated at home (regular season only). San Jose is now only 3 games away from becoming the first. They have Chicago, Dallas, and RSL to go.

2) One of RSL and Chivas will almost certainly go down with the worst away record. The mark to beat is the 1999 Wizards, at 0.38 APPG. To beat that, RSL needs 6 points in its final three away games (COL, COL, SJ), and Chivas needs 4 points in its last two away games (CLB, COL).

3) The record for most seasons in a row with a decrease in average attendance is 3, shared by the 1997-99 Metrostars and the 1998-2000 Revolution. Colorado and New England are both still on track to match that. The Rapids are over a thousand behind last year's average, but the Revs have a decent shot at beating last year, only 26 fans per game behind.

4) Jeff Cunningham (11 goals) has not scored in the past month, meaning that Colorado's paltry goal scoring record may stand. The record is 14 by John Spencer (twice), so he needs 4 goals in the final six games. They do have an easy schedule.

5) The Metros are still on track to become the first team to miss the playoffs with a positive goal differential (+5).

6) Colorado (currently -3) has never had a positive goal differential for a season. They should finish with one thanks to that easy schedule I already mentioned.

Also, thanks to Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl for naming Climbing the Ladder as one of the top US soccer blogs!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Rooting against other teams

Since I am such a big soccer fan, I want what's best for the game in this country. I want to see each MLS team get as much attention as possible, and if the other teams in that market suck, that helps. So I find myself rooting against teams from MLS markets when it comes to other sports.

Does anybody else do this? The bigger markets like New York and Los Angeles don't really matter, since they have so many teams that a couple will be good each year. But it has an impact in the smaller markets. I think that the Jazz sucking last season really helped out RSL, and gave them more media coverage. That's probably the most important team to root against as an MLS fan. The Columbus Blue Jackets are another one, as well as the Sharks.

I also think that basketball and hockey teams have more of an impact than football, because the beginning of the season is when you need people paying attention, so you can have good attendance and coverage all year long. The MLS playoffs will get decent coverage (by MLS standards) no matter what. Although, the Revs were hurt by the Red Sox last year. Let's not forget the college teams as well, especially Ohio State.

It doesn't really matter, it's just something I find myself thinking about while watching games where I don't have an cheering interest. (ps-go White Sox)

MLS: 100th player for each club

MET-Cordt Weinstein, 6/16/01
NE-Diallo/Llamosa/Pineda Chacon/Ralston/Rooney, 3/23/02
COL-Daryl Powell, 10/1/03
DC-Troy Perkins, 5/22/04
SJ-Tighe Dombrowski, 5/29/04
CLB-Matt Jordan, 10/16/04
DAL-Mulrooney/Ruiz/Vanney, 4/2/05
LA-Ednaldo da Conceicao, 4/10/05

(includes all competitions)

Not a stellar lot here, except for the New England and Dallas ties, which were season openers. I can't tell you how much seeing Naldo as any kind of milestone amuses me. Also, how about the glorious import Powell as well. If you're wondering why Chicago and Kansas City aren't up there, it's because they have yet to reach 100 players (98 and 97 respectively). The Fire were an expansion team, so it's understandable. The Wizards are likely there due to Gansler's long tenure as coach. Meanwhile, the Metros have used by far the most players in the league, 151 going into the season, which was 20 ahead of any other team.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

On the field, all the time (4)

When we last checked in on the 14th of August, 9 players had played every minute of the 2005 MLS season. Since then:

8/17-Matt Reis is red carded.

9/11-Nat Borchers is red carded.

9/18-Kevin Hartman does not for the Galaxy, in favor of Steve Cronin. Also, Joe Cannon gets hurt and is subbed off. He had played every minute since the start of 2004 until then.

Now, only 5 remain, which is also the record for the most players to accomplish this feat in a single year (2001). I suspect that Elliot may not make it, as the Crew may start to test younger players for the final few meaningless games. The others seem likely to do it though.

I think this would be a nice competition to have for next year (I'm already doing the attendance prediction threads on Bigsoccer). Each person could pick a lineup (4-4-2), and I could add up the total number of minutes played until the player is off the field. In addition, each person would also pick one player for each team to last the longest, and receive bonus points for that. 32 times 90 is 2,880, so I guess 200 bonus points for that would be fine. And the best part is that it wouldn't require a lot of work, since all the entries would be due by the start of the season. (I'm inspired by the Hacking Mass competition at Baseball Prospectus)

2005 Candidates

CLB-Simon Elliot
KC-Bo Oshoniyi
LA-Todd Dunivant
NE-Michael Parkhurst
SJ-Pat Onstad

Order of teams being totally wiped out, with last surviving player:

1. RSL-Jason Kreis
2. CHI-Ivan Guerrero
3. MET-Chris Leitch
4. DC-Bobby Boswell
5. DAL-Scott Garlick
6. CHV-Erza Hendrickson
7. COL-Joe Cannon

Saturday, September 17, 2005

FIFA U17 World Championship

Starts today with the USA facing North Korea, followed by Italy and Ivory Coast. Shouldn't be too hard of a task today, and getting out of the group is pretty much a given. Anything less would be really disappointing. The tough part comes in the quartefinals, where we would likely be facing Brazil or the Netherlands. Get by that round, and the championship could be a reality.

It's hard offer any analysis when I've never seen any of these guys play, but we're pretty much in the same spot as the senior team: Better than most teams, but still below the top tier. If anything, we're better at the youth stage. These guys have been together for a couple years in Bradenton, so they are capable of winning. That's an advantage, because even though other teams might have players with top clubs, we should have a great team. Nobody stands out like Freddy Adu this time, but two MLS players are on the team, Besagno (RSL) and Kirk (LA). Zimmerman is supposed to be a very talented forward, so look out for him. There's always a few guys who turn out to be big stars, so this is a great chance for us to get an early look at what tomorrow may hold. And, of course it's a great opportunity for them as well.

EDIT: Check out this great article from Soccer America on the backgrounds of the players.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

MLS-Most starts in a row from inception of franchise

KC Mark Chung 83
COL Steve Trittschuh 47
DC Jeff Agoos 44
SJ Tim Martin 35
DAL Mark Dodd & Richard Farrer 32
CHI Lubos Kubik 31
TB Steve Ralston 29
CHV Ezra Hendrickson 24
CLB Billy Thompson 24
LA Mark Semioli 24
MIA Leo Cullen 21
MET Rhett Harty 17
NE Welton 17
RSL Clint Mathis 13

Takes into account all competitions. Just another cool stat I'm now able to easily figure out thanks to my lineup database (nearly done). It's interesting than only one goalkeeper makes the list, and even then he's tied with a position player. And I think in the future only a goalkeeper could break Mark Chung's record. He started every game for the entire 1996 and 1997 seasons, and the first 10 of 1998. I believe he finally missed a game due to a foot injury.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New FIFA rankings out


The Netherlands and France are up (1 and 3 spots respectively), and the USA is down one to seventh. This, along with France's win in Ireland last week, pretty much ends our dream of being seeded. In order for that miracle to happen, we would need both France and Spain to only make the playoffs and lose there.

It was never that likely, but there was always an outside shot. In hindsight, the key moment was losing the 2003 Gold Cup semifinal against Brazil. If we had won the game, we would've gotten a ton of points in the rankings, and had a chance to beat Mexico to win the tournament. In addition, we would've played in the Confederations Cup. But it's not a big deal. Teams that are good do good in the World Cup, and teams that aren't don't. There are very few easy games, so let's bring it on already.

If we make it to the quarterfinals again, next time around in 2010 we'll almost certainly be seeded. That's another reason to hope for success next June.

Monday, September 12, 2005

DC starts Copa Sudamerica quest tomorrow

I'm excited about this. Another chance to make a statement about American soccer. One thing is for sure though, United must go out and attack U. Catolica at home tomorrow. MLS teams have not done well outside of this country. By my count, the league is 7-21-1 in International competition away from home, against teams from other countries (does not include DC's win over Vasco in Florida). So a win by multiple goals in the only option.

Overall, I think our league (and national team) is probably stronger than Chile's, so we need to show them who's boss. I also think having some South American players will help DC. They should advance, although the next round against a Argentine/Brazilian team will be hard to tackle.

MLS away wins (outside of the USA)

2001 Giants Cup: DC at Arnett Gardens (JAM)
2001 Copa Merconorte: KC at Barcelona (ECU)
2002 Champions Cup: SJ at Olimpia (HON)
2002 Champions Cup: KC at W. Connection (TRI)
2002 Champions Cup: CHI at Municipal (GUA)
2003 Champions Cup: NE at Alajuelense (CR; techinically the home leg)
2005 Champions Cup: DC at Harbour View (JAM)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Lineup database nearly finished

(see explanation here)

I have been double checking all the MLS lineups to make sure the stats match. As for Open Cup/Champions Cup, they should be correct, but a couple errors will probably slip through. I can only go by what SoccerAmerica and give me. But the big news is that I am almost finished. I have doublechecked 7/12 teams, which takes some time. Not as much time as putting it together in the first place, but still a lot. In the process, I am putting together stats for total appearances and goals (I already had an excel file of goalscorers, but now I can be certain of the accuracy).

I am still planning on waiting until the end of the season to release the files, because I want to add this season first. But in the meantime, I thought I would show you my process for doublechecking and the work that goes into it. 1999 Dallas will be the example.

1) First, I copy all the MLS lineups and scores for that given season.

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2) Then, I make sure the number of goals for and against match up to the real numbers.

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3) I paste the mls stats for that season, then type out the player names, games started and sub appearances, and goals scored. I make sure the starts add up correctly (32*11=352) and the goals as well. (mlsnet has some mistakes)

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4) I copy the goalscorers I have listed for that season, and make sure they match the totals for each player.

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5) Rather than check each individual starting lineup, I just count the total number of subs in each game, and make sure it matches the total number of sub appearances. It would be way too much work otherwise (as if it's not already!).

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6) I then can paste the stats into the "yearly stats" tab.

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7) Add the stats from the playoffs/Open Cup/continental, then I have completed that season (doublechecking the playoff stats later). This is what I do for every season. It probably takes around 10 minutes or so for each one, more for this one because I'm taking screen shots. The finished product:

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Friday, September 09, 2005

2004 MLS Cup playoffs highlight compilation

Download here (Rapidshare)

Check this out. I've been working on this for a little while. Includes highlights of all the playoff games last year, set to music. This is the first time I've done anything like this, so let me know if you like it. I recorded the streams off of mlsnet, then edited them. The mlsnet highlights for the 11 games totaled almost exactly an hour, which I had to cut to 12 minutes. A lot of it was replays though. Quality's not the greatest, but it's all I have to work with. Just download it already!

I might do some more in the future, because it's a lot of fun to look at the finished product (although it takes some work). Also, if you know of a better site than Rapidshare to upload it to, let me know.

Expansion: That answers that...I think

With the Peter Wilt led group that's going after a Milwaukee expansion team in 2008, I had been wondering whether we would see 2 expansion teams in both 2007 and 2008. This article from Milwaukee gives us the word straight from the commish himself:

"Garber said the next round of expansion should come in 2007, when Toronto is expected to join the league, and 2008, with one additional team."

Ok. I guess that makes sense. I don't know if that means for sure that there won't be two teams in 2007. But regardless of how many teams, it's probably better to wait until you know you have a good situation. MLS may have lucked out a little with RSL.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

World Cup Roster Thoughts - "The we've qualified edition"

When the 2006 World Cup kicks off, what will the USA roster look like? I'm going to try and get inside Bruce Arena's mind and figure it out, basec on the current situation (and not what I personally would do). I previously did this on June 28. Now that we've qualified, I think it's time to take another look and see how things have (or have not) changed.


Locks: Howard, Keller

Others: Busch, Cannon, Hahnemann, Hartman, Reis, Walker

Howard was supposed to be in camp this past week, but had to decline because of his child being born. Otherwise, he probably would've started against Guatemala. That's from Bruce himself. So I've upgraded him to a lock (which I probably should've had him at before). The third spot is Hahnemann's to lose. I really don't think Reis can unseat him. Cannon is the one MLS guy who could beat him out, but he hasn't been given much of a shot. It's not really a big decision, because the third keeper won't play and all of them are pretty good.

Picks: Hahnemann, Howard, Keller


Locks: Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Gibbs, Onyewu, Pope.

Others: Albright, Berhalter, Conrad, Hejduk, Marshall, Pope, Spector, Vanney

I still consider Pope a lock. He has had an awful year though. RSL has not been kind to our internationals. Despite all of Bigsoccer calling him "Agoos 2006," I still believe he'll make the roster. That could be, but let's see how he does in the start of next year. One of the biggest stories this year has to be the resurgance of Berhalter. He was definitely one of the last guys you would expect to return from the 2002 team, but he's in a good position to do that now. With Lewis at LB, that could take away a spot from a defender. That's something to think about. I think Hejduk will make it over Albright, due to his experience and also because he can fill that LB spot if needed. Conrad has been impressive, and has put himself into the picture in almost no time. But Bocanegra did the same thing four years ago and wasn't selected. If Bruce goes with only 7 defenders, I think he's competing with Berhalter for a spot (Conrad, that is). Spector still has a good shot depending on how much playing time he gets this season. It would be hard to leave a Premiership player out of the squad. Marshall probably has too many guys in front of him barring injury.

Picks: Bocanegra, Berhalter, Cherundolo, Gibbs, Hejduk, Onyewu, Pope


Locks: Beasley, Donovan, Lewis, Mastroeni, O'Brien, Reyna

Others: Armas, Convey, Davis, Dempsey, Mathis, Noonan, Olsen, Quaranta, Ralston, Zavagnin

Despite the Gold Cup and a bunch of qualifiers, nothing much has changed here. Those six guys will be there no matter what. The big news is Convey's great start to the season. If he keeps it up, he'll be a lock. That probably leaves only one open spot. Previously I had Dempsey and Noonan making it. Ralston could change that. He's a solid guy, although not good enough for World Cup level. But he wouldn't be starting, because Donovan/Reyna/Beasley could fill that right midfield slot. Maybe he's like Zavagnin, a guy who helps in qualifying but has little chance of making it? Right now though, he's in good position after being a starter this year.

Picks: Beasley, Convey, Dempsey, Donovan, Lewis, Mastroeni, O'Brien, Ralston, Reyna


Locks: Johnson, McBride

Others: Casey, Ching, Cunningham, Twellman, Wolff

We could really use somebody else here. Bruce likes Wolff, and Ching has played the best out of the others. So those are the two guys I'll go with. Ching needs to have a strong finish to the MLS season, coming back from injury. Donovan can play up top as well.

Picks: Ching, Johnson, McBride, Wolff


From last time, the only changes I made were Convey and Ralston in for Spector and Noonan. I don't really think the Gold Cup changed much at all. It was good for giving the young guys experience, but for little else. Hopefully the remaining qualifiers and friendlies will see some talented players step forward and claim their spots, like Johnson did last year.

Also, a lot of it comes down to loyalty. In retrospect, David Regis and Joe-Max Moore should not have been on the roster (I would say Agoos, but he was great up until the World Cup). So if somebody's play drops off in the next eight months, then they probably shouldn't make the trip. Especially if they aren't going to start anyway.

Grant Wahl just did this same exercise, and we have 19 of the same picks. He has Albright/Armas/Quaranta/Twellman making it, while I have Ching/Hejduk/Ralston/Wolff instead. If JOB is healthy, no need for Armas. And probably even if he's not. And, I did get to see Twellman's preformance Wednesday before making my picks though. :)

Guatemala 0-0 USA

Well, I called this one. I did get the lineup wrong, because Bruce decided to rest every starter from Saturday, as well as bring Johnson off the bench. I'm still surprised he started Vanney again though. It was a disappointing game, one that we should've won. Johnson looked good, except for the miss. I remember against Guatemala, where he nearly missed on the goal, hitting it off the post. This time, he did mess up bad and headed wide. That should've won the game for us. Of course, Twellman messed up too. He's throwing his chance away.

Marcelo Balboa singled out Hahnemann, Conrad, Marshall, and Convey as the guys who helped themselves tonight, and I think that's accurate. I would throw in Albright too, who looked pretty comfortable out there. It's a testiment to our depth that our second string lineup can outplay Guatemala on the road for most of the match.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Announcements anyone

Wasn't RSL set to announce their stadium site around Labor Day? And also, I believe the Fire were going to officially announce their stadium sponsor (Bank of Bridgeview) around this time as well.

EDIT: Of course, KC and SJ should be having something announced regarding their situations eventually as well. Deadlines have come and gone, with nothing so far. The longer we go without hearing anything, the better it is for them.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Guatemala: The tryouts begin

G-Hahnemann, Reis
D–Albright, Conrad, Garcia, Hejduk, Marshall, Vanney
M–Armas, Convey, Dempsey, Mastroeni, Quaranta, Ralston
F–Cunningham, Donovan, Johnson, Twellman

Now comes the easy part: Using high-pressure, important games as a luxury to test unproven players. Away games in Guatemala and Costa Rica will not be easy, as we failed to win at either one in 2002 qualifying. I posted my thoughts on the World Cup roster two months ago. I'll do it again in a few days, now that we've qualified. But I don't believe much has changed. Quaranta is the only new guy that's come on strong, and I expect him to be given a start on Wednesday. Conrad has as well, and Convey has had a resurgance, putting both in the picture. But all of these guys need to impress to show Bruce that he can't afford to leave them behind (except for Hejduk, Donovan, Mastroeni and Johnson). Most of these guys will not make the World Cup roster. It's time to seperate the wheat from the chaff.

Let's predict a starting lineup logically. Hahnemann should get the start in goal. He's obviously ahead of Reis in the pecking order. Plus, Hahnemann and Convey are the only Euros on the roster still, so they both start.Garcia won't start since he wasn't there originally. Conrad and Marshall will be the center backs. Hejduk will start, it's just a matter of which side. I think Bruce knows more about what Vanney can do, plus he sent him back to Dallas for the weekend, so I think Albright starts on the right and Hejduk on the left.

In the midfield, Mastroeni takes over for Armas, and Convey for Beasley. Quaranta will get to show his stuff in place of Ralston. Donovan should remain in the lineup as the engine of the offense. I know he supposedly needs a rest, whatever. But he wouldn't be making the trip to sit on the bench. He could start up top, but I don't think so. Not with Reyna gone. Dempsey is deserving of another look, but I think he'll be on the bench for this one. Again, he was sent back to the Revs on Saturday.

Johnson, despite also going back to MLS, will probably start. He was a starter earlier in the year and needs to get back into the team. Twellman should get a rare start. He hasn't got many chances to start for the USA, and hopefully he can open up his account in Guatemala. I think Cunningham is the odd man out up top. I got 10/11 for Mexico; let's see how I do this time:

Hahnemann, Hejduk, Conrad, Marshall, Albright, Mastroeni, Convey, Quaranta, Donovan, Johnson, Twellman

They will face a big challenge against a Guatemala team that badly needs to win. They threw it away against Trinidad, and despite a lackluster hex campaign, it will be a hard game. Our relatively untested guys are up to the task, but we might be due for a letdown. We can't win them all. I think I've predicted a win in every USA game since I started blogging regularly in June, so this time I'm gonna have to go with the draw. Don't look now, but that would extend our undefeated streak, currently at 10 games. We could easily break the 16 game one we had earlier this year!

Prediction: USA 0-0 Guatemala

Sunday, September 04, 2005

USA 2-0 Mexico

Simply put, a brilliant preformance. Mexico never threatened, and we took advantage of set pieces to score twice. Beasley and Onyewu were amazing, and lead us offensively and defensively. We played much better than in the 2001 game, and were deserving winners. After the countless times we played bad against lesser teams, it's good to see the team step up for the big rivarly game.

Lewis wasn't tested too much at LB, but he played well. I was surprised that he got the start against Mexico (I thought Boca would start, but other than that I guessed the lineup correctly). Like all US players, he needs to prove he can do that against the best teams, the Germanys and Brazils that you have to beat in order to win the World Cup. Beasley and Lewis together is a great combo on the left, now we just need upgrades for Armas and Ralston. O'Brien can fill in for Armas. Hopefully Eddie Johnson or another forward will be in good form next June, and maybe then Donovan or Reyna can play on the right side of midfield.

Mexico in 2001 had several numerous chances, yesterday they had a free kick at the end of the first half. That's all. I can't emphasize that enough. Berhalter had one of his best games for the national team; he's looking like he'll make it to Germany after all. It was the same central defensive pairing as in Azteca, but the results were much better. I should also note that the US played better in Azteca than Mexico did in Columbus.

Qualification assured, now we can rest and experiment the rest of the way. Next month, we play on Saturday 10/8 and Wednesday 10/12. The only MLS teams off on Saturday are LA and Chivas, so we'll probably see Donovan and Albright for sure (schedule). I would suspect that we'll see fewer MLS guys being taken away, maybe 1 per team. SJ plays RSL at home, so Bruce might as well take Davis, Ching, etc.

But there'll be plenty of time for analysis and speculation later. Now is the time we celebrate. Germany 2006 is a reality.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


This is it, the day we've all been waiting for. If you're like me, when you lay down in your bed at night, you don't fantasize about girls (or guys). Normally, yeah, but not this week. I dream of Borgetti, Marquez, and company crying in humiliation. So enjoy the match, and go USA!

Of course, there are other games going on today. Panama and Trinidad must win tonight against Costa Rica and Guatemala to have hope for the World Cup. And countless other teams need to win to continue the drive to Germany 2006. And of course, MLS action continues, with the Metros and KC in particular an important match. If the Metros can't win at home with all the Wizards missing, they're screwed. Palencia and Garcia make their home debuts for Chivas, as they try to turn around the franchise.

But nothing compares to the sight of Crew Stadium decked out in the red, white, and blue flag that represents everything we stand for. This is the USA, and today we'll have the atmosphere to match our quality team. Hopefully, we'll have the victory too.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

USA vs Mexico preview

Here's the roster:

G-Hahnemann, Keller, Reis
D-Albright, Berhalter, Bocanegra, Conrad, Hejduk, Marshall, Onyewu, Vanney
M-Armas, Beasley, Convey, Dempsey, Lewis, Mapp, Mastroeni, Quaranta, Ralston, Reyna
F-Cunningham, Donovan, Johnson, McBride, Twellman

26 guys. If we win this game, we could be seeing a completely different lineup for Guatemala next Wednesday. But for this game, Onyewu is a sure starter in defense. Hejduk should start at RB, although Bruce loves Albright. But he also loves experience. Berhalter or Bocanegra should start alongside Onyewu. Vanney could start at LB, but Bocanegra is a better choice. So I guess that means Berhalter again will pair with Onyewu. That's probably better, since they've played a few games together.

EDIT: Vanney was one of five players sent back to their MLS teams, along with Reis, Marshall, Dempsey, and Mapp. So unless Bruce goes with Hejduk on the left, I would say Boca's the guy. Surely he wouldn't go with Lewis against Mexico.

I expect to see the same formation as last month against Trinidad. O'Brien is out, so Armas will probably step in. I would say Mastroeni, but I don't know if he's completely fit to go 90 minutes in an international. Convey is suspended, so Lewis will get the spot if Beasley can't go 90. Ralston and Reyna fill out the midfield. If Bruce plays Donovan in the midfield, I guess Ralston would be the guy who gets left out.

Donovan and McBride again up top. Johnson hasn't impressed since returning from injury. Missed an easy chance against Chivas on Saturday. He may be a factor off the bench. The same goes for Twellman, who has played very well recently and seems to be ahead of Cunningham in Bruce's eyes. Jeff probably won't make the bench with those guys on it.

We should beat Mexico at home. A draw wouldn't be a huge surprise, but in that stadium, in this country, a draw would be a huge disappointment. Mexico is without Pardo and Blanco, and for all their chances, nearly lost the lead against us in Azteca. Let's do this thing, and book our ticket to Germany.

Prediction: USA 2-0 Mexico