Monday, October 31, 2005

BASAs: Midfielder of the Year

1st 2nd 3rd Points
1 Dwayne DeRosario 6 2 3 39
2 Christian Gomez 3 2 4 25
2 Shalrie Joseph 2 5
4 Justin Mapp 1
1 6
4 Ronnie O'Brien
6 Landon Donovan
7 Clint Dempsey

2 2
7 Youri Djorkaeff

2 2

(5-3-1 scoring system)

Not a landslide, but DeRo takes home the award for being the creative force for the Quakes, leading them to one of the best (regular) seasons ever. He's one of the three finalists for leage MVP, and I've been on the bandwagon for a little while now.

Either Gomez and Joseph could've mounted a challenge, but voters were split between them and they ended up tied for second.

Despite winning the Young Player award, Dempsey didn't get much support. Mapp was way behind him there, but outranks him here.

Results Schedule

10/24-Goalkeeper of the Year (Pat Onstad)
10/25-Coach of the Year (Dominic Kinnear)
10/26-Rookie of the Year (Michael Parkhurst)
10/27-Defender of the Year (Danny Califf)
10/28-Young Player of the Year (Clint Dempsey)

10/31-Midfielder of the Year (Dwayne DeRosario)
11/01-Old Player of the Year
11/02-Forward of the Year
11/03-Best XI
11/04-Player of the Year

(Bigsoccer thread)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Golden age for the Revs

New England is one of the final four teams in the MLS playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, only the third team to accomplish that. The others were the 1996-99 United and 1998-2002 Galaxy teams. Of course, those teams had a bit more success, and both have something the Revs don't: a championship.

Friday, October 28, 2005

BASAs: Young Player of the Year

1st 2nd 3rd Points
1 Clint Dempsey 6 2
2 Michael Parkhurst 1 4 1 18
3 Ricardo Clark 1 1 2 10
4 Justin Mapp
2 2 8
4 Freddy Adu 1
3 8
6 Chris Rolfe
2 1 7
7 Chad Marshall 1
1 6
8 Paolo Nagamura 1

8 Brad Guzan 1

10 Ramon Nunez
11 Santino Quaranta

1 1
11 Bobby Boswell

1 1

(5-3-1 scoring system)

This is for players under 23 as of July 1st. Dempsey had a killer start to the season, and picked up the award without too much trouble. Like yesterday's winner, he got half of the first place votes, while the rest were scattered among a bunch of runners up. Probably one of the reasons so many players were named is because this isn't an award that MLS gives out, so therefore a few favorites don't keep getting mentioned over and over.

Parkhurst, the rookie, finished second over veterans like Clark and Mapp. Also, I think it's a little surprising that Quaranta could only muster one third-place vote, given his callups to the national team this season.

Talented players shut out completely (for various reasons) include Alecko Eskandarian, Eddie Gaven, Eddie Johnson, Mike Magee, and Roberto Mina.

Players who will lose their eligibility for this award next year include the winner Dempsey, as well as Clark, Rolfe, Eskandarian, and many others.

Results Schedule

10/24-Goalkeeper of the Year (Pat Onstad)
10/25-Coach of the Year (Dominic Kinnear)
10/26-Rookie of the Year (Michael Parkhurst)
10/27-Defender of the Year (Danny Califf)
10/28-Young Player of the Year (Clint Dempsey)

10/31-Midfielder of the Year
11/01-Old Player of the Year
11/02-Forward of the Year
11/03-Best XI
11/04-Player of the Year

(Bigsoccer thread)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

BASAs: Defender of the Year

1st 2nd 3rd Points
1 Danny Califf 6 1 1 34
2 Eddie Robinson 2 2 1 17
3 Tyrone Marshall 1 3 1 15
4 Jimmy Conrad 1 2 1 12
5 Michael Parkhurst
2 3 9
6 Brian Carroll 1

6 Steve Jolley 1

8 Wade Barrett
1 1 4
9 Todd Dunivant
10 Brian Namoff

1 1
10 Jay Heaps

1 1
10 Samuel Caballero

1 1
10 Greg Vanney

1 1

(5-3-1 scoring system)

Danny Califf got half of the first place votes (nobody else with more than 2) and takes the award. His teammate on the league's best defensive team, Robinson, was the runner up. However, none of the runners up were named on even half of the ballots.

It seemed like people preferred either Califf or Robinson, as only twice were both on the same ballot. But none of the runners up really threatened. As with Robinson, Marshall, Conrad, and Parkhurst received little support and were way out of the running. It's always hard to rate defenders (who don't show up on the stats), especially from only watching games on tv. That's probably why 13 guys were named on the ballots here.

There were a few interesting choices...Jolley? At least for Carroll, his name is close to "Califf," so at least there's the chance of an error there.

Conrad won the official award, just announced by MLS yesterday. He only finished fourth here. Are the players, coaches/gms, and media seeing something we aren't? The other two finalists were Califf and Marshall.

Results Schedule

10/24-Goalkeeper of the Year (Pat Onstad)
10/25-Coach of the Year (Dominic Kinnear)
10/26-Rookie of the Year (Michael Parkhurst)
10/27-Defender of the Year (Danny Califf)
10/28-Young Player of the Year

10/31-Midfielder of the Year
11/01-Old Player of the Year
11/02-Forward of the Year
11/03-Best XI
11/04-Player of the Year

(Bigsoccer thread)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

BASAs: Rookie of the Year

1st 2nd 3rd Points
1 Michael Parkhurst 9 2 1 52
2 Chris Rolfe 2 6 2 30
3 Scott Sealy
3 3 12
4 Brad Guzan 1 1 1 9
5 Bobby Boswell

3 3
6 James Riley

1 1
6 Gonzalo Segares

1 1

(5-3-1 scoring system)

Another fairly easy call. Parkhurst played every single minute of the season; only four others did that this year. He was the in the center of a Revolution defense on a team that finished in first place. He was also named on every ballot.

Rolfe was the clear second place choice, while Sealy fell off down the stretch and only made half the ballots. The top three is the same as the official MLS finalists.

Results Schedule

10/24-Goalkeeper of the Year (Pat Onstad)
10/25-Coach of the Year (Dominic Kinnear)
10/26-Rookie of the Year (Michael Parkhurst)
10/27-Defender of the Year
10/28-Young Player of the Year

10/31-Midfielder of the Year
11/01-Old Player of the Year
11/02-Forward of the Year
11/03-Best XI
11/04-Player of the Year

(Bigsoccer thread)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

BASAs: Coach of the Year

1st 2nd 3rd Points
1 Dominic Kinnear 11 1
2 Steve Nicol 1 6 5 28
3 Peter Nowak
5 3 18
4 Colin Clarke

2 2
5 Mo Johnston

1 1
5 Fernando Clavijo

1 1

(5-3-1 scoring system)

No contest here. The Earthquakes came out of nowhere to put together the third best MLS regular season ever, and Kinnear was the man leading the way. He almost got a unanimous vote. Nicol was also named on every ballot, while Nowak had to settle for the scraps. There really weren't any other credible options.

It's interesting that out of all six of those coaches, none were born in the United States.

The results aren't surprising in the least. The top three here is the same as MLS' official finalists, and I'm sure Kinnear will take that award as well.

Results Schedule

10/24-Goalkeeper of the Year (Pat Onstad)
10/25-Coach of the Year (Dominic Kinnear)
10/26-Rookie of the Year
10/27-Defender of the Year
10/28-Young Player of the Year

10/31-Midfielder of the Year
11/01-Old Player of the Year
11/02-Forward of the Year
11/03-Best XI
11/04-Player of the Year

(Bigsoccer thread)

Monday, October 24, 2005

BASAs: Goalkeeper of the Year


Welcome to the BASAs, which stands for Blogosphere American Soccer Awards. I wanted to see how the opinions of bloggers compared to the real awards, and now I have the results, to be revealed one per day. I emailed 15 MLS bloggers with ballots, and 11 responded. Including mine, that makes 12. That's not a lot, but there aren't many MLS bloggers out there. So it's a good start, and I'm sure it will grow from to year to year, as I plan to make this an annual thing (I'm also planning to have a Yanks Abroad edition in May or June).

The following blogs participated in this event (thanks guys):

Goalkeeper of the Year

1st 2nd 3rd Points
1 Pat Onstad 9 2 1 52
2 Matt Reis 3 7 2 38
3 Nick Rimando
2 4 10
4 Tony Meola
5 Joe Cannon

2 2
5 Jonny Walker

2 2
7 Brad Guzan

1 1

(5-3-1 scoring system)

It was a two-horse race, and Onstad outdistanced Reis by a decent amount. Both players were named on all ballots. Out of the 4 positional awards (GK-D-M-F), only one other player can make that claim.

Onstad also won the official award in this category, as announced by MLSnet on Wednesday. Their awards count votes from the media, players, and coaches/gm's equally. The top two were the same, but Cannon took third. BASA voters preferred Rimando instead, not giving Joe much love.

Results Schedule

10/24-Goalkeeper of the Year (Pat Onstad)
10/25-Coach of the Year
10/26-Rookie of the Year
10/27-Defender of the Year
10/28-Young Player of the Year

10/31-Midfielder of the Year
11/01-Old Player of the Year
11/02-Forward of the Year
11/03-Best XI
11/04-Player of the Year

(results will be posted here and on this Bigsoccer thread)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Playoff Scoring: Nothing to worry about

As usual, people are already overreacting over the lack of goals in the three playoff games so far. Relax. The system we have now is finally a good one, which provides more drama and is better scheduling/attendance purposes. Playoff games are usually lower scoring than regular season games; all time the playoffs average 0.17 fewer goals per game. And in the two years we've had the current system, the playoffs have actually had more goals per game than the regular season. Nothing to worry about.

1996-9: best of 3 (with shootout)
2000-2: first to 5
2003-4: aggregate w/single game semis

   Regular Playoffs
1996 3.37 3.12
1997 3.26 2.77
1998 3.57 3.14
1999 2.86 3.06
2000 3.19 2.94
2001 3.28 2.72
2002 3.01 3.00
2003 2.89 3.00
2004 2.61 2.55

Friday, October 21, 2005

MLS: All Time Rankings

Now that the season is over, we can see how this year's teams rank with the league's best and worst of all time. There have now been 110 MLS team seasons, and they are ranked using what I like to call Adjusted Points Per Game (APPG), which simply means that I count shootouts as draws. Any ties were broken by goal differential.



Only the 1998 Galaxy and the 2001 Fusion had better seasons than this year's Earthquakes. Those three teams are the only ones to average 2.00 APPG. The 4 losses is a record too.

The Revs had their best season by far, way outpacing their 2003 season (40th). That gives this season two teams in the top ten all time, the only other seasons to match that are 1998 and 2001.

The Crew had their worst season ever despite the late surge. They actually had the same record as 2000, but had a worse goal differential.

RSL and Chivas posted the third and second worst seasons ever. They just came in ahead of the 2001 Mutiny. The 22 losses by both teams are a new record.



The "t" stands for tie obviously.

DC leads the pack, but are still only the 5th best United team in this category. In fact, none of the teams posted their best season ever. That's to be expected since the scoring was really high the first few years.

There was one team to post their worst season, the Crew (previously 1997).

The Rapids slightly improved on last season, where they finished 109th.

Joining the 2004 Rapids as the only teams to average fewer than a goal a game are the two expansion teams. RSL is officially the worst offensive team of all time.



SJ, DC, and NE all posted their best seasons ever here. The Quakes join the 2000 Wizards and the 1999 Galaxy as the only teams to allow fewer than a goal per game.

The 2001 Mutiny also hold the record for worst defensive team. They are also tied with Chivas for the worst goal differntial.


Scoring is down compared to the first few years, and that means that this year's Metros only rank 45th (tie), despite being 2005's leader in this category.

The 1998 Rapids and Galaxy are the top two teams, as games involving them averaged over 4 goals per.

The Rapids this season are 104th (tie). That's an improvement over last year's team, last by far: only 2.03 goals per game. That team was 109th in offense and 5th (tie) on defense.

The 2004 Wizards are the second to last.



Despite being the first team to go undefeated at home, the Quakes only rank 17th because of 7 draws. Who's the best team? It's the 2002 Quakes, who finished 12-1-1 for 2.64 APPG.

Only 17 of 110 teams have had a losing record at home.

NE had their best season, while CLB has their worst season.

Once again, the 2001 Mutiny rank last.



SJ is only behind the 1998 Galaxy and the 1999 DC United teams.

SJ and NE had their best years.

Only 19 teams have had winning records on the road.

RSL is officially the worst road team ever (0.13 APPG), way outpreforming the 1999 Wizards (0.38).

Thursday, October 20, 2005

MLS quarterfinals preview


The Metrostars have two guys who can change a game, Guevara and Djorkaeff. Both will need to be at the top of their game if they want to advance. New England shouldn't have too hard of a time. I don't expect a blowout but they are clearly the better team.

Prediction: NE 4:2 MET


The Fire are probably the hardest team to figure out. They have a lot of talent, but no superstars. In addition, due to injuries, callups, etc they rarely play with a consistant lineup, especially on defense. They might be as talented as DC, but DC plays better as a team and has a better head coach. Also DC relies on more experienced offensive players. DC's weapons, Gomez and Moreno, are less likely to have an off-game than Mapp and Rolfe. Should be the most fun series to watch.

Prediction: DC 4:3 CHI

SJ vs LA

The easiest series to predict, San Jose are the big favorites to win the whole thing and just won at the HDC last weekend. Donovan is the most talented player in the league, but he just doesn't have the supporting cast. LA does have a great record at home, but San Jose has an even better one. Because of those factors, they probably have a better chance against the Quakes than the other two Western playoff teams would, but it's still no contest.

Prediction: SJ 4:1 LA


Almost certain to have the fewest goals of the four series. Colorado has some weapons, but Dallas has more talent overall and should win. Dedi is a key guy here, he has looked very good and made a big impact already. Another factor is how much playing time Cunningham and Ruiz will get. The guy who really needs to step up for the Rapids is Kirovski, who seems to do less every year. I can see the Rapids winning the home leg and losing the second one and the series, just like last year.

Prediction: DAL 2:1 COL

I know, I did not pick any upsets; those teams were better in the regular season for a reason. But that is the smart thing to do. In the two years the new system has been in place, the two game aggregate series have produced fewer upsets:

Best 2/3: 71% (17 of 24 higher seeds advanced)
1st to 5: 72% (13 of 18 higher seeds advanced)
Aggregate: 88% (7 of 8 higher seeds advanced)

That includes all series which used those methods. If you want to include just the quarterfinals, the other two are both at 75%.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

MLS Best Goals 2005 (Compilation)

Check out my youtube videos, because these links may be expired!

Download here (29 mb, Rapidshare)

Four minutes of clips, featuring 44 of the best goals this MLS season. The song is "Long Hot Summer," by Girls Aloud. Check it out!

Some notes:

1) Jaime Moreno has four goals, the most of any player. Amado Guevara and Carlos Ruiz have three each.

2) I made sure each team had at least two goals. That's because after I got done originally, I realized I didn't have any KC Wizards goals, and I had to go back and add some.

3) Average length of a clip: about 5 seconds.

4) I would have included Dwayne DeRosario's free kick, but I finished doing this before last weekend. It was a lot of work, and I didn't feel like going back and changing it. Besides, I have a nice Brad Davis free kick in there already.

My previous compilations:

1) 2004 MLS Cup Playoffs

2) Happy Without You (SJ & Landon Donovan)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On the field, all the time (final)

One month from the last update, the MLS regular season is now over and no one else was eliminated. Five players played every minute of every game. They are Todd Dunivant (LA), Simon Elliot (CLB), Pat Onstad (SJ), Bo Oshoniyi (KC), and Michael Parkhurst (NE).

Five guys ties the record set in 2001. I thought the longer season plus the international games, as well as more teams missing the playoffs would mean that we would see fewer than the four last season make it, but I was wrong.

Personally, I'm surprised that Elliot ended up making it, despite Columbus playing several meaningless games at the end. The others weren't a big shock. Parkhurst did come out of nowhere, but midway through the season he seemed like a lock to make it, and he did.

We can now add these guys to the alltime list:

Played Every Minute

2005-Todd Dunivant, Simon Elliot, Pat Onstad, Bo Oshoniyi, Michael Parkhurst
2004-Joe Cannon, Jim Curtin, Richard Mulrooney, Steve Ralston
2003-Tony Meola
2002-Nick Rimando
2001-*Scott Garlick, Tim Howard, Steve Jolley, Zach Thornton, Kerry Zavagnin
2000-Joseph Addo, Nick Garcia, Scott Garlick, Peter Vermes
1999-Peter Vermes
1997-Mike Burns
1996-Preki, Steve Trittschuh

* Scott Garlick was traded from Tampa Bay to Colorado, and I believe he played every minute that he was available for between both teams.

Year End Attendance Analysis (part 2)

Part 1



Without the massive 88,000 doubleheader, they're only drawing in the 12k range. That's disappointing for sure, but with one of the worst teams in MLS history, that's pretty decent. And until August, they didn't have any star power. Next year should be much better for them, both on the field and attendance-wise. It looks like they'll also bring back the "double-classico," which could be a great yearly tradition (one that is also soccer related, unlike fireworks).



A slight dip despite the championship, as the Freddy factor has worn off. Each team has an extra home game this year to fit in the schedule, so that means an extra Wednesday home game for each team. So overall, that alone should've meant a slight dip in attendance. United is rock solid, so no worries here. They just need a stadium deal, since they have the fans already (although that's not the usual MLS approach).



The new stadium certainly helped things, but they faced an overloaded home schedule in the second half, as well as the lingering effects of Southlake. But the good thing is, they're set now. If they get 15,000, then they are in great shape. They should definitely improve this number by at least a thousand. Slow and steady growth is the mantra.



They got even better, posting the second highest average attendance ever. Only the 1996 Galaxy were better. The great thing about the Galaxy is that they're always kind of good; never outstanding, but not bad enough to turn off the fans. The Chivas games may have provided part of the boost from last year.



A better team, and a slighly better average. At least they're going in the right direction now. They were in danger of tying the MLS record for most seasons with a decrease (which Colorado tied this year). The fans have been there in the past, and I don't think this can get much worse. So this number should increase again next year.



Very good start for the less-heralded expansion team, second in the league. I don't know if they'll improve on this due to the newness factor wearing off, but they should be in the top half again for sure. Now just imagine if they had a good team.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Offense & Defense: 2005 vs 2004

I looked at this before, but now that the season's over we can fully analyze how teams compare to last season. This is a look at goals scored and allowed per game, as well as points per game. 2005 numbers are listed first. Overall this season, there were slightly more goals scored, up 0.16 per game.


PPG-1.53 vs 1.10
GF-1.53 vs 1.20
GA-1.56 vs 1.47

This season the offense has improved greatly, despite a lack of a consistant goalscorer. Rolfe, Jaqua, Herron, Reiter, Barrett-none of them has been productive on a regular basis. But this season they have Thiago and Ivan Guerrero setting them up, with an improved Justin Mapp. The defense is a mess; once again they have lacked a consistant lineup. That hurts you worse in defense.


PPG-1.41 vs 1.37
GF-1.25 vs 0.97
GA-1.16 vs 1.07

PPG virtually the same as last year, as they ended up in their usual average position. That's a little disappointing with the two expansion clubs in the same division. The defense and offense predictably got worse and better respectively, after the extreme lows last season. Cunningham is a nice addition, and they finally had a positive goal differential.


PPG-1.19 vs 1.63
GF-1.06 vs 1.33
GA-1.41 vs 1.07

The worst offensive decline and the 2nd worst defensive decline, it was definitely a year to forget in Ohio. They seemed to put it together at the end, but it was far too late. Andrulis predictably could not repeat last season's magic, and now next season a full year without him could see an improvement.


PPG-1.69 vs 1.40
GF-1.81 vs 1.43
GA-1.16 vs 1.40

Nelsen and Stewart (plus Eskandarian) were replaced, and yet the team improved greatly on both sides of the ball. They have gotten the most from little known talents like Boswell and Walker, plus a full season from Gomez. Nowak has kept the momentum going from the championship run last year.


PPG-1.50 vs 1.20
GF-1.63 vs 1.13
GA-1.38 vs 1.50

Ruiz and Johnson played half the time, but Dallas still managed to score a bunch of goals, posting the best offensive improvement of any team. Mina, Thompson, and Nunez provided the depth they previously lacked. The second half has seem them slip, so this offseason will be critical if they want to keep it up.


PPG-1.41 vs 1.63
GF-1.63 vs 1.27
GA-1.38 vs 1.00

It looks like it was easier for Gansler and company to win games with defense than offense. The worst defensive decline of any team. They were still in the middle of the pack, though. But down the stretch, the offense fell off, and their defense didn't help them out. Zero wins in the last eight games.


PPG-1.41 vs 1.43
GF-1.38 vs 1.40
GA-1.41 vs 1.33

Virtually identical to last year in all categories. That's not good enough in an expansion year. Donovan and Dunivant were great acquisitions, but were balanced out by Naldo, Pando, etc. The only team other than Columbus to decline offensively.


PPG-1.47 vs 1.33
GF-1.66 vs 1.57
GA-1.53 vs 1.63

Slightly improved on both offense and defense, they were good enough to make the playoffs in a tough race. Probably should've done even better if not for their tendancy to throw games away late. I don't how their defense got even slightly better, but it did. Although they did get rid of Kenny Arena...


PPG-1.84 vs 1.10
GF-1.72 vs 1.40
GA-1.16 vs 1.43

Most improved defense, and a similar jump on offense. The talent was always there, and now they're putting it to good use. Parkhurst has stepped right in and been huge.


PPG-2.00 vs 1.27
GF-1.66 vs 1.37
GA-0.97 vs 1.17

Just a great team. Two points per game is makes them the third best MLS team of all time, behind only the 1998 Galaxy and the 2001 Fusion. What can you say? Appropriately, they have the third best defense of all time as well. And they can score as well as anybody. I doubt they can equal this next year, so expect a decline, but what a season.





And now, the expansion teams. Almost mirror images, they were both incredibly horrible, among the worst in the league's history. Not much to say other than that. For next year, defense is the most important thing. That's probably a quicker route to respectability. Both should post big improvements, almost by default.


Offense-Biggest Improvement:

1. DAL-0.50
2. DC-0.38
3. KC-0.36

Offense-Biggest Decline:

1. CLB-0.27
2. LA-0.02
3. MET-positive 0.09

Defense-Biggest Improvement:

1. NE-0.27
2. DC-0.26
3. SJ-0.20

Defense-Biggest Decline:

1. KC-0.38
2. CLB-0.34
3. CHI-0.10

Sunday, October 16, 2005

BASA voting starts tonight, results next week

Introduction (August 16)

Update (October 1)


After the Chivas-Metrostars game ends (BTW, Metros need to finally beat an expansion team), I will email the 14 MLS bloggers on my blogroll with the ballot. It will be due back by the start of the first playoff game Friday (as these are regular season awards). I can't wait to see how the results compare to the real awards. This should be a lot of fun.

The only new award I've added since the last update is "Old Player of the Year." Sounds funny, but I already decided to have a Young Player award, so it makes sense. The Young Player award is for U-23 players, and the Old Player award will be for players 33 and over. Whatever age you are on July 1, that's what you count as for the season. So using this list, those eligible are Preki through Garlick for the Old Player award, and Eskandarian through Adu for the Young Player award.

I've decided to use MLB's scoring system of 5-3-1 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place votes. For the Player of the Year award, which will have five votes, the scoring will be 10-7-5-3-1. Also, the Best XI will be decided like this: Each ballot will name their top starting lineup, regardless of formation. For the field players, I will count how many times each player showed up, and those will be named to the Best XI(Any ties will be broken by their rankings on their position of the year awards).

I will announce the awards on this blog (and on Bigsoccer) on each weekday, for two weeks starting on October 24th. That way, hopefully the excitement will build (and it gives us more time to discuss it).

10/24-Goalkeeper of the Year
10/25-Coach of the Year
10/26-Rookie of the Year
10/27-Defender of the Year
10/28-Young Player of the Year

10/31-Midfielder of the Year
11/01-Old Player of the Year
11/02-Forward of the Year
11/03-Best XI
11/04-Player of the Year

Friday, October 14, 2005

Congratulations Rapids!

I almost forgot to mention this. I had previously talked about it, but now their regular season is over and it's official: Colorado finished with a positive goal differential for the first time ever (+3), with 40 goals scored and 37 allowed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Year End Attendance Analysis (part 1)

Half of the teams have finished their home schedule, and we can now take a look at how their seasons compare to last year. Expect part 2 sometime next week.



A slight increase from last year, and the third year overall with an increase (thanks to 2002/3 in Naperville). On the surface that looks good, but this is one of the most inflated numbers ever thanks to two big doubleheaders with USA-England and R.Madrid-Chivas. They were forced to play a ton of home games in the early part of the schedule, so the few games they had later in the season drew better. But overall, this year is meaningless, as they prepare for the move to Bridgeview next season. With the new stadium seating only 20,000, they should draw 17,000 for real next season.



A little bit down from last season. They had a big draw with Freddy Adu last season and not this year, but they just had a Mexican doubleheader last week to make up for that. Also, they had a ton of Wednesday games this year, as usual. The difference from last year probably comes from the fact that they have one more home game, so the July 4 effect is dragged down a bit. This marks the third year in a row of declining attendance, tying the league record with the 1997-99 Metrostars and the 1998-2000 Revolution. Expect one more year of lackluster attendance while they wait for Commerce City.



Ouch. This is the 8th worst decrease in league history, down 3,956 fans. Guess they should've fired Andrulis sooner, huh? They should rebound next season. Even with attendance down, they are still better off than the other five teams in this post because they are in a SSS. That's why having your own stadium is great. BTW, looks like the NHL being gone really didn't matter.



Only the 12th sub-10,000 season in league history; five of those are from the Wizards. Lamar's hard work got the team to draw well for a couple years, and he also helped undo that by putting the team up for sale. But there probably still would've been a decrease. Maybe not the 5th biggest decrease of all time, but the trend was going down. The good news is that if a stadium is built, everything is solved. You can worry about building the fan base later, like FC Dallas is doing. If they stay in KC, expect similar numbers next season.



Fans seem to be caring less about the team, if that's possible. The good news is that Harrison was finally completed, so like the Rapids, next season is pretty meaningless attendance-wise. I believe Lalas said they would be lowerering prices next season, so they shouldn't get any worse. The Colombia-England game gave a big boost, but they usually have a big doubleheader every year so that's nothing new.



Interesting that San Jose actually improves with the threat of relocation, while Kansas City got worse. They do actually have their games on tv, though. And it helps to have a great team. San Jose needs to draw early in the season, and then they could have really good numbers.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Costa Rica 3-0 USA

Can't say much about this one, because I stopped watching midway through and just looked up the result (like a lot of other people, apparently). Chris Albright needs to go, and maybe Eddie Pope as well. But it wasn't like we had a reserve team out there, like some people are saying. Almost all of our starting lineup could be in Germany:

Howard, Bocanegra, Pope, Onyewu, Albright, Mastroeni, Lewis, Beasley, Convey, Ching, Twellman

But there's no reason to get upset, as it was a meaningless game. Every team has a bad game once in a while. At the World Cup, we will be playing in front of a neutral crowd with a quality field, with the best referees in the world. In CONCACAF, we have to deal with bad fields, hostile crowds, and poor refs all the time. So we should play better in the World Cup, even if we have the exact same team.

Here is the squad for Panama:

G-Howard, Reis
D-Albright, Califf, Heaps, Marshall, Pope, Spector
M-Carroll, Clark, Dempsey, Hernandez, Mapp, Martino, Ralston
F-Ching, Quaranta, Twellman

Panama should be an easy game and a great chance to test some younger players. Since it's in New England, there are a lot of Revs. SJ is also well represented, as they have nothing to play for next Saturday. Against Costa Rica, the only starter I got wrong was Quaranta; Pope started instead as Bruce tinkered with the formation. Also interesting that Wade Barrett was dropped from the roster. Maybe he picked up a knock, or maybe Spector is due to start at LB and he's not needed.

Howard and Spector are the only Euros held over, and that means they are sure starters. I expect the guys who made the trip to Costa Rica to start. That means Albright, Califf, Pope, Spector, Clark, Martino, Quaranta, Ching, and Twellman. That leaves one spot in the midfield for Dempsey, at left midfield (I don't think Mapp will start without a cap), if Bruce goes with the 4-4-2. I think Marshall may start instead of Pope, but the others should get the nod. Quaranta could lose out to Ralston, but Q needs the experience more.

Howard, Spector, Califf, Marshall, Albright, Clark, Dempsey, Quaranta, Martino, Twellman, Ching

Should be a much easier time for the US (I really should've listened to history and picked a loss last week, but I just couldn't do it). They probably won't destroy them like last year in DC, but it should be a relatively comfortable win over an eliminated team.

Prediction: USA 2-0 Panama

Saturday, October 08, 2005

SJ, RSL streaks collide tonight

The stars may align tonight over Spartan Stadium, as the San Jose Earthquakes try to become the first team to finish the regular season unbeaten at home, and Real Salt Lake tries to avoid becoming the second team to finish winless on the road.

An RSL victory, as unlikely as that seems, would snap both streaks. And it is unlikely, but it seems that things are falling into place. World Cup qualifying means the Quakes lose 5 players; some of them probably because they have nothing to play for (and they are playing RSL). In addition, Eddie Robinson is suspended and Ronald Cerritos will miss out through injury. The starting forwards will be Roger Levesque and Julian Nash, who have zero career MLS starts between them. The midfield looks alright, but this will be a second-string Earthquakes team:

Onstad, Goldthwaite, Gray, Cochrane, Aloisi, O'Rouke, Chung, Mullan, DeRosario, Levesque, Nash

RSL will be missing Eddie Pope and a couple others, but this is a good chance for them to finish the season on a high note. Even Chivas won at Columbus last week. Clint Mathis has looked halfway decent in the last few games, and hopefully they'll start Jamie Watson. But their defense could look even worse. I don't expect it to happen, but still, this is a golden opportunity for them.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Happy Without You

Download here (Rapidshare)

This is the second video compilation I've made (the first), and it features the song of the same name by Annie. It stars Landon Donovan, and you can guess by that title what it's about. If you're a Quakes fan, you especially need to get this. Enjoy.

I think the Anniemal album is amazing, and I thought this song in particular would be great for a soundtrack or something. The Quakes' Landon-less season has been phenomenal, and being the soccer fan that I am, while listening to the song I thought about how it described their situation perfectly.

(I always think about how songs would fit into a soundtrack, whether it's movie or tv, or even my life. Just like how if I ever run for political office, I'm going to use Hulk Hogan's theme music.)

It takes a lot of work to do something like this, even though it's short. It's only 107 seconds long, but there are 35 individual clips, and it took at least two hours to put together. I'm also planning on doing one containing the best goals of the 2005 regular season, and thankfully I've done most of the work for that one already. So look out for that in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Costa Rica vs USA preview

G-Hartman, Howard
D-Albright, Barrett, Bocanegra, Califf, Lewis, Onyewu, Pope, Spector
M-Beasley, Clark, Convey, Martino, Mastroeni
F-Ching, Quaranta, Twellman

Not a lot of excitement over this one, as this game is meaningless for us. Costa Rica is almost certainly qualified regardless of what happens, as Guatemala needs to win in Mexico. There's still plenty to care about though, especially the roster dance for Germany 2006.

Howard is an obvious starter, as is the forward pairing of Ching and Twellman. And as always, if they aren't going to be used (especially now), then it was pointless to call the European guys in. Onyewu should start in the center with Bocanegra. I think Boca will start, since he didn't play in the last qualifiers, and he's been starting in the center for Fulham, so he should get a shot there against the Ticos. Pope will probably start the Panama game, with Califf or somebody (I'm guessing that most of the Euros will depart after this game like last time). Albright will almost certainly start on the right, and Lewis should get another chance to win the left back spot. Spector should get some playing time, but he may not start this game. Not sure where Bruce will play him either.

I really think Bruce will play the veterans in this game, and the youngsters against Panama. We already know a number of MLS players will be on that roster, who aren't on this one. This game, in a tough environment on the road, is a bigger challenge and also exemplifies the pressure the World Cup will put on the team. So that's why the guys who will make the roster should start this one. Mastroeni will start over Clark. Beasley and Convey will start in the midfield, and Convey will likely run the show in LD's role with Quaranta on the right. Martino has not done much in MLS and doesn't seem likely to get the call to start.

It's also possible that Lewis could start in midfield, freeing up a spot for Spector at LB and probably pushing Beasley to the right side. That would be interesting, but I'm not going to predict that:

Howard, Lewis, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Albright, Mastroeni, Beasley, Quaranta, Convey, Ching, Twellman

Out of those players, the forwards have the most to prove. Once again, Twellman needs to step up and score a goal or two. He won't get chances forever. He's having an MVP-calibre season, so he should be an international star. Ching was an unlikely guy to call up originally, but he's played well for the US. He's not guaranteed a World Cup place, so he needs to play well, but Twellman has more pressure. Albright and Quaranta need to step up and show they can preform in the big games. Last month, Albright played well against Guatemala and Quaranta did not.

The other guys are pretty much set, but they need the experience. You don't get many chances to play big international games. Costa Rica has more to play for, but we have played much better in qualifying. This has all the makings of another draw. Oh, and it will be played on the (in?)famous fieldturf at Saprissa. We haven't allowed a goal in a while in qualifying, but Costa Rica usually plays us tough.

Prediction: Costa Rica 1-1 USA

Monday, October 03, 2005

MPF 2005: A Diagnosis

Why are the Metrostars on the verge of missing the playoffs? They simply haven't got the job done against expansion teams, the only team without a win against RSL and Chivas (three draws in three games). The season opener against RSL was understandable, in the monsoon-like conditions. But the second was not. Away to RSL (on July 4), they gave away a 2 goal lead in the second half and settled for a draw. Then, they had the bad timing to be the first team to go up against Chivas with their reinforcements, and were lucky to get a point.

Currently, they are 3 points behind KC, with a game in hand. But they need the Wizards to drop points, since they'll lose on the second tiebreaker (goal differential). With away games in Chicago and DC, and playing on Sunday after the Saturday matches, the Metros last game might be meaningless. But if it isn't, they have a chance to either continue the trend or stop it at Chivas on the 16th.

Current standings


Points against expansion teams


Points against non-expansion teams


Saturday, October 01, 2005

The BASAs are coming


About time for an update on this. The Blogosphere American Soccer Awards are about to be voted on, and I have some more info and clarifications:

1. The rules I set up are good, but I'm going to include only blogs that deal with MLS on a regular basis, not all that deal with American soccer. Since these are MLS awards, that seems like a good policy.

2. I am collecting the email addresses of my blogroll, and I will email those bloggers right after the final regular season game ends (Metrostars-Chivas USA, Sunday 10/16). They will name their top three choices for the following awards:

Coach of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Goalkeeper of the Year
Defender of the Year
Midfielder of the Year
Forward of the Year
Young Player of the Year (see below)
Player of the Year (top 5 choices)

Each blogger will also name a Best XI, with whatever formation they want (real ones only, please).

Points will be tallied to determine the winners. I'm probably going to do a 3-2-1 scoring system. I could do the baseball system of 5-3-1. Undecided about that.

3. Young player of the year. They always do this for the Premiership, and I thought it would be interesting to do for MLS. It is for the best U23 player. I think in the EPL, as long as you're U23 at the beginning of the season, then you're eligible. What I'm going to do is use a cutoff point. In baseball, the universal cutoff date is July 1. Whatever age you are on that date is the age you count as for the entire season. I think that's a good date for MLS as well, about halfway through. So the eligible MLS players for this award are all born after 7/1/82 (list).

4. If there are any other blogs I should be including, or any other suggestions you have, now's the time to let me know. Either comment here, or email me ( This should be a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to it!

Two weeks

That's right, only 15 days until the end of the MLS regular season. It's kind of a slow time for blogging, because I have a bunch of season-recapping stuff I want to post, and I can't until it's over. Such as a comparsion of offenses and defenses from last year to this year, which I posted about mid-season here. Also, I will show exactly how this year's teams rank historically among MLS' alltime best and worst. And of course, I will update my lineup database and put it up for download (That one won't be until the playoffs are over though).

Next week, World Cup qualifying resumes, so I can blog about that. So this next few days may be quiet, but I have plenty of quality stuff to post in the next month.

And I haven't forgot about the BASA's (see above post).