Monday, April 30, 2007

MLS: Last Undefeated & Winless Teams

A month into the 2007 MLS season, and as always, some teams are hot and some aren't. Currently, there are three teams that are still undefeated (CHI, CLB, NY) and three that are still winless (DC, RSL, TOR). I went back and looked over the past 11 seasons to figure out who the last undefeated and winless teams were in each season. How did those teams end up fairing at the season's end?

I should note that I went not by the date, but by the number of games. Also, the 1996-9 seasons count shootouts as draws (as usual on this blog). That may not be totally correct to use here, but if I compare it to other seasons then of course I'm going to do it that way.

Last Undefeated

1996 LA 10-0-2

1997 DC 9-0-5

1998 LA 8-0-1

1999 DAL 6-0-6

2000 KC 10-0-2

2001 CHI 1-0-1 CLB 1-0-1 MIA 2-0-0 NY 1-0-1
2002 LA 2-0-2

2003 SJ 4-0-2

2004 DAL 2-0-2 LA 2-0-2

2005 NE 7-0-4

2006 DAL 3-0-2 DC 3-0-2

Final Records:

1996 LA 15-9-8

1997 DC 17-7-8

1998 LA 22-6-4

1999 DAL 16-7-9

2000 KC 16-7-9

2001 CHI 16-6-5 CLB 13-7-6 MIA 16-5-5 NY 13-10-3
2002 LA 16-9-3

2003 SJ 14-7-9

2004 DAL 10-14-6 LA 11-9-10

2005 NE 17-7-8

2006 DAL 16-12-4 DC 15-7-10

So in only 4/11 years did the last undefeated team win the MLS Cup. In 6/11 years they at least made it there, and also 6/11 years won the Supporters' Shield for the league's best record.

What about the final records? Only one of the 16 teams ended with a losing record: 2004 DAL (10-14-6). Interesting that in 2001 all of those teams ended up doing well despite the very short streaks.

12/16 teams advanced past the first round of the playoffs (2004 DAL didn't make it altogether).

Last Winless

1996 NY 0-3-2

1997 LA 0-2-1 NY 0-2-1 SJ 0-1-2
1998 COL 0-1-3 NE 0-2-2

1999 SJ 0-5-6

2000 NE 0-2-2

2001 NE 0-6-0

2002 NE 0-2-0

2003 LA 0-4-4

2004 CLB 0-3-2

2005 CHV 0-4-1

2006 NY 0-1-5 RSL 0-5-1

Final Records:

1996 NY 12-15-5

1997 LA 14-12-6 NY 11-17-4 SJ 9-14-9
1998 COL 14-14-4 NE 9-17-6

1999 SJ 9-10-13

2000 NE 13-13-6

2001 NE 7-14-6

2002 NE 12-14-2

2003 LA 9-12-9

2004 CLB 12-5-13

2005 CHV 4-22-6

2006 NY 9-11-12 RSL 10-13-9

Shouldn't be a surprise to realize that like the previous list, only 2/15 teams here ended up with a winning record (1997 LA, 2004 CLB). However, in only 2/11 years did a team here finish with the league's worst record (vs 6/11 Supporters' Shield in the previous section). So maybe it's easer to pull yourself out of a hole than to sink into one? Doesn't seem to work that way for the Premiership's top and bottom clubs at xmas though.

One team here made it to the MLS Cup (2002 NE) and one won the Supporters' Shield (2004 CLB). The Revs weren't a great team, but the Crew really turned things around somehow...despite Greg Andrulis. Although they were the worst winners statistically of that award (1.63 ppg).

Despite the poor records, 8/15 did end up making the playoffs. But only the 2002 Revs advanced past the first round. Ouch, 1/15. I guess that despite improvements, the end results still aren't good.

Overall, the average number of games on these lists are 6.625 for the undefeated teams and exactly 5.00 for the winless teams. That's only about 20% of a season, but in general it seems that 5-7 games into the season may be enough to seal your fate. I'm not going to take any significant conclusions from this analysis other than the obvious (good teams are good, bad teams are bad), because it's not like there's something inherently special about being the last undefeated or winless team. I just find it interesting to see how those teams end up, and that's a bit of analysis you rarely see in sports.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

USMNT All Time Leading Goalscorer Timeline

Starting with the first game in 1916, here's a list of the record holders, including ties. I should note that this site lists Thomas Swords as scoring the first ever goal, but the US Soccer Hall of Fame lists Spalding with it. The source for Swords scoring it seems to be the book U.S Soccer vs the World. I'll list it as Spalding for now, though. It's also interesting to note that Spalding became a pro baseball player.

This year or next, Landon Donovan should overtake Eric Wynalda to become the 10th man to hold sole possession of the record. He's currently at 30 goals.

Player Goals Date Opponent
1 Dick Spalding 1 1916-08-20 @ Sweden

Charles Ellis 1 1916-08-20 @ Sweden

Harry Cooper 1 1916-08-20 @ Sweden
2 Charles Ellis 2 1916-09-03 @ Norway

Andy Straden 2 1924-06-10 @ Poland
3 Andy Straden 3 1924-06-10 @ Poland

Archie Stark 3 1925-11-08 Canada
4 Archie Stark 4 1925-11-08 Canada

Davey Brown 4 1926-11-06 Canada

Bert Patenaude 4 1930-07-17 Paraguay
5 Bert Patenaude 5 1930-08-17 @ Brazil

Bert Patenaude 6 1930-08-17 @ Brazil

Bill Looby 6 1955-08-25 @ Iceland

Peter Millar 6 1968-11-02 Bermuda
Peter Millar 7 1968-11-02 Bermuda

Peter Millar 8 1968-11-02 Bermuda

Willy Roy 8 1972-08-29 Canada
Willy Roy 9 1972-09-03 @ Mexico

Willy Roy 10 1973-11-13 @ Israel

Bruce Murray 10 1990-09-15 Trinidad & Tobago
Bruce Murray 11 1990-10-10 @ Poland

Bruce Murray 12 1991-03-12 Mexico

Bruce Murray 13 1991-03-16 Canada

Bruce Murray 14 1991-06-29 Trinidad & Tobago

Bruce Murray 15 1991-07-01 Guatemala

Bruce Murray 16 1991-08-28 @ Romania

Bruce Murray 17 1991-10-19 North Korea

Bruce Murray 18 1992-10-19 Ivory Coast

Bruce Murray 19 1992-10-19 Ivory Coast

Bruce Murray 20 1993-01-30 Denmark

Bruce Murray 21 1993-03-03 Canada

Eric Wynalda 21 1996-01-16 El Salvador
Eric Wynalda 22 1996-01-21 Guatemala

Eric Wynalda 23 1996-05-26 Scotland

Eric Wynalda 24 1996-06-16 Mexico

Eric Wynalda 25 1996-08-30 El Salvador

Eric Wynalda 26 1996-11-03 Guatemala

Eric Wynalda 27 1996-11-10 Trinidad & Tobago

Eric Wynalda 28 1997-01-29 @ China

Eric Wynalda 29 1997-03-16 Canada

Eric Wynalda 30 1997-03-23 @ Costa Rica

Eric Wynalda 31 1997-10-03 Jamaica

Eric Wynalda 32 1998-02-01 Cuba

Eric Wynalda 33 1999-11-17 @ Morocco

Eric Wynalda 34 2000-02-12 Haiti

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Playoffs, Over .500, and Under .500 Streaks

Updating this once again now that the NBA and NHL regular seasons are over. This is the list of the USA's longest streaks among major professional sports teams. This list is limited to the top 4 leagues, plus MLS and the WNBA. Over and under .500 is considered to be when there are more/fewer wins than losses (so draws are counted as half of each), and for the NHL OT losses are counted the same as regular losses.

Changes since the January update? The Avalanche, Flyers, Pacers, and Kings all missed out on the playoffs. Previously all four teams were in the top ten. This now means that two MLS teams (Rapids and Revolution) are in the top ten.

The Avs maintain their place in the Over .500 list though, while the Red Wings and Devils leave the Yankees behind for first (at least until October).

The Warriors drop off the Under .500 list (they were second), as they finally had a winning season after 12 years of losing. Now the gap between the Pirates and everyone else is even larger.

Playoff Streaks

1 Detroit Red Wings NHL 16
2 New York Yankees MLB 12
3 San Antonio Spurs NBA 10
3 New Jersey Devils NHL 10
3 Ottawa Senators NHL 10
6 Los Angeles Sparks WNBA 8
7 Dallas Mavericks NBA 7
8 Detroit Pistons NBA 6
8 New Jersey Nets NBA 6
10 Colorado Rapids MLS 5
10 New England Revolution MLS 5
10 Indianapolis Colts NFL 5
13 DC United MLS 4
13 New York Red Bulls MLS 4
13 Denver Nuggets NBA 4
13 Miami Heat NBA 4
13 New England Patriots NFL 4
13 Seattle Seahawks NFL 4
13 Dallas Stars NHL 4
13 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 4
13 Connecticut Sun WNBA 4
13 Detroit Shock WNBA 4
13 Sacramento Monarchs WNBA 4
24 St. Louis Cardinals MLB 3
24 Chicago Bulls NBA 3
24 Phoenix Suns NBA 3
24 Washington Wizards NBA 3
24 Calgary Flames NHL 3
24 Nashville Predators NHL 3
24 San Jose Sharks NHL 3
24 Seattle Storm WNBA 3
32 San Diego Padres MLB 2
32 Chicago Fire MLS 2
32 FC Dallas MLS 2
32 Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 2
32 Los Angeles Lakers NBA 2
32 Chicago Bears NFL 2
32 New York Giants NFL 2
32 Anaheim Ducks NHL 2
32 Buffalo Sabres NHL 2
32 New York Rangers NHL 2
32 Houston Comets WNBA 2
32 Indiana Fever WNBA 2
44 Detroit Tigers MLB 1
44 Los Angeles Dodgers MLB 1
44 Minnesota Twins MLB 1
44 New York Mets MLB 1
44 Oakland Athletics MLB 1
44 Chivas USA MLS 1
44 Houston Dynamo MLS 1
44 Golden State Warriors NBA 1
44 Houston Rockets NBA 1
44 Orlando Magic NBA 1
44 Toronto Raptors NBA 1
44 Utah Jazz NBA 1
44 Baltimore Ravens NFL 1
44 Dallas Cowboys NFL 1
44 Kansas City Chiefs NFL 1
44 New Orleans Saints NFL 1
44 New York Jets NFL 1
44 Philadelphia Eagles NFL 1
44 San Diego Chargers NFL 1
44 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 1
44 Minnesota Wild NHL 1
44 New York Islanders NHL 1
44 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 1
44 Vancouver Canucks NHL 1
44 Washington Mystics WNBA 1

Over .500 Streaks

1 Detroit Red Wings NHL 15
1 New Jersey Devils NHL 15
3 New York Yankees MLB 14
4 Colorado Avalanche NHL 12
5 San Antonio Spurs NBA 10
5 Dallas Stars NHL 10
7 Boston Red Sox MLB 9
7 Ottawa Senators NHL 9
9 Oakland Athletics MLB 8
10 St. Louis Cardinals MLB 7
10 Dallas Mavericks NBA 7
12 Houston Astros MLB 6
12 Minnesota Twins MLB 6
12 Detroit Pistons NBA 6
12 New England Patriots NFL 6
12 Vancouver Canucks NHL 6
17 Denver Broncos NFL 5
17 Indianapolis Colts NFL 5
17 Seattle Storm WNBA 5
20 Chicago White Sox MLB 4
20 Philadelphia Phillies MLB 4
20 Denver Nuggets NBA 4
20 Miami Heat NBA 4
20 Seattle Seahawks NFL 4
20 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 4
20 Connecticut Sun WNBA 4
20 Sacramento Monarchs WNBA 4
28 Los Angeles Angels MLB 3
28 San Diego Padres MLB 3
28 DC United MLS 3
28 Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 3
28 Phoenix Suns NBA 3
28 San Diego Chargers NFL 3
28 Calgary Flames NHL 3
28 Montreal Canadiens NHL 3
28 Nashville Predators NHL 3
28 San Jose Sharks NHL 3
38 New York Mets MLB 2
38 Chicago Fire MLS 2
38 FC Dallas MLS 2
38 New England Revolution MLS 2
38 Los Angeles Lakers NBA 2
38 Chicago Bears NFL 2
38 Dallas Cowboys NFL 2
38 Kansas City Chiefs NFL 2
38 Anaheim Mighty Ducks NHL 2
38 Buffalo Sabres NHL 2
38 New York Rangers NHL 2
38 Houston Comets WNBA 2
38 Indiana Fever WNBA 2
51 Detroit Tigers MLB 1
51 Los Angeles Dodgers MLB 1
51 Toronto Blue Jays MLB 1
51 Chivas USA MLS 1
51 Houston Dynamo MLS 1
51 Chicago Bulls NBA 1
51 Golden State Warriors NBA 1
51 Houston Rockets NBA 1
51 Toronto Raptors NBA 1
51 Utah Jazz NBA 1
51 Baltimore Ravens NFL 1
51 New Orleans Saints NFL 1
51 New York Jets NFL 1
51 Philadelphia Eagles NFL 1
51 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 1
51 Minnesota Wild NHL 1
51 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 1
51 Detroit Shock WNBA 1
51 Los Angeles Sparks WNBA 1
51 Phoenix Mercury WNBA 1
51 Washington Mystics WNBA 1

Under .500 Streaks

1 Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 14
2 Baltimore Orioles MLB 9
2 Tampa Bay Devil Rays MLB 9
4 Atlanta Hawks NBA 8
4 Arizona Cardinals NFL 8
6 Cincinnati Reds MLB 6
6 Colorado Rockies MLB 6
6 New York Knicks NBA 6
6 Detroit Lions NFL 6
6 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 6
6 Florida Panthers NHL 6
12 Houston Texans NFL 5
13 Orlando Magic NBA 4
13 Cleveland Browns NFL 4
13 Oakland Raiders NFL 4
13 San Francisco 49ers NFL 4
13 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 4
13 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 4
13 San Antonio Silver Stars WNBA 4
20 Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 3
20 Kansas City Royals MLB 3
20 Seattle Mariners MLB 3
20 Charlotte Bobcats NBA 3
20 Milwaukee Bucks NBA 3
20 New Orleans Hornets NBA 3
20 Portland Trailblazers NBA 3
20 Washington Capitols NHL 3
20 Charlotte Sting WNBA 3
29 Chicago Cubs MLB 2
29 San Francisco Giants MLB 2
29 Texas Rangers MLB 2
29 Columbus Crew MLS 2
29 Real Salt Lake MLS 2
29 Boston Celtics NBA 2
29 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA 2
29 Philadelphia 76ers NBA 2
29 Seattle Supersonics NBA 2
29 Buffalo Bills NFL 2
29 Boston Bruins NHL 2
29 New York Islanders NHL 2
29 St. Louis Blues NHL 2
29 Minnesota Lynx WNBA 2
43 Atlanta Braves MLB 1
43 Cleveland Indians MLB 1
43 Florida Marlins MLB 1
43 Milwaukee Brewers MLB 1
43 Washington Nationals MLB 1
43 Colorado Rapids MLS 1
43 Kansas City Wizards MLS 1
43 Los Angeles Galaxy MLS 1
43 New York Red Bulls MLS 1
43 Indiana Pacers NBA 1
43 Los Angeles Clippers NBA 1
43 Memphis Grizzlies NBA 1
43 Sacramento Kings NBA 1
43 Atlanta Falcons NFL 1
43 Miami Dolphins NFL 1
43 Minnesota Vikings NFL 1
43 Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL 1
43 Washington Redskins NFL 1
43 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 1
43 Edmonton Oilers NHL 1
43 Los Angeles Kings NHL 1
43 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 1
43 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 1
43 Chicago Sky WNBA 1
43 New York Liberty WNBA 1

Monday, April 23, 2007

MLS 2007 - Week 3 Goals Video

, (Rapidshare, 11 mb). Downloadable version doesn't have the url at the beginning. It's also slightly better quality-wise than Youtube (they convert videos to flash which makes them worse).

Music: Kylie Minogue - "Disco Down"

Notes: The first HDnet casualty of the year, as highlights from CHI-KC aren't available on MLSnet because it was aired on that network. Dumb. EDIT: I reupped the comp which now includes the HDnet goals (had to download the game to do so). With increased tv coverage and capping of HDnet games, I'm optimistic that there will be footage of every goal scored this season.

Week 3 Results:

Columbus Crew 2:2 New England Revolution
Red Bull New York 1:0 Houston Dynamo
Chicago Fire 2:1 Kansas City Wizards
CD Chivas USA 4:0 Real Salt Lake
FC Dallas 3:1 Colorado Rapids

Goals: (in order shown)

Maykel Galindo
Ramon Nunez
Taylor Twellman
Josmer Altidore
Jovan Kirovski
Maykel Galindo
Chad Barrett
Ramon Nunez
Andy Dorman
Matt Taylor
Chris Rolfe
Kei Kamara
Dominic Oduro
Carlos Marinelli
Ned Grabavoy
Ante Razov (100th league goal!!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

MLS Notes

1) Logan Pause's week one goal to beat the Revs was the first in his MLS career. It came in his 97th regular season game, which had made him 8th on the list of most games without scoring (goalkeepers excluded). Last Summer, the list was updated after #2 Nick Garcia scored. Brandon Prideaux currently remains in front by a wide margin over Rusty Pierce. The only other guy on a 2007 roster in the top ten is Tim Regan, who just now makes it due to Pause's departure.

2) Two streaks to look out for: Toronto FC is winless in their first two matches; the record for the longest time until the first win in franchise history is the 6th game, held by Chivas and New York. The Colorado Rapids have played two games in their new stadium without losing; the record for most games undefeated after the opening of an SSS is five, held by Los Angeles. Both streaks count shootouts as draws (my normal policy on this site).

3) Who will be the 2007 MLS champion? It seems that teams who won the MLS Cup have often won their season opener as well; the eleven former champions are 8-2-1 in the first game of their title winning season (only losers: 1996 DC and 2005 LA). So that's a good sign for Chicago, Chivas, Colorado, and Kansas City.

4) The Columbus Crew have used the starting lineup for both games this year, and there's something very unique about it. Five players out of eleven have last names beginning with the letter G: Jason Garey, Eddie Gaven, Marcos Gonzalez, Ned Grabavoy, and Andy Gruenebaum. They did it for the first time on October 7 of last year.

So counting the 2006 and 2007 versions of the Crew, I believe only five teams total have done this. There's only a few more instances of that happening (that I could find):

A) The Colorado Rapids were the first team to do it, and they did it three times in an eight day stretch in Summer 1996 with Marcelo Balboa, Shaun Bartlett, Brian Bates, Scott Benedetti, and Ian Butterworth.

B) 1997 Dallas Burn, one game only: Mark Santel, Tom Soehn, Diego Sonora, Temoc Suarez, and Alain Sutter

C) Chicago Fire's first ever match in 1998: Frank Klopas, Ritchie Kotschau, Roman Kosecki, Lubos Kubik, and Tony Kuhn.

Of course, if you use the full names of Brazilian players or consider some other things differently, that could change things. Also, the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes seemed like the perfect candidate to tie this record or even beat it, but despite six "C" guys (Califf/Cerritos/Ching/Chung/Clark/Cochrane), never did more than four start a regular season game.

EDIT: The 2007 Colorado Rapids stated Jose Cancela, Conor Casey, Colin Clark, Terry Cooke, and Bouna Coundoul in the last two games of the season.

Monday, April 16, 2007

2007 MLS - Week 2 Goals

Download-wmv. (Rapidshare, 8 mb). Downloadable version doesn't have the url at the beginning. It's also slightly better quality-wise than Youtube (they convert videos to flash which makes them worse).

Music: Long Beach Shortbus - "California Grace"

Notes: About the song choices. I've decided to alternate between four genres: dance, pop, rap, and rock. So last week was dance and this week is rock, so the next two weeks you'll see the other two. I also try to split it about half current songs and half older ones, and I don't like using current hits too often because I think it takes away from the video.

Week 2 Results:

Los Angeles Galaxy 1:2 FC Dallas
Real Salt Lake 0:0 Columbus Crew
DC United 2:4 Kansas City Wizards
New England Revolution 4:0 Toronto FC
Houston Dynamo 1:0 CD Chivas USA
Red Bull New York 3:0 FC Dallas
Colorado Rapids 1:1 Chicago Fire

Goals: (in order shown)

Clint Mathis
Brian Ching
Luciano Emilio
Michael Harrington
Taylor Twellman
Shalrie Joseph
Christian Gomez
Herculez Gomez
Dave van den Bergh
Kenny Cooper
Josmer Altidore
Sasha Victorine
Scott Sealy
Carlos Ruiz
Taylor Twellman
Chad Barrett
Andy Dorman
Robbie Findlay
Eddie Johnson


Yeah, it's that time again. OTFATT is short for "On the field, all the time." In this post and subsequent updates throughout the season, I'll be keeping track of which MLS players have played every minute of every game (regular season only). This feat has only been accomplished 26 times in 11 seasons. It's interesting to follow because the players who do it have to be good, but not so good that they miss time with the national team. They also have to be fit and injury free.

Last year two goalkeepers did it, Pat Onstad and Matt Reis. Despite that, only 11 of 26 all time have been keepers. Onstad is actually into his third straight season without missing a minute. I doubt he'll make it again this year due to his age and his earlier injury.

There are 13 teams in MLS, and with 11 starters, that makes a total of 143 guys who are eligible. After week two, we're down to 90. Dallas looks to be the first team to be completely eliminated, although Drew Moor could last a while. Last year, Kyle Beckerman was the last field player before being eliminated in August. He's unlikely to last that long this year due to USMNT duty. Some of the field players most likely to do it IMO would be Dunivant, Heaps, Klein, Mulrooney, and Zavagnin. Hartman seems like the biggest lock among keepers, due to the lack of a quality backup and the others possibly missing time.

Remaining Candidates (90)

CHI Armas, Guerrero, Pause, Pickens, Segares
CHV Bornstein, Guevara, Guzan, Marsch, Mendoza, Suarez, Vaughn
CLB Gonzalez, Grabavoy, Gruenebaum, Hejduk, Hendrickson, O'Rourke, Pierce
COL Beckerman, Coundoul, Gomez, Ihemelu, Petke, Prideaux, Vanney
DAL Hislop, Moor, Ruiz
DC Boswell, Carroll, Emilio, Gomez, Moreno, Namoff, Olsen, Perkins
HOU Barrett, Ching, De Rosario, Gray, Mullan, Onstad, Robinson, Waibel
KC Arnaud, Burciaga, Conrad, Harrington, Hartman, Hohlbein, Jewsbury, Victorine, Zavagnin
LA Albright, Cannon, Donovan, Harden, Jaqua, Jazic, Marshall, Martino
NE Dorman, Heaps, John, Larentowicz, Ralston, Reis, Riley, Twellman
NY Dunivant, Kovalenko, Mendes, Stammler, van den Bergh
RSL Adu, Cunningham, Forko, Klein, Rimando, Stewart, Talley, Torres
TOR Boyens, Brennan, Eskandarian, Mulrooney, Nagamura, Robinson, Sutton

1996~2006: Played Every Minute

2006-Pat Onstad, Matt Reis
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 both teams.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

MLS Rookies: Out Of The Gate

Last weekend, a total of six rookies started for MLS teams in their opening matches. It seems like the only ones that started based 100% on merit and not due to injury were Ty Harden of the Galaxy and Andrew Boyens of Toronto FC. Another four saw time off the bench. So that's ten rookies total who saw action in their team's first game, not counting any for Kansas City this week (so the total could still change). How does that compare to previous years?

I haven't done the research for all eleven previous seasons (BTW, I'm sure 1996 will be fun), but I have done it for the past five years. What follows is a list of the "first game" rookie starters for the post-contraction era.

None of those guys want to be like Casey Schmidt (remember that preseason?) who never started another MLS game. There's plenty of forgettable players below. However, it's important to point out that for the last five years, every rookie of the year has played in the first game. Overall, 9 of 11 rookie of the year winners and 21 of 33 finalists have played the first game.

2002 was a hard year for rookies following contraction, while 2005 was an expansion year and therefore there's more on that year's list. I'm using MLS' definition of a "rookie" so that's why Taylor Twellman isn't here. Also, I'll be sure to edit this post after the Wizards game this week (done).

2007 Team Player Role Min

CHV John Cunliffe sub 5

CLB Brad Evans sub 2

KC Michael Harrington start 90

KC Kurt Morsink sub 2

KC Aaron Hohlbein start 90

LA Robbie Findlay sub 30

LA Ty Harden start 90

NE Adam Cristman start 71

NE Gary Flood start 80

NE Wells Thompson start 90

NY Dane Richards start 84

NY Sinisa Ubiparipovic sub 6

TOR Andrew Boyens start 90

2006 Team Player Role Min

CHI Calen Carr sub 11

CHI Floyd Franks sub 1

CHV Lawson Vaughn start 90

CHV Jonathan Bornstein start 90

CHV Sacha Kljestan start 90

CHV Drew Helm sub 2

CLB Brandon Moss start 90

CLB Jason Garey sub 18

CLB Kei Kamara start 90

KC Matt Groenwald start 90

LA Nathan Sturgis start 71

NE Kyle Brown sub 7

NY Marvell Wynne start 90

RSL Mehdi Ballouchy start 73

RSL Ryan Johnson sub 17

2005 Team Player Role Min

CHI Chris Rolfe sub 24

CHI Chad Barrett sub 10

CHV Brad Guzan start 90

CHV Aaron Lopez start 74

CLB Ryan Kelly sub 3

CLB Domenic Mediate sub 13

CLB Knox Cameron sub 2

COL Hunter Freeman start 90

COL Guy Melamed start 90

DC Bobby Boswell start 90

KC Scott Sealy sub 9

LA Mubariki Chisoni sub 45

NE Michael Parkhurst start 90

NE James Riley sub 34

RSL Luke Kreamalmeyer sub 18

SJ Danny O'Rourke start 90

2004 Team Player Role Min

COL Gary Sullivan start 90

DC Freddy Adu sub 29

DC Josh Gros sub 5

NE Clint Dempsey sub 6

NY Jeff Parke start 90

2003 Team Player Role Min

CHI Nate Jaqua sub 2

CHI Damani Ralph sub 15

COL Matt Crawford start 45

COL Casey Schmidt start 90

NE Pat Noonan sub 8

NY Jacob LeBlanc start 90

NY Ricardo Clark start 90

NY Mike Magee start 90

SJ Todd Dunivant start 90

2002 Team Player Role Min

CHI Kelly Gray sub 15

CLB Kyle Martino sub 3

COL Jeff Stewart start 100

LA Gavin Glinton sub 2

NY Sam Forko start 90

Team Breakdown (2002-7)

Start Sub
CHV 5 2
CLB 2 7
DC 1 2
KC 3
LA 2 3
NE 4 4
NY 7 1
RSL 1 2
SJ 2

Year Breakdown

Start Sub
2007 8
2006 9 6
2005 7 9
2004 2 4
2003 6 3
2002 2 3