Monday, November 28, 2005

Three (more stats)

It's part two, where I will look at the top ten MLS streaks of not allowing three goals. In part one, I looked at the teams who could not score three goals. It seems like it's easier to not allow the three goals rather than the other way around, at least for a long time. While there were more streaks of not scoring three goals, the streaks here are much longer.

Most League Games Without Allowing 3 Goals

10) 1999-00 Tampa Bay Mutiny: 21 games (9-7-5).

14/7 split. The Mutiny may have gone out with a wimper, as their 2001 team was the worst in MLS history. But they were pretty good before that. In the first five years of the league, they had the third best record out of the ten original teams. They just couldn't get it done in the playoffs. The 1999 teams wasn't very good, but they were better in the second half and still made the playoffs. The 2000 season was very good for them, until another playoff failure. Damn, too bad they were contracted, or MPF would have a double meaning.

8t) 1996-97 Columbus Crew: 22 games (12-5-5).

13/9 split. After three appearances on the previous list, at least they make it once here. The Crew started off their first season badly, but recovered and were on fire down the stretch. They fired their coach and hired Tom Fitzgerald, and Brad Friedel took over in goal, and also Brian Maisonneuve cracked the starting lineup.

8t) 1996-97 D.C. United: 22 games (15-2-5).

8/14 split. DC came together at the end of the year and started their dominance of the league. During this stretch, Jaime Moreno and Eddie Pope began starting full time. 1997 saw Carlos Llamosa join the backline. The streak ended with a bang, a 1-6 defeat in Kansas City.

7) 2005 New England Revolution: 23 games (13-5-5).

The streak began after the 4-3 win in DC, and lasted until the 4-5 loss against the Metros. I think that this year's Revs team will go down as one of the best team not to win the MLS Cup. The defense wasn't looking solid going into the year, but Michael Parkhurst had a great rookie year, and they finished with their best defensive season ever. It was their offense that killed them in the playoffs.

6) 1996-97 Dallas Burn: 24 games (10-8-6).

13/11 split. Now this is a case of why this statistic may not be the greatest. Yes, the Burn might have been able to prevent big games, but they still allowed a bunch of goals. Out of the 24 games, they allowed 2 goals half the time, including 6 games in a row at one point. It seems fitting that this franchise would be in that position, since they have a history of being good but not great.

4t) 2004-05 San Jose Earthquakes: 25 games (8-8-9).

24/1 split. In the past five years, the Earthquakes have the best record in the league by far, and two championships to go with it. 2004 was definitely their worst year, so it's interesting to see that team here as an example of great defense. But it turns out that team is the 15th best in MLS history defensively. Actually, the past five Earthquakes teams all are in the top 22. The difference was that the 2004 team was worse offensively. It looks like they really needed the shakeup last year.

4t) 2005-?? Kansas City Wizards: 25 games (9-7-9).

The Wizards did have a better record than the Galaxy this season, despite missing the playoffs. I don't know if they're a great defensive team either, but they definitely are in every game. They simply don't get blown out, with only two losses by goals this season. They take this streak into next season (as well as an 8 game winless streak), but I don't think they'll be able to match the top three, especially if Jimmy Conrad goes to Germany.

2t) 1998-99 Los Angeles Galaxy: 33 games (17-8-8).

3/30 split. The 1998 Galaxy were known for being a great offensive team. In fact, they were the best offensive team in MLS history. They followed that up in 1999 by being the best defensive team in MLS history. The players were basically the same, so I guess it boils down to the different styles of Octavio Zambrano and Sigi Schmid. Zambrano followed up in 2000 leading the Metrostars a great offensive year.

2t) 2001-02 San Jose Earthquakes: 33 games (18-11-4).

10/23 split. The Earthquakes have been great defensively in recent times, like I mentioned above. The end of this streak coincided perfectly with the bad run at the end of 2002, ruining what looked like another great year. Including the playoffs, they only won 1 out of 7 games starting with a 0-3 loss in Colorado. Agoos and Dayak made the team strong on defense, while Conrad also started a bunch of games.

1) 2002-04 Los Angeles Galaxy: 45 games (19-14-12).

7/30/8 split. Yes, Sigi Schmid appears to be very good at organizing his teams defensively. If this is any indication, the Crew should be improved in that area next season. The 2002 Galaxy were good, while the 2004 team started out great. But the 2003 Galaxy team was not great by any means, so it's interesting to see them as part of the record streak (by far). The defense on that team was good, but the offense was the 10th worst in league history. So their games did not see a lot of goals from either side, 3rd worst in that category (only the 2004 Wizards and Rapids teams are behind them). They were starting guys like Serna, Chacon, and Glinton alongside Ruiz at different points. But the defensive remained solid with Califf and Marshall, although it failed them when they needed it most.

Three (goal stats)

Scoring three goals in a game seems to be the point where you're having a great offensive game. Likewise, allowing three goals means you're having a defensive nightmare. In MLS, with an alltime goals per game average of 3.10, you're going to score and allow about 1.5 goals per game. So reaching the three goal mark on either side is a special occasion. In the 2005 MLS regular season, there were 192 games. There are two teams in each game, so out of 384 opportunities, a team scored three goals 67 times. That's 17.4%, or 1 out of 6. It's not the norm, but definitely not too crazy.

But, when you start racking up the games without either scoring or allowing three goals, it's the sign of a pathetic or great team. I used my MLS Lineup Database to find all the streaks of 15 games or more for each of those categories (regular season only). There were 32 such streaks without scoring three goals, and 26 for not allowing three goals. Let's take a look at the top ten in the first category (the other to come later on):

(The longest current streak is Chicago, 15 games)

Most League Games Without Scoring 3 Goals

9t) 2000 Los Angeles Galaxy: 19 games (7-5-7).

This was definitely not a pathetic team. But it wasn't as good as the past two seasons, nor as good as the 2001 edition. It was the first full year of Sigi Schmid, and also the year of Luis Hernandez (aka Don Garber's biggest mistake) coming to MLS. He arrived in the middle of this streak. They did well during the streak though, because for the majority of it they were also in the midst of the 11th best streak of not allowing 3 goals (20 games).

9t) 2004-05 Los Angeles Galaxy: 19 games (5-7-7).

This encompasses the last 10 games of Sigi's tenure, and the first 9 of Steve Sampson. They beat RSL 3-1 in the second game this year to end it. Obviously Sampson isn't an offensive genius, because he had another 18 game streak this season. But he likes to play things tight. And also Jovan Kirovski was there. He played 16 games out of the 19, scoring only 3 times.

6t) 1996-97 Colorado Rapids: 20 games (4-12-4).

That record, like almost all that I use on this site, counts shootouts as draws. The last 7 games of 1996, where they failed to make the playoffs, began this streak, and the first 13 of 1997, where they made the MLS Cup (unbelievably), ended it. Roy Wegerle did not produce, while the team's other weapons like Wolde Harris, Shaun Bartlett, and Paul Bravo were not scoring goals. They were getting goals from other places, though, and were better during the 1997 portion.

6t) 1997 Columbus Crew: 20 games (6-10-4).

The 1997 Crew got to the Conference finals, but were not a good team. As usual, Brian Mcbride was injured, only playing 6 of the 20 games. Sadly, A.J. Wood could not pick up the slack. Next season would be a different story with Jeff Cunningham and Stern John.

6t) 1999-00 Columbus Crew: 20 games (7-9-4).

They had all the guys they needed during this run: Cunningham, John, McBride, Washington. But I guess they lost the crushing offense that they had during most of 1999 somehow. They were still pretty decent, scoring twice 9 times out of 20.

5) 2005 Columbus Crew: 22 games (7-12-3).

Otherwise known as Andrulis' last stand. During the long unbeaten run in 2004, the Crew were not blowing teams out, but rather grinding out the points. So when they started 2005 with an impressive 3-0 win over the Galaxy, it seemed like they were back with a vengaence. But then came the Ante Razov bickering, Jon Busch's injury, and generally a season from hell. Andrulis was fired after the 15th game of the streak, which was broken finally with another 3-0 win, over Chivas USA. Wow, being a Crew fan is fun! I'm not, thankfully. I could imagine though...that is, if I wanted to torture myself.

4) 1999-00 Metrostars: 23 games (2-17-4).

Only the final game was in 2000. The 1999 Metros were beyond awful, as any supporter will tell you. At least Tim Howard made his debut got his first real experience during this time, starting 8 games (he actually made his debut in 1998).

2t) 1996 New England: 25 games (6-11-8).

And now we have the other team to miss the playoffs from the first season. This is the first 25 games in Revs history. Joe-Max Moore made his debut in the second half of the season, and promptly went on a scoring tear. They finally broke the streak with a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay, and there would be another 16 games without 3 goals after that. It's not like they couldn't score, but they just didn't do it in bunches. That's the case for most of these teams. The 1999 Metrostars were the only really pathetic bunch.

2t) 2003-04 D.C. United: 25 games (8-10-7).

Last 13 of 2004, first 12 of 2005. Basically, this was the time before the emergence of Alecko Eskandarian. Stoitchkov, Cerritos, Martins, and Adu all could not get the job done. Meanwhile, Jaime Moreno could not do it all by himself.

1) 1999-00 Colorado Rapids: 27 games (11-11-5).

The team with the second longest scoreless streak has the record for futility here. They actually were winning a lot of games before that happened. But they just shut down and tanked the 1999 season. They lost to San Jose 3-4 on June 3, 1999, and the last 22 games of 1999 and the first 5 of 2000 followed before a 3-2 win over Columbus on April 22, 2000. That was the game with the Balboa bicycle kick.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

World Cup Draw: Who do we want?

Besides the World Cup tournament itself, perhaps the most exciting day in international soccer is the draw. Finally, teams will learn their opponents, and fans will have six months to argue over the possibilities. It's more than that though; it's the first real sign that the tournament is just around the corner. Three and a half years have gone by, and six months is nothing by comparison.

This year's draw is scheduled for December 9th in Leipzig, Germany, and it's actually on English television this time (espn2). It seems pretty obvious that there will be fewer upsets this time. In 2002, the tournament was played earlier than usual to avoid the rainy season, and those who plied their trade in Europe had little recovery time. Also, the European teams will feel much more comfortable in Germany. And when you look at two fields of 32, this time the teams from the "lesser" confederations are much weaker as a whole. The problem with that is, it probably won't benefit the USA. That's because CONCACAF is usually grouped with CAF (Africa) in the pots for the draw, and we (likely) won't be able to feast on a weakling like Togo or Angola. Or Trinidad.

Nevertheless, there are still teams that you to face and teams you want to avoid. I'm going to take a look at the "pots" and see what would be the most favorable draw from our perspective.

Pot 1 (seeded teams)


I am not going to even get in a discussion about FIFA possibly changing the formula for seeding. This is what it should be. I doubt they'll change the pots, but we have no way of knowing until right before the draw.

Mexico is the obvious weakest link, but we can't face another CONCACAF team. You never want to face the hosts either. Out of these teams, I would prefer to face Spain. They struggled in qualifying, and have a history of World Cup disappointment. I guess my second choice would be England, followed by France/Italy. No easy games here.

There's also the school of thought that maybe you want the best team in your group, so that they can defeat the other two teams. Brazil would be that team, and then you would have to only worry about two games. But I think that only works if you get to play them last, when (presumably) they have already sealed a place in the knockout rounds. I'll still take Spain, though.

Pot 2 (UEFA)

Czech Republic
Serbia & Montenegro

There is a slight chance of facing two of these teams, which would involve us also drawing Brazil or Argentina. Only one group will get two from this pot, and only three groups (ARG, BRA, MEX) are eligible. That's the nightmare scenario. Our odds of getting that are a little less because we can't face Mexico.

It's easier to determine the teams you don't want to face, and the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden are at the top of everyone's list. The rest are at least manageable. Of the remaining five teams, I would not want to face Serbia. They have a good history at this event, and played very well in qualifying. I would pick Switzerland. They are always decent, but don't seem very threatening. They only beat Cyprus and the Faroe Islands from their group. That's definitely my preferred choice here.

The other three teams would be considered a good draw as well. Croatia is always solid, but they lost to Mexico last time and aren't an elite team. Poland is one of the lesser Euros as well, and I know we lost to them last time, but I don't think it would happen again. We're familiar with them, and we beat them in Poland in a friendly. I know the Ukraine have Shevchenko. But they never impressed until now, and they remind me a lot of Poland last time: An Eastern European team who breezes through qualifying on the back of a great striker. But they are not a great offensive team, as they have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net against good teams. I really do not think they will advance from their group, and I wouldn't mind facing them. But I still like Switzerland


Costa Rica
Cote d'Ivoire
Trinidad & Tobago
United States

We can't face any of these teams, but it should be nice too. Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire should be decent, and maybe Tunisia too. Angola and Togo will be in for some big hurt. Actually, I think Ghana has the best chance, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them advance. But none of them will be favored to do that. So if the pots were changed, it would really help us.


Saudi Arabia
South Korea

I don't want to face Australia. I just think Gus Hiddink is capable of virtually anything, and Australia have a lot of decent guys playing in Europe. They're my darkhorse pick to make a big impact. It's also preferable to face an Asian team instead of a South American one. Not that the two CONMEBOL reps here are super tough, but they are more capable of doing well than the Asians.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are our best bets. The latter can't be worse than last time, but they're still not very good. Iran was lucky to beat us in 1998, and we're much better now. I'll take Saudi Arabia.

Best Case Scenario

Well, here it is:

United States
Saudi Arabia

Less specifically:

United States
Saudi Arabia/Iran

There are no easy games in the World Cup, because every team is decent. But some teams are better than others, and I feel this would give us a great chance of making the next round. Of course, the worst case scenario is Brazil/Netherlands/Portugal (or Czech Republic) as has been pointed on the boards over and over. The draw can break your team. I would say make, but it doesn't do that very much. Either way, I can't wait. Only two more weeks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Arsenal of MLS...

That would be the Columbus Crew, who like the Gunners, hold the record for most league games without a loss. Which is probably the only similarity between the two. I'm only counting regular season games for this, and while the Crew's 19 games undefeated may fall way behind Arsenal's 49, it's still tops in MLS.

Like always, I count games that ended in shootouts as draws. The Galaxy did not lose in their first 12 games in league history, but were surpassed by DC United in 1997, who had a 16 game streak that spanned two seasons. That was the record until the Crew started their run last year.

So who is the Sunderland (was their streak the record?) of MLS? No surprise here, it's the Metrostars. Their winless run also comes out to 19 games, during their hapless 1999 campaign. The Crew originally set that record in 1996 at 13 games.

We could have some new record holders next year, though. San Jose and RSL both carry long streaks into 2006. The Quakes have gone 14 games without a loss, and RSL has gone 12 games without a win. That's 5 and 7 games away respectively. Of course, if the Quakes are playing in Houston, the Cleveland Browns scenario could come into play, where they would start fresh as a "new" team like the Baltimore Ravens, and then it wouldn't count.

Here's a list of the top streaks in MLS league (regular season) play:


19-CLB 07/03/04-04/02/05
16-DC 09/17/96-06/14/97
15-LA 09/07/97-05/17/98
14-SJ 07/20/05-current
12-LA 04/13/96-06/26/96
12-COL 09/16/98-05/27/99
12-DAL 03/20/99-06/05/99
12-LA 10/09/99-05/20/00
12-KC 03/25/00-05/27/00
12-MIA 04/21/01-07/04/01
12-SJ 04/28/01-07/04/01
12-NE 10/16/04-06/11/05
11-CHI 05/16/98-07/04/98
11-DC 07/25/99-09/25/99
10-DC 07/02/98-08/29/98


19-MET 05/22/99-09/05/99
13-CLB 05/15/96-07/20/96
12-RSL 08/10/05-current
11-SJ 03/20/99-05/27/99
11-CHV 05/14/05-07/02/05
10-MIA 05/16/98-07/18/98
10-KC 09/17/98-04/28/99
10-NE 07/11/99-09/04/99
10-TB 04/28/01-06/16/00
10-DC 07/04/02-08/25/02
10-SJ 09/08/04-04/16/05
10-RSL 05/21/05-07/16/05
10-DAL 07/02/05-09/10/05

Monday, November 21, 2005

MLS Lineup Database

Download Here

Here it is, finally. I put a lot of work into this. There are 16 files, one for each team, plus overall stats and notes. It contains the results, lineups, and goalscorers for every official game that every MLS team has played in. Plus, stats on the total number of appearances (sorted into starts/subs) and goals for each player. And there's the overall records for each team. Just a ton of info that any hardcore MLS fan needs. Check it out.

EDIT: This is Version 1.1 (12/02/05), which fixes a couple of mistakes.

EDIT2: A couple more small things have been fixed (3/27/06).

EDIT3: Uploaded it again due to another small mistake, see comments. I've been doing that every time I notice something wrong (4/17/06).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Team strike rate leaders (part 3 of 3)

Part 1
Part 2


1 John Spencer 0.43 43
2 Jorge Dely Valdes 0.31 19
3 Paul Bravo 0.30 46
4 Jean Phillippe Peguero 0.30 15
5 Mark Chung 0.28 27
6 Wolde Harris 0.26 28
7 Chris Carrieri 0.25 20
8 Chris Henderson 0.18 37
9 Ross Paule 0.15 19
10 Marcelo Balboa 0.15 25

Spencer is a Rapids legend. Still, that's the lowest rate for any team leader. Also, they join the Wizards as the only teams with one player at 0.40 goals per game. The good news is that Peguero was a nice find, and along with Cunningham they have a decent attack now.


Rate Goals
1 Ariel Graziani 0.51 36
2 Damian 0.45 18
3 Jason Kreis 0.34 98
4 Dante Washington 0.30 32
5 Eddie Johnson 0.29 28
6 Gerrell Elliot 0.25 20
7 Ronnie O'Brien 0.17 15
8 Bobby Rhine 0.14 26
9 Jorge Rodriguez 0.14 27
10 Chad Deering 0.11 19

If Ruiz had one more goal, he would be at the top of this list. He's currently at 0.58 for his one season in Dallas. GAM has had a ton of sub appearances, so he would be better off under total minutes. Looks like Washington did slightly better with the Crew (0.38).


1 Carlos Ruiz 0.73 68
2 Landon Donovan 0.62 18
3 Eduardo Hurtado 0.61 37
4 Herculez Gomez 0.58 18
5 Carlos Hermosillo 0.42 19
6 Welton 0.40 31
7 Luis Hernandez 0.36 15
8 Clint Mathis 0.24 18
9 Cobi Jones 0.22 74
10 Harut Karapetyan 0.22 18

The Galaxy had 15 guys with 15 goals, more than any other team. Most had around 10 or 11. Ruiz had a brilliant 2002, with 35 goals in 36 games (much like Lassiter in 1996, 34 in 36). Taking penalties helps, too. Gomez really had a gareat year, as he cleaned up in the Open Cup. Hernandez was not a bad player, but he didn't come close to justifying his transfer fee ($4 million).


1 Ariel Graziani 0.44 16
2 Brian Ching 0.41 28
3 Ronald Cerritos 0.40 66
4 Landon Donovan 0.39 45
5 Lawrence Lozzano 0.37 16
6 Eric Wynalda 0.34 21
7 Dwayne DeRosario 0.24 33
8 Manny Lagos 0.21 21
9 Jeff Baicher 0.20 22
10 Brian Mullan 0.15 15

So, Graziani is #1 for two teams. The league never should've loaned him back to Ecuador. Classy player. Lagos fares suprisingly well here. Those were some great teams though. Interesting to see Lozzano ahead of Wynalda.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Team strike rate leaders (part 2 of 3)

See yesterday's post for an explanation.


1 Clint Mathis 0.48 39
2 Antony De Avila 0.46 17
3 Giovanni Savarese 0.46 44
4 Rodrigo Faria 0.45 25
5 Adolfo Valencia 0.45 29
6 Amado Guevara 0.35 30
7 Alex Comas 0.34 16
8 Eduardo Hurtado 0.31 19
9 John Wolyniec 0.26 20
10 Eddie Gaven 0.20 16

There are no ties here, I just only show 2 decimal places. Mathis dropped off after the injury in 2001, but remains on top here. The Metros have a lot of guys who were brilliant for a short time, like Valencia. They haven't had a forward who has been solid for a more than a year or two, though, except for Savarese. That was part of the problem for them this year as well.


Rate Goals
1 Taylor Twellman 0.60 70
2 Raul Diaz Arce 0.56 18
3 Joe-Max Moore 0.42 43
4 Pat Noonan 0.37 34
5 Clint Dempsey 0.31 18
6 Wolde Harris 0.28 30
7 Imad Baba 0.21 23
8 Steve Ralston 0.17 21
9 Ted Chronopoulos 0.10 16

Twellman has been simply awesome since he joined the league. Moore would be slightly higher if he hadn't come back. Interesting but useless fact: Moore's first go around in NE was virtually the same strike rate as Mathis in NY: 39 goals/80 games vs 39 goals/81 games. They also had exactly 79 starts apiece.


Rate Goals
1 Alex Pineda Chacon 0.63 20
2 Diego Serna 0.51 59
3 Welton 0.35 18

Chacon had the one great year, but Serna is more noteworthy. Four years of great production.


Rate Goals
1 Mamadou Diallo 0.71 39
2 Roy Lassiter 0.63 44
3 Musa Shannon 0.40 22
4 Steve Ralston 0.18 35

I miss Big Mama, even though he was a huge jackass. Villains are fun, especially when they are talented. Ralston scores at virtually the exact same rate as in New England.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Team strike rate leaders (part 1 of 3)

I already did leading goalscorer timelines for all 14 MLS teams, and now I'm taking a look at which players had the best strike rates. This is determined by simply taking the number of goals per game that the player scored, over all competitions and including both starts and sub appearances.

It would be better to go by total minutes played, but I don't have those stats. That's a lot more work, so maybe in a future edition of the lineup database.

I have yet to add all the stats together to form an "overall" list, so that'll be something to look forward to in the near future. So these only include the goals/games the player was involved in for that club, obviously. Only players who have scored 15 goals for their club are included here. These lists are top ten, unless the team had fewer than ten players with 15 goals.


Rate Goals
1 Ante Razov 0.48 95
2 Damani Ralph 0.42 28
3 Josh Wolff 0.37 39
4 Hristo Stoitchkov 0.34 24
5 Dema Kovalenko 0.27 34
6 Roman Kosecki 0.26 15
7 Lubos Kubik 0.22 19
8 Peter Nowak 0.20 29
9 DaMarcus Beasley 0.13 18
10 Jesse Marsch 0.09 23

Razov is one of the premier players in MLS history, and I'm not just saying that as a Fire fan. He really doesn't get the credit he deserves. You can also see why Ralph got a big transfer fee. Although, he came off the bench much less frequently than the next two guys. Also interesting to see Kovalenko, who benefited from those great 2000/2001 teams. Finally, Eric Wynalda had a great single season in Chicago, and would definitely be on this list if he had scored twice more.


Rate Goals
1 Stern John 0.79 55
2 Edson Buddle 0.42 52
3 Brian McBride 0.40 79
4 Dante Washington 0.38 33
5 Jeff Cunningham 0.32 71
6 John Wilmar Perez 0.18 16
7 Jason Farrell 0.13 16
8 Brian West 0.13 21
9 Brian Maisonneuve 0.12 25
10 Robert Warzycha 0.12 22

I don't know if anyone can match John's production, maybe if they only have one great season. He had a great two years, but also benefited from the small confines of Ohio Stadium. McBride had some lean years, but a lot of that was due to (many, many) injuries. I know a lot of people like to talk up Buddle for the national team, so here's more fuel for that fire. Ranks better than both McBride and Cunningham.


1 Raul Diaz Arce 0.69 61
2 Roy Lassiter 0.57 49
3 Abdul Thompson Conteh 0.51 20
4 Steve Rammel 0.45 19
5 Jaime Moreno 0.44 116
6 Christian Gomez 0.39 21
7 Alecko Eskandarian 0.25 18
8 Tony Sanneh 0.21 21
9 A.J. Wood 0.20 18
10 Santino Quaranta 0.19 15

The longer you play, the less chance you have of being tops on these rankings. Moreno is definitely a better player than Conteh, but Conteh had one great season. It's still interesting to look at, though. Gomez obviously has been great in his two years in the league. Diaz Arce and Lassiter both came back to DC, Diaz Arce more succesfully, which gives him the edge at the top. Etcheverry just misses out.


Rate Goals
1 Miklos Molnar 0.71 17
2 Josh Wolff 0.34 25
3 Igor Simutenkov 0.32 20
4 Preki 0.32 81
5 Vitalis Takawira 0.28 31
6 Davy Arnaud 0.24 24
7 Mark Chung 0.20 21
8 Mo Johnston 0.19 32
9 Chris Klein 0.18 43
10 Chris Brown 0.14 21

No surprise here. Molnar had an amazing year, including playing in Euro 2000 and scoring the winning goal in the MLS Cup. Wolff produces at almost exactly the same clip in KC as in Chicago. You can see that he doesn't quite reach the level of a Razov, Buddle, or Moreno, but I think his other attributes make up for it. Simutenkov was underrated. Johnston does not do too well here, but he played on some awful teams. But almost all the forwards on these lists are pretty good, because the truly bad ones are dumped.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

MLSnet errors

While doing all the work for the lineup database, I've made sure to doublecheck the stats. I don't worry about the starters, because I figure that they got those right. But what I do is check the total number of substitute appearances for each team in each season, then I count the number of total subs in the lineups. If they don't match, I have to go through and figure out where the discrepancy is. It's happened a number of times. For your amusement, and for any fellow stat guys out there, here's a list of MLSnet mistakes:

1) First of all, the entire 2001 season is messed up. You can't view any of those match reports. That's just inexcusable. Thankfully though, there's Internet Archive.

2) 1996: Andrew Restrepo missing from season stats page.
3) 1997: Cle Kooiman missing from playoff stats page.
4) 1998: Alberto Montoya missing from season stats page.
5) 1998: Joey Martinez missing from playoff stats page.
6) 1999: David Winner and Caleb Porter missing from season stats page.
7) 2000: Josh Wolff appearance missing from playoff stats page.

8) 3/28/98: Welling Sanchez sub appearance missing for Metrostars.
9) 4/29/98: Mo Johnston sub appearance missing for Kansas City.
10) 5/01/99: Zak Ibsen sub appearance missing for Los Angeles (pretty sure the date is correct, but not 100%).
11) 9/12/99: Andy Williams sub appearance missing for Columbus.
12) 9/19/99: Jim Rooney sub appearance missing for Miami.
13) 8/25/01: Colorado own goal later credited to Chris Carrieri.
14) 5/10/03: Tim Regan sub appearance missing for Metrostars.
15) 7/12/03: Joselito Vaca sub appearance missing from Dallas.
16) 8/16/03: Tyrone Marshall sub appearance missing for Los Angeles
17) 8/30/03: Pat Noonan sub appearance missing for New England.
18) 8/30/03: C.J. Brown sub appearance missing for Chicago.
19) 7/10/04: All subs missing for Columbus & Dallas.
20) 4/30/05: Gilberto Flores sub appearance missing for Metrostars.
21) 6/19/05: Matt Taylor sub appearance missing for Chivas USA.
22) 7/16/05: Mike Magee and Abbe Ibrahim sub appearances missing for Metrostars.
23) 9/24/05: Ian Russell sub appearance missing for San Jose.

I know they don't have a huge budget, but this is unacceptable. I'm going to email them this list, so let's see if anything gets fixed.

EDIT: Oh, and I also forgot to mention there are a number of broken links in the old match reports.

EDIT 2: Looks like I found a few more. I should mention that for the more recent games, you can usually find the sub in the matchtracker/pbp. They just don't show up in the match reports.

Also, the lineups for the US Open Cup games often times aren't on the match reports on MLSnet. I get those from

24) 4/23/05: Ned Grabavoy sub missing for Los Angeles.
25) 5/8/05: Michael Umana sub missing for Los Angeles.

EDIT 3: Should be the last edit, because I'm done with all the teams now.

26) 5/8/05: Alain Nkong sub missing for Colorado.
27) 7/16/05: Hunter Freeman and Guy Melamed subs missing for Colorado.
28) 9/3/05: James Riley sub missing for New England.
29) 9/24/04: Kenny Arena sub missing for Metrostars.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Next Monday...

...Is when I will finally release the MLS Lineup Database that I've been talking about for so long. Now that the season is over, I'm adding this year's matches in, and I have half the league left to do. Actually, I'll probably be done by the weekend, but I notice that this site gets more hits on weekdays, so I'll just wait until then. I'll be so glad to finally finish this. There's an excel file for all of the 14 MLS teams, and each has every competitive match with goalscorers and the lineup. And, I have a list of stats for each team to show the number of games played for each player (starts and sub appearances), sorted by year and overall. Just think of how many hours I've sat at the computer typing all this stuff in...It must be like two whole days of this year. It's cool, I would've wasted it anyway.

Here's some screenshots:

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Revs crack under pressure YET AGAIN; Nicol now 0-7 in extra time

The Revs are only the third team to make it to the "final four" in four consecutive years, but also the first with no titles to show for it. What's funny is that each loss has been heartbreaking. Out of the last four years, three times they've lost in extra time, and once on penalties.

During Nicol's tenure, they've also competed in the Open Cup three times. The results? They were eliminated twice in extra time, and once on penalties.

So that's 7 cup games that have gone to extra time, and 7 defeats. Shockingly bad. You have to wonder after this many times, if Nicol's coaching has something to do with it. In only one of those 7 games did the Revs score first.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Brian Ching cannot play defense

1) Today he was at fault from the goal.

2) Stupid-ass handball against Panama last month to give away a penalty.

3) Last year in the playoffs, 2nd leg against the Wizards, tried to mark Conrad but scored an own goal.

Didn't get a chance to see the game today, but it sounds like the usual friendly fare: some interesting stuff, but nothing special. At least the young guys got experience, and I got my prediction right.

MLS Cup 10: Revolution vs Galaxy

Only the second MLS Cup rematch (DC-LA the other), this game is also notable for featuring two teams at the opposite ends of the table. Very rarely in the ten year history of MLS have we seen a championship match where one team was obviously better than the other. The last time was in 2002, where the Revs got there despite a losing record. Now, the tables are turned. New England has been consistantly good all season, and they should win this game. But also like 2002, the other team has something in their favor. Landon Donovan is carrying the team on his shoulders, and his brilliance has made the difference for the Galaxy. As I noted earlier, him playing is the difference between Los Angeles being average and good. It will be close, but the Revs should still manage to win. They can overcome Donovan, just like the 2002 Galaxy overcame the Revs' home field advantage. I don't expect a goalfest like the past two years, because these two coaches aren't the types to allow that to happen. Nicol should play a more offensive game than in 2002 though, because now he has the talent that he didn't before. My pick is 2-1 Revs.

And now, because it just wouldn't be a Climbing the Ladder post without some statistical analysis, here is some info on the previous MLS Cup matchups:


1. During 2000-2002, all playoff teams were seeded 1-8 instead of by conference.

2. Ties were not broken for the "table" ranking.

3. APPG (adjusted points per game) simply means that I counted shootouts as draws.

4. Under APPG, OFF (goals per game), and DEF (goals allowed per game), those are alltime rankings among all 110 MLS regular season preformances.

5. POR and PGD stand for playoff record and playoff goal differential respectively, going into the title game. Playoff records do count shootout wins in this case.

DC 1996 LA
Seed 2 vs 1
Table 3 vs 2
APPG 37 vs 24
OFF 11t vs 19t
DEF 78t vs 51t
GD 6 vs 10
POR 4-1 vs 4-1
PGD 6 vs 4

DC 1997 COL
Seed 1 vs 4
Table 1 vs 7t
APPG 9 vs 73
OFF 4 vs 50t
DEF 70t vs 88t
GD 17 vs -9
POR 4-0 vs 4-0
PGD 5 vs 6

CHI 1998 DC
Seed 2 vs 1
Table 3 vs 2
APPG 15 vs 5
OFF 11t vs 2
DEF 37t vs 47t
GD 17 vs 26
POR 4-0 vs 4-1
PGD 2 vs 4

DC 1999 LA
Seed 1 vs 1
Table 1 vs 2
APPG 7 vs 11
OFF 8 vs 55t
DEF 26 vs 1t
GD 22 vs 20
POR 4-1 vs 4-1
PGD 7 vs 8

KC 2000 CHI
Seed 1 vs 2
Table 1t vs 1t
APPG 14 vs 16
OFF 62t vs 5t
DEF 1t vs 65t
GD 18 vs 16
POR 3-1-2 vs 4-2-0
PGD 3 vs 8

SJ 2001 LA
Seed 5 vs 3
Table 4t vs 3
APPG 18 vs 12
OFF 23 vs 9t
DEF 9 vs 33t
GD 18 vs 16
POR 4-1-0 vs 3-1-2
PGD 9 vs 1

LA 2002 NE
Seed 1 vs 2
Table 1 vs 5t
APPG 10 vs 59
OFF 46t vs 26
DEF 18 vs 78t
GD 11 vs 0
POR 4-1-0 vs 3-1-2
PGD 6 vs 4

SJ 2003 CHI
Seed 1 vs 1
Table 2 vs 1
APPG 20 vs 17
OFF 57t vs 25
DEF 15t vs 41t
GD 10 vs 10
POR 2-1 vs 3-0
PGD 2 vs 5

DC 2004 KC
Seed 2 vs 1
Table 4 vs 1t
APPG 53 vs 26
OFF 70 vs 91t
DEF 36 vs 4
GD 1 vs 8
POR 2-0-1 vs 2-1
PGD 4 vs 3

NE 2005 LA
Seed 1 vs 4
Table 1 vs 7t
APPG 8 vs 50
OFF 27t vs 76t
DEF 11t vs 37t
GD 18 vs -1
POR 2-1 vs 2-0-1
PGD 2 vs 4

So comparing the two title contenders in each category to see who's best, which best predict the winner?

Seed 3-4
Table 3-5
APPG 4-5
OFF 4-5
DEF 6-3
GD 5-3
POR 4-2
PGD 4-5

I didn't break ties here, but overall, the favorites (based on seed, then using tiebreakers) have only won 4 of 9 times. So it's no surprise that the categories here didn't show much of an advantage anywhere. Playoff record could be a factor (favors Galaxy), but it looks like the best predictor was the better team defensively (favors Revs).

Of the five "upset" winners, (1996 DC, 1998 CHI, 2001 SJ, 2003 SJ, and 2004 DC) 3 were better defensively and 2 offensively. Only once has one team been better in both categories, and that was the 1997 game. That is, until this year. This year's Galaxy team may have Landon Donovan, but they are very similar to that 1997 Colorado team. They both were 4th in their conference and got hot in the playoffs, and both are the only two MLS Cup finalists with a negative goal differential for the regular season.

1997 DC was probably the biggest favorite ever of the 9 games, not even taking into account the home field advantage they had. The Galaxy are better than those Rapids, and underachieved for much of the year. But the Revs must win this game, or else they'll be on the losing end of the greatest MLS Cup upset so far.