Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Randy Bernstein & the Early MLS Mindset

Things have improved so much since the beginning of MLS when it comes to the knowledge and respect the league and owners have for the sport of soccer. As I mentioned before, there is a definite shift towards traditional rules and regulations, and we've pretty much seen the end of "Americanizing" the game (thank god).

Of course, there's still the Kansas City Wizards and their ridiculous in-game music and sound effects. They're an insult to every supporters club member in the league, not just in KC. By having music during the game, it discourages chants and singing, the very things that make the soccer atmosphere so great.

When asked about it, Wizards general manager Curt Johnson blamed the Arrowhead staff, saying that he had no control over it. KC fans should be insulted at that explanation. The good news is that Johnson left after the season, and also Lamar Hunt no longer owns the team. Hopefully things will be different next year. Actually, they won't be playing in Arrowhead next year anyway, so we may win this battle by default.

What's the point of bringing this up? The fact that KC still does it in 2006 makes it really stand out. The music used to be a common thing, and the reasoning behind it came directly from the MLS front office. Randy Bernstein was the guy in charge of marketing for MLS. In a May 1996 article from Soccer Digest, he is quoted as follows:

"When you have a 45 minute running clock, you have to do some things to keep the fans in the game."

(See here for an excellent rant, written before the league even started)

There's the early MLS mindset. Bernstein obviously did not have much respect for the sport or the fans. He may have been good at getting sponsorships, but how could the league have a guy like that? He left MLS in 1999 to work for Yahoo, right about when Don Garber became commissioner and made several changes (coincidence?). He also, along with Doug Logan, claimed that surveys showed fans supported the shootout. How many of those were the league's biggest fans, who hated it with a passion (shown on surveys in Soccer America and on the internet)? I guess his background with indoor soccer had something to do with it.

So if any of you wonder why hardcore American soccer fans get so annoyed over things like music, or using the wrong terms (Dave O'Brien), just look way the people who ran MLS thought of us. It's hard to build a huge skyscraper without the foundation.

Bernstein is still involved with the sport, recently named as the 31st most powerful person in US soccer by Soccer America. Just leave the marketing to someone else.

From Chris Allen's 1996 rant, still true today:

Look, I'm happy to have all the music they want before the game, at halftime, and after the game, but doing it DURING the game takes the focus AWAY from the game!

The more crap music they play DURING play, the more they take the fans OUT of the game!

It's the difference between being 'spectators' and 'participants' and folks like Mr. Bernstein apparently don't have a clue.

The whole point of the supporters' groups is for the FANS to generate the noise and enthusiasm. Otherwise all you have is a bunch of sheep who are waiting for the organist (or 'multi-media director') to orchestrate the show.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Which MLS players have played the most regular season games, only playing with one team (MLS only)? Spending a long time with one team is so rare in sports nowadays, as evidenced by the fact that about four complete seasons is enough to get you on this list. It was necessary to go over a hundred players deep to get the top 25.

Most MLS Games, Played for One Team Only

1 Jones, Cobi LA 281
2 Hartman, Kevin LA 243
3 Clark, Mike CLB 221
4 Brown, C.J. CHI 220
5 Cienguegos, Mauricio LA 206
6 Garcia, Nick KC 197
7 Etcheverry, Marco DC 191
8 Rhine, Bobby DAL 186
9 Olsen, Ben DC 176
10 Maisonneuve, Brian CLB 172
11 McBride, Brian CLB 161
12 Warzycha, Robert CLB 160
13 Farrer, Richard DAL 158
14 Eck, Ted DAL 156
15 Rodriguez, Jorge DAL 155
16 Johnston, Mo KC 149
17 Deering, Chad DAL 147
18 Vagenas, Peter LA 145
19 Curtin, Jim CHI 140
20 Yeagley, Todd CLB 138
21 Doyle, John SJ 132
21 West, Brian CLB 132
23 Russell, Ian SJ 131
24 Twellman, Taylor NE 130
25 Dayak, Troy SJ 129

Active players in bold.

Next Highest Active Players


Thursday, November 23, 2006

MLS Playoff Matchups

There have been a total of 77 playoff matchups (7 times 11 years).

Most Frequent Playoff Matchups

1 Chicago vs New England 5
2 Colorado vs Dallas 4
2 Colorado vs Los Angeles 4
2 Kansas City vs Los Angeles 4
2 Los Angeles vs San Jose 4
6 Chicago vs DC United 3
6 Colorado vs Kansas City 3
6 Columbus vs DC United 3
6 Columbus vs Tampa Bay 3
6 Dallas vs Los Angeles 3
6 DC United vs New England 3
6 DC United vs New York 3
13 Chicago vs Dallas 2
13 Chicago vs Los Angeles 2
13 Columbus vs New England 2
13 Columbus vs San Jose 2
13 DC United vs Los Angeles 2
13 DC United vs Miami 2
13 Kansas City vs San Jose 2
13 Los Angeles vs New England 2
13 New England vs New York 2
22 Chicago vs Colorado 1
22 Chicago vs Kansas City 1
22 Chicago vs New York 1
22 Chicago vs San Jose 1
22 Chivas USA vs Houston 1
22 Colorado vs DC United 1
22 Colorado vs Houston 1
22 Columbus vs New York 1
22 Dallas vs Kansas City 1
22 Dallas vs New York 1
22 DC United vs Tampa Bay 1
22 DC United vs Kansas City 1
22 Houston vs New England 1
22 Kansas City vs Miami 1
22 Los Angeles vs New York 1
22 Los Angeles vs Tampa Bay 1
22 Miami vs San Jose 1

Matchups That Have Yet to Occur

(current teams only, excluding CHV/HOU/RSL/TOR)

Chicago vs Columbus
Colorado vs Columbus
Colorado vs New England
Colorado vs New York
Columbus vs Dallas
Columbus vs Kansas City
Columbus vs Los Angeles
Dallas vs DC United
Dallas vs New England
Kansas City vs New England
Kansas City vs New York

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Missing Out (post-2006 update)

What do the following pro athletes have in common?

Rafael Palmeiro (MLB)
Dale Ellis (NBA)
Gary Anderson (NFL)
Mike Gartner (NHL)

A: They all hold their league's records for most games played without playing in a championship game or series (to the best of my knowledge).

What follows is a list of the men who have played the most games in the MLS regular season without playing in an MLS Cup. When I first posted about this on June 3rd, Mark Chung was the all time leader. Jason Kreis passed him on July 4th and is the current leader.

Most MLS Games Played Without Playing in an MLS Cup

(includes games through 2006 season)

1 Kreis, Jason 301
2 Chung, Mark 284
3 Cunningham, Jeff 239
4 Kotschau, Ritchie 224
5 Clark, Mike 221
6 Pareja, Oscar 189
7 Rhine, Bobby 186
8 Mastroeni, Pablo 184
9 Valderrama, Carlos 175
Brown, Chris 175
11 McKinley, Ivan 174
12 Maisonneuve, Brian 172
13 Dunseth, Brian 171
14 Washington, Dante 170
15 Burns, Mike 169
16 Chronopoulos, Ted 162
17 McBride, Brian 161
18 Denton, Eric 160
18 Warzycha, Robert 160
20 Farrer, Richard 158
21 Eck, Ted 156
22 Rodriguez, Jorge 155
23 Santel, Mark 154
24 Deering, Chad 147
25 Welton 144

Active players in bold.

I had to go 93 or 94 players deep to find the top 25 for this list.

Here are the current MLS players that have missed out despite playing over 100 games. They're next in line:

Beckerman, Kyle 135
Buddle, Edson 134
Wolyniec, John 128
Broome, Paul 127
Lisi, Mark 120
Jordan, Matt 117
Hejduk, Frankie 115
Clark, Ricardo 115
Martino, Kyle 115
Leitch, Chris 109
Guevara, Amado 103
Johnson, Eddie 103
O'Brien, Ronnie 101
Oughton, Duncan 100

Monday, November 20, 2006

Looking For Photos of the Following MLS Players

You may have seen the thread on Bigsoccer, but I'll post it here too. I'm looking for pics of these (mostly) obscure MLS players. Please post a link or send me an email if you have any, or are willing to scan them. I'm trying to collect a photo of every player to have played for a MLS team in an official match (aka every guy in my lineup database), and I only need 28 more out of 1,005.

Backman, Derek
Battelle, Shane
Brown, Chris (2)
Castaneda, Tote
Cruz, Arnold
de Vries, Raimo
Delgado, Cesar
Draguicevich, Oscar
Edwards, Troy
Garvey, John
Guzman, Daniel
Henderson, Rysehiem
Herrera, Marcelo
Jones, Gabe
Miguez, Sergio
Munoz, Albert
Nunley, Andre
Peinado, Daniel
Pinon, Ed
Rzepa, Miroslaw
Salzwedel, Dave
Sepuya, Eugene
Sharpe, Richard
Suarez, Juan Berthy
Thomas, Sheldon
Viera, Diego
Ward, Brandon

BTW, while searching for Ed Pinon (who played one game for the Rapids in 1996), I came across this page. Turns out that nowadays, Ed is part of "Kickin' for the Cross Soccer." I already posted about the MLS players for Jesus thing two weeks ago, and now this. Is there really a lot of religion in MLS? And who would be considered the devil of MLS? Jake Dancy?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Playoff Streaks, Over/Under .500 Streaks

Now that the 2006 MLS season is over, we can look again at how MLS teams stack up when looking at the USA's longest playoff streaks. What's changed since the last time I compiled this (April)? This list is limited to the top 4 leagues, plus MLS and the WNBA.

Playoff Streaks

1 Detroit Red Wings NHL 15
2 New York Yankees MLB 12
3 Colorado Avalanche NHL 11
3 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 11
5 Indiana Pacers NBA 9
5 San Antonio Spurs NBA 9
5 New Jersey Devils NHL 9
5 Ottawa Senators NHL 9
9 Sacramento Kings NBA 8
9 Los Angeles Sparks WNBA 8
11 Dallas Mavericks NBA 6
12 Colorado Rapids MLS 5
12 New England Revolution MLS 5
12 Detroit Pistons NBA 5
12 New Jersey Nets NBA 5

The Red Wings are leaders after the St. Louis Blues missed out last year. The Los Angeles Galaxy's 10 year streak, good for fifth place, has ended. That leaves the Rapids and Revs tied for the best in MLS. The Atlanta Braves 14 year run is also over. As for the next casualties, the Flyers and Senators will need to recover from poor starts.

The NFL's top team is the Indianapolis Colts with 4 years in a row.

Of course, making the playoffs isn't always an indication of a good team, thanks to every league other than MLB/NFL allowing a ton of teams to make the playoffs. So here's another, possibly more prestigious list of years in a row over .500:

Over .500 Streaks

1 New York Yankees MLB 14
1 Detroit Red Wings NHL 14
1 New Jersey Devils NHL 14
4 Colorado Avalanche NHL 11
4 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 11
6 Boston Red Sox MLB 9
6 San Antonio Spurs NBA 9
6 Dallas Stars NHL 9
9 Oakland Athletics MLB 8
9 Sacramento Kings NBA 8
9 Ottawa Senators NHL 8
12 St. Louis Cardinals MLB 7
13 Houston Astros MLB 6
13 Minnesota Twins MLB 6
13 Dallas Mavericks NBA 6

Here's where the baseball teams get their dues. The 1994 strike season is counted here, although it wasn't in the playoff streak list above.

MLS' top team is DC United, with only 3 seasons in a row over .500. The NFL leader is the New England Patriots with 5 straight, same as WNBA leader the Seattle Storm with 5.

Under .500 Streaks

1 Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 14
2 Golden State Warriors NBA 12
3 Baltimore Orioles MLB 9
3 Tampa Bay Devil Rays MLB 9
5 Atlanta Hawks NBA 7
5 Arizona Cardinals NFL 7
7 Cincinnati Reds MLB 6
7 Colorado Rockies MLB 6
9 New York Knicks NBA 5
9 Detroit Lions NFL 5
9 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 5
9 Florida Panthers NHL 5
13 Toronto Raptors NBA 4
13 Houston Texans NFL 4
13 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 4
13 San Antonio Silver Stars WNBA 4

This is my personal favorite category, where you can see all the laughingstocks in one nice organized list. I guess we can include the Knicks in that category now.

Since there are a lot of baseball teams on the over .500 list, it's only fitting that MLB teams dominate this list as well. The Tigers managed to have a good year for once; previously they were tied for second with Golden State. The Milwaukee Brewers would be tied for first, but in 2005 they finished 81-81. Which makes it a lot less exciting for Brewers fans. At least they had something interesting about their team.

The top teams in MLS are the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake with 2 years in a row.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

MLS Best XI Facts: 2006 Version

MLS announced the 2006 Best XI last Friday, and that gives me a chance to update the all time list. There have been 121 selections (11*11) since the league started.

Player Pos Times Years Teams
1 Chris Armas M 5 1998-01, 03 CHI
1 Robin Fraser D 5 1996, 98-00, 04 LA 4, CLB
1 Jaime Moreno F 5 1997, 99, 04-06 DC
4 Marco Etcheverry M 4 1996-99 DC
4 Eddie Pope D 4 1997-98, 03-04 DC 2, NY 2
4 Preki M 4 1996-97, 01, 03 KC 2, MIA, KC
7 Jeff Agoos D 3 1997, 99, 01 DC 2, SJ
7 Mauricio Cienfuegos M 3 1996, 98-99 LA
7 Mark Chung M 3 1997, 02-03 KC, COL 2
7 Jimmy Conrad D 3 2004-06 KC
7 Peter Nowak M 3 1998, 00-01 CHI
7 Steve Ralston M 3 1999-00, 02 TB 2, NE
7 Carlos Valdarrama M 3 1996-97, 00 TB
14 Carlos Bocanegra D 2 2002-03 CHI
14 Jeff Cunningham F 2 2002, 06 CLB, RSL
14 Dwayne De Rosario M 2 2005-6 SJ, HOU
14 Clint Dempsey M 2 2005-6 NE
14 Thomas Dooley D 2 1997-98 CLB
14 Christian Gomez M 2 2005-6 DC
14 Tim Howard GK 2 2001-02 NY
14 Lubos Kubik D 2 1998-99 CHI
14 Ryan Nelsen D 2 2003-04 DC
14 Ronnie O'Brien M 2 2004-05 DAL
14 Pat Onstad GK 2 2003, 05 SJ
14 John Spencer F 2 2001, 03 COL
14 Taylor Twellman F 2 2002, 05 NE
14 Greg Vanney D 2 2000-01 LA
28 Leonel Alvarez D 1 1996 DAL
28 Wade Barrett D 1 2002 SJ
28 DaMarcus Beasley M 1 2003 CHI
28 Bobby Boswell D 1 2006 DC
28 Jose Burciaga D 1 2006 KC
28 Danny Califf D 1 2005 SJ
28 Joe Cannon GK 1 2004 COL
28 Ronald Cerritos F 1 1997 SJ
28 Brian Ching F 1 2004 SJ
28 Ricardo Clark M 1 2006 HOU
28 Mamadou Diallo F 1 2000 TB
28 Mark Dodd GK 1 1996 DAL
28 Roberto Donadoni M 1 1996 NY
28 Landon Donovan M 1 2003 SJ
28 John Doyle D 1 1996 SJ
28 Ronnie Ekelund M 1 2002 SJ
28 Brad Friedel GK 1 1997 CLB
28 Eddie Gaven M 1 2004 NY
28 Richard Gough D 1 1997 KC
28 Amado Guevara M 1 2004 NY
28 Kevin Hartman GK 1 1999 LA
28 Eduardo Hurtado F 1 1996 LA
28 Stern John F 1 1998 CLB
28 Cobi Jones F 1 1998 LA
28 Shalrie Joseph M 1 2005 NE
28 Jason Kreis F 1 1999 DAL
28 Alexi Lalas D 1 2002 LA
28 Roy Lassiter F 1 1996 TB
28 Eddie Lewis M 1 1999 SJ
28 Carlos Llamosa D 1 2001 MIA
28 Justin Mapp M 1 2006 CHI
28 Tyrone Marshall D 1 2005 LA
28 Pablo Mastroeni D 1 2001 MIA
28 Clint Mathis F 1 2000 NY
28 Tony Meola GK 1 2000 KC
28 Oscar Pareja M 1 2002 DAL
28 Troy Perkins GK 1 2006 DC
28 Alex Pineda Chacon F 1 2001 MIA
28 Ante Razov F 1 2003 CHI
28 Carlos Ruiz F 1 2002 LA
28 Diego Serna F 1 2001 MIA
28 Hristo Stoitchkov M 1 2000 CHI
28 Zach Thornton GK 1 1998 CHI
28 Peter Vermes D 1 2000 KC
28 Kerry Zavagnin M 1 2004 KC

Conrad and Moreno are the 4th and 5th players to make it three years in a row. Cunningham made it four years after his first selection; only three players have gone longer between selections. Every current team (minus Chivas) has had a player make it in the past three years. In 2006, two men on the Best XI were on the USA World Cup team. That compares to zero in 2002 and three in 1998.

Selections by Team

DC 19
CHI 17
LA 15
KC 12
SJ 12
TB 7
NE 6

Players Returning From Previous Year

1996-7 3
1997-8 3
1998-9 5
1999-0 3
2000-1 3
2001-2 1
2002-3 2
2003-4 2
2004-5 3
2005-6 5

2006 ties the record. As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, with 2006 being the first year after expansion, it should and did have a lot in common with 1999. You didn't see big movement in the standings; 3/4 teams missed the playoffs two years in a row in both years, and now this.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Expansion Draft Predictions

Lists of unprotected players

CHV-Borja (DEV)
CLB-Cameron (DEV)
DAL-Pitchkolan (DEV)
LA-Veris (DEV)
NE-Larentowicz (DEV)

Adrian Serioux as a Canadian is a given.
Surprised that Ante Jazic was protected but not him. Clyde Simms seems pretty obvious too. I would also expect them to take a defender, probably either C.J. Brown, Avery John, Mike Petke, or Greg Vanney. Petke seems like a good choice who's a lot cheaper than Vanney (list of salaries). Tim Regan is another one. Johnston likes Buddle a lot, so I'm pretty confident that he'll be selected. His salary isn't that high either. Most if not all of the other picks will be developmental players, for their YI spots. They could also take a cheap backup goalkeeper like Jeff Cassar or Zach Wells.

Why not take a shot at an unsigned player like Nate Jaqua (which is why he's unprotected)? They might as well. Even if he goes to Europe, they get his rights for two years. They could also do that for Kyle Martino. Since they only have 12 of 28 spots for non-Canadians, and they're taking 10 players in this draft, it would seem to be a really good strategy to use a pick or two to do that.

On the 2006 Champion Dynamo...

They will go down as having the 9th best regular season record among the 11 MLS Cup champions. The best champ was the 1999 DC United team, while the last three winners are the worst three teams. I should point out that despite their low seed, the 2005 Galaxy were actually a better team than the 2004 DC United team. They had a PPG of 1.41 vs 1.40 for DC. Although that may have been inflated by the expansion teams, it still goes down in the record books as better.

1 1999 DC United 1.88
2 1997 DC United 1.84
3 2002 Los Angeles 1.82
4 2000 Kansas City 1.78
5 1998 Chicago 1.78
6 2001 San Jose 1.73
7 2003 San Jose 1.70
8 1996 DC United 1.53
9 2006 Houston 1.44
10 2005 Los Angeles 1.41
11 2004 DC United 1.40

The average PPG over all the history of MLS is about 1.39. KC ranks above Chicago by virtue of a better goal differential.

New England may have deserved a title more due to their past anguish, but Houston's win was the better result for the league as a whole. Back in April I listed my rankings on which teams most needed to be successful in 2006. Dynamo were 3rd and the Revs were 9th. Nothing like starting a franchise with a great season to create some long time fans, and it should help them in their stadium search as well.

The Dynamo had four foreigners in their MLS Cup starting lineup, versus three by the Revolution (Dorman, John, and Joseph). That seems like a lot, but it's not a record. The 2002 Los Angeles Galaxy used a lineup where domestic players were a minority, the only champions to do so. I'm counting a player's nationality as the country he plays for in international soccer.

1996 DC United 4 Diaz Arce, Etcheverry, Gori, Moreno
1997 DC United 4 Diaz Arce, Etcheverry, Gori, Moreno
1998 Chicago 4 Kubik, Nowak, Okaroh, Podbrozny
1999 DC United 2 Etcheverry, Moreno
2000 Kansas City 2 Johnston, Molnar
2001 San Jose 2 Cerritos, Ekelund
2002 Los Angeles 6 Cienfuegos, Elliot, Hendrickson, Marshall, Moreno, Ruiz
2003 San Jose 2 Ekelund, Onstad
2004 DC United 3 Gomez, Moreno, Nelsen
2005 Los Angeles 2 Marshall, Nagamura
2006 Houston 4 Daglish, De Rosario, Onstad, Serioux

Monday, November 13, 2006

2006 MLS Lineup Database

It's finally completed. The 2006 MLS season is now over, and the database can be downloaded from Rapidshare by clicking here. There are 17 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, in all competitions. Then there's the all time records for each team. Just a ton of info that any hardcore MLS fan needs. Check it out.

EDIT: 11/15/2006. In the OVERALL sheet on the overall tab, Edmundo and Esmundo Rodriguez were counted as the same person. I've fixed this and uploaded it again. Also, on CLB and OVERALL sheets, Ivan Becerra's name was spelled "Bercerra." I've corrected that too.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

2006 MLS Cup Preview

The Revs are due, much like the Galaxy in 2002. Unlike that team though, the game is pretty much balanced. There isn't a favorite this time around, which Steve Nicol might not be used to. In 2002 the Revs were huge underdogs (despite playing at home), and in 2005 they were huge favorites. Both times they played poorly, so maybe thing will change now.

The biggest issue on the field is the loss of Ricardo Clark for the Dynamo. He was just named to the Best XI and won't be easily replaced. Adrian Serioux will take his role in the midfield while Ryan Cochrane is expected to slot into the back four. That's a big deal, because it's a big downgrade in two positions. They really are lacking in depth compared to the Revs. But last year, you could've said the same thing about the Galaxy against NE.

I have to go with the Revs to win the game, 2-0.

Here's a statistical look at which team might have the advantage. Let's look at the previous ten cups to see how the two finalists have done taking into account several different factors. All categories are for the regular season only, except for playoff stats (where it's up until the cup).

Higher Seed

Record: 3-5
2006: Tied

Higher PPG (shootouts as draws)

Record: 4-6
2006: NE

Better Offense

Record: 4-6
2006: HOU

Better Defense

Record: 6-4
2006: NE

Goal Differential

Record: 5-4 (2003 tied)
2006: Tied

Better Playoff Record (shootouts as draws)

Record: 6-3
2006: Tied

Better Playoff Goal Differential

Record: 5-5
2006: HOU

Better Average Attendance

Record: 5-5
2006: HOU

More Best XI Selections

Record: 3-3
2006: HOU

Season Series

Record: 2-3
2006: Tied

More MVP Finalists

Record: 5-2
2006: HOU

Highest Individual Goalscorer

Record: 5-4
2006: Tied

Distance to MLS Cup City

Record: 6-4
2006: HOU

More Players Used

Record: 5-3
2006: NE

Most Goalscorers

Record: 3-6
2006: HOU

Friday, November 10, 2006

2007 Changes: A Whole Lot of Nothing

Here's the summary from the State of the League Address (which apparently is given at the MLS Cup now instead of the All Star game. See here for previous transcripts). We already knew about the youth setup, so let's go through the rest one by one:

1) Season reduced to 30 games due to Gold Cup/Copa America. So basically they're saying that a tournament in South America that most MLS fans won't pay attention to is more important than the MLS season. I don't agree with that. Actually, I don't think we should even play in the Copa America. At least Garber says this is not a permanent solution.

2) Toronto to Eastern Conference, no single table. Incredibly unbalanced schedule. This is all so pointless. Next year, teams will only play the other conference's teams once. So each team won't even get to host every other team. Not only that, but the more you have these rivalry games, the less exciting they'll be. If two Western teams meet in the playoffs and in the Open Cup, that's eight matches in a single year. Ridiculous.

3) Playoffs remain at eight teams, but the top two in each conference qualify along with the next best four. With 13 teams, single table was the perfect solution. It was obvious that keeping the system the same wasn't fair to the unbalanced conferences. But this actually makes things worse. If the conferences are so special (see the previous paragraph) then why mix them up in the playoffs? So basically, which conference you're in doesn't really matter. Then why keep them?

4) Qualification to the USA-Mexico club tournament will be based on league performance. This is good. So why, then, are we not switching to a single table and reducing the number of teams in the playoffs? You don't even need playoffs if you have this to play for. Having nothing to play for is probably the biggest criticism of single table without promotion and relegation, but this fixes that. Also, how many hardcore MLS fans are there? Half the crowds wouldn't even care if their team was in contention.

Don Garber and MLS have really dropped the ball today. They had a chance to make some dramatic changes but chose not to. Does anyone reading this really think that we won't have single table eventually? They're just delaying the inevitable. You already have prominent figures like Bruce Arena talking about it, as well as many fans. It's not the end of the world. And does anyone really think that 8/13 teams should make the playoffs? Teams like the 2006 Rapids don't even deserve a shot at the title. It doesn't matter how exciting their playoff games were, the fact that they are even included makes the regular season awfully meaningless. Let's hope things improve in the future.

2006 Lineup Database: Monday

I am releasing the 2006 edition after the MLS Cup ends. For those of you who didn't get it last year, it's a series of excel files for each team. They contain a listing of every competitive game that team has played along with the lineups for each one. There's also stats (yearly & overall) for starts/subs/goals, and all time records. There's also the overall file which has all the stats for every team in one handy place.

I spent an awful lot of work putting it together last year, but it was worth it. Now I have a handy reference for MLS games and whatever research I want to do. Updating it for this year was not too bad in terms of time. Once the MLS Cup is over, I have to update the HOU/NE and the overall stuff and it'll be ready early AM Monday.

There are some differences from last year's, other than the 2006 data. First of all, a number of errors have been fixed. Most were pretty minor. Some cosmetic stuff has been done, like adding first names to all players on the stats pages and lineups. But it's mostly about the content.

I'm planning on making this blog into a full-fledged web site sooner or later (probably later), and this database will be the bulk of the content. Sort of similar to Baseball Reference. At least that's the goal. So I hope you'll enjoy it...Monday.

(sample page from last year)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

MLS Players for Jesus

Check it out. Here are the best quotes from this old web site.

Mike Clark - "Now, if ever asked, "Do you think you will go to heaven?", I can emphatically answer, "YES!"

Chris Klein - "Now, I play soccer for an "audience of ONE" – Jesus Christ."

Brian McBride - " All that I do in life, including my performance on the field, I do to glorify God and Jesus, giving thanks for what He has given me."

2006 BASAs Recap


Here are the MLS award winners for the 2006 season, as voted on by US soccer bloggers:

Results Schedule

10/23-Goalkeeper of the Year (Troy Perkins)
10/24-Coach of the Year (Bob Bradley)
10/25-Rookie of the Year (Jonathan Bornstein)
10/26-Defender of the Year (Bobby Boswell)
10/27-Young Player of the Year (Kenny Cooper)

10/30-Midfielder of the Year (Christian Gomez)
10/31-Old Player of the Year (Jason Kreis)
11/1-Forward of the Year (Jeff Cunningham)
11/2-Favorite MLS Player (Clint Dempsey)
11/3-Most Annoying US Soccer Personality (Bruce Arena)

11/6-Best XI
11/7-USMNT Player of the Year (Clint Dempsey)
11/8-MLS Player of the Year (Christian Gomez)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

BASAs: MLS Player of the Year

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
1 Christian Gomez 9 6

2 Jeff Cunningham 5 3 4 1
3 Dwayne De Rosario 1 3 4 1 2 56
4 Ante Razov
2 2 3 2 35
5 Landon Donovan

1 2
6 Clint Dempsey

1 1 2 10
6 Jaime Moreno

1 1 2 10
8 Kenny Cooper

1 1 1 9
9 Troy Perkins

9 Carlos Ruiz

1 4 7
11 Ivan Guerrero

12 Matt Reis


13 Andy Dorman

13 Juan Pablo Garcia

15 Brian Ching

1 1
15 Jonathan Bornstein

1 1

(10-7-5-3-1 scoring system)

Absolutely a given. The only player to be named on every ballot here, and also the only guy to win his position award unanimously. Plus he was a unanimous Best XI selection, so if you've been following the BASAs this comes as no surprise. I do find it interesting that somebody put De Rosario ahead here but not in the midfield award.

Most of the voting took place before the MVP finalists were announced, but the same three men ended up as the top guys here. As usual, it's very offensive oriented. Bobby Boswell, the defender of the year, received no votes here. A year ago Danny Califf, last year's BASA defender winner, only got one fifth place vote. CLB/COL/KC/NY were the only teams not a have a player represented in this voting.

It's been a fun couple of weeks for the 2006 BASAs, but it ends here. So far there hasn't been any difference from the real MLS awards, although I expect the Best XI to look pretty different. Last year Califf's award and most significantly De Rosario for player of the year were different. I still think he deserved the MVP more than Taylor Twellman. You don't think MLS would give it to him this year as sort of a make up? Who knows. But that's a post for later this week. Thanks to everyone for participating in the BASAs, and same time next year, ok?

Results Schedule

10/23-Goalkeeper of the Year (Troy Perkins)
10/24-Coach of the Year (Bob Bradley)
10/25-Rookie of the Year (Jonathan Bornstein)
10/26-Defender of the Year (Bobby Boswell)
10/27-Young Player of the Year (Kenny Cooper)

10/30-Midfielder of the Year (Christian Gomez)
10/31-Old Player of the Year (Jason Kreis)
11/1-Forward of the Year (Jeff Cunningham)
11/2-Favorite MLS Player (Clint Dempsey)
11/3-Most Annoying US Soccer Personality (Bruce Arena)

11/6-Best XI
11/7-USMNT Player of the Year (Clint Dempsey)
11/8-MLS Player of the Year (Christian Gomez)