Friday, December 28, 2007

Youtube Playlists Added

It's something I probably should've done a while ago, but I've finally added easy to navigate playlists to my Youtube channel. There's one for the 2007 year end MLS comps, as well as another for the 2006 editions. I've also added another one which doesn't involve my videos, but rather has MLS players involved in amusing stuff outside of the soccer field. Only four vids for that one so far, but I'll add more. In the meantime, check out the clip of Youri Djorkaeff rapping. Never fails to amuse me!

BTW, I'm up to over 500,000 views of my videos. Don't congratulate me or anything, I just wanted to help the league get more exposure. Hopefully it's created a few new fans, and made some existing ones more devoted.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2010 Seeding Formula: December 2007 update

The new FIFA rankings are out for December. This is the big month that we've been waiting for. The rankings this month get locked into place, giving us 1/3rd of the rankings half of the formula. So now we know 4/6ths of the total formula (which is of course, half World Cup performance and half FIFA rankings: 12/07, 12/08, and 11/09).

The actual rankings themselves were a bore though, as there was only a tiny change due to Japan falling out of a tie with Guinea. So currently England and Portugal are still tied for the last seed.

To discuss this on Bigsoccer, and for an FAQ on these rankings and links to previous editions, see this link.

Top 7 teams seeded

(South Africa automatically seeded as hosts)

Total WC FIFA Change
1 Brazil 60.3 29.3 31 0.0
2 Germany 58.3 30.3 28 0.0
3 Italy 57.3 27.3 30 0.0
4 Spain 54.3 25.3 29 0.0
5 Argentina 53.0 21.0 32 0.0
6 France 49.3 23.3 26 0.0
7 England 47.3 26.3 21 0.0
7 Portugal 47.3 22.3 25 0.0

9 Netherlands 38.7 14.7 24 0.0
10 Mexico 37.3 19.3 18 0.0
11 Czech 33.0 6.0 27 0.0
12 Croatia 32.0 9.0 23 0.0
13 USA 28.7 13.7 15 0.0
14 Turkey 27.0 10.0 17 0.0
15 Paraguay 24.7 11.7 13 0.0
16 Japan 22.3 13.3 9 -0.5
17 Greece 22.0 0.0 22 0.0
18 South Korea 20.7 15.7 5 0.0
19 Romania 20.0 0.0 20 0.0
20 Scotland 19.0 0.0 19 0.0
21 Nigeria 16.7 2.7 14 0.0
22 Colombia 16.0 0.0 16 0.0
23 Senegal 15.7 8.7 7 0.0
24 Australia 15.3 11.3 4 0.0
25 Cameroon 15.0 3.0 12 0.0
26 Cote d'Ivoire 14.0 6.0 8 0.0
27 Uruguay 13.7 2.7 11 0.0
28 Iran 11.3 5.3 6 0.0
29 Guinea 10.0 0.0 10 0.5
29 Saudi Arabia 10.0 8.0 2 0.0
31 South Africa 4.0 3.0 1 0.0
32 Honduras 3.0 0.0 3 0.0

Mock Draw

(England and Portugal are currently tied for the final seed. I decided to use England because their World Cup performance, aka the half of the formula that is fully set in stone, is higher)

Pot 1: Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain
Pot 2: Croatia, Czech, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Turkey
Pot 3: Cameroon, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Paraguay, Senegal, Uruguay
Pot 4: Australia, Honduras, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, USA

Group A: South Africa, Turkey, Uruguay, Japan
Group B: Germany, Croatia, Paraguay, Australia
Group C: France, Portugal, Cameroon, Mexico
Group D: England, Netherlands, Guinea, Iran
Group E: Brazil, Czech, Cote d'Ivoire, USA
Group F: Italy, Scotland, Colombia, Saudi Arabia
Group G: Spain, Greece, Nigeria, Korea Republic
Group H: Argentina, Romania, Senegal, Honduras

Sunday, December 09, 2007

2007 vs 2006: PPG, GF, GA

This post will take a look at how each MLS team has performed this past season in terms of PPG, goals scored, and goals allowed, and I'll also be comparing each team's 2007 season with their 2006 season, to see exactly how things have changed. Finally, I'll post how each team's season ranks historically compared to their previous incarnations.

First things first. The average PPG per team leaguewide was 1.372 this year compared to 1.354 in 2006, slightly higher due to fewer draws (25.64% vs 29.17%). The goals per game was virtually the same as last year: 2.66 vs 2.62 in 2006. So for the rankings below, scoring or allowing 1.33 goals per game would be the average figure for an offense or defense.

Notes for below: Offense and defense are goals per game scored or allowed. Obviously, a decrease for defense would be good. The all time ranks are based on PPG (shootouts counted as draws), then GD per game followed by GF per game.


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.47 1.34 1.28
2007 1.33 1.03 1.20

Difference -0.14 -0.31 -0.08

The Fire were a slightly below average team this season. The defense improved slightly, but the offense crashed. Despite the struggles of the strikers, that's likely due to the injuries to Justin Mapp and to a lesser extent Chris Rolfe. Certainly you would expect that number to rise next year with a full season of Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

The coaching switch to Juan Carlos Osorio paid dividends. The splits for Sarachan/Hamlett vs Osorio are striking: 1.07/0.87/1.47 vs 1.60/1.20/0.93. Still a below average offense, though, but the defense improved considerably. Wilman Conde's arrival certainly helped, but Osorio is known for his intense practices and demeanor so maybe he instilled greater discipline in the Fire players.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 8th out of 10 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 79th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.34 1.41 1.31
2007 1.77 1.53 0.93

Difference 0.42 0.13 -0.38

Already above average on both sides of the ball last year, they improved each this year and it led to a fantastic season. The defense goes down as the 4th best in MLS history. They lost nothing in the switch from Bob Bradley to Preki, and they played some very pretty soccer for a while there.

Maykel Galindo turned out to be a much better goalscorer than Palencia, and getting Shavar Thomas from the Galaxy was an absolute steal. Those two moves combined with the natural improvement of the team's quality young players led to the better record. They didn't even need Amado Guevara.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 1st out of 3 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 18th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.28 1.13 1.53
2007 1.17 0.97 1.13

Difference -0.11 -0.16 -0.40

Time to fire Fernando Clavijo, indeed. Three years and no winning season, he has to be gone. There are so many questionable trades for the team in recent years as well. But according to the latest reports, he'll be back. I look forward to the Rapids starting out like Chicago or RSL next season and making the change halfway through when it's pretty much too late.

Last year, the Rapids were bad on both sides of the ball. This year they managed to improve the defense, but the offense became even worse. In three years with Clavijo, they've been below average on offense every year. Also, the total number of goals in their matches (both for and against) was 2.10 per game. Second lowest total of all time, behind only 2004 Colorado. In addition to the results, is that what fans want to see? (although in fairness 2007 Houston and 2007 Chicago are 3rd and 4th all time)

While the Rapids may have made the final four in the playoffs in 2005 and 2006, they were never a great team. Slightly above average in 2005 and slightly below average in 2006. It probably made them look better than they really were. This year, they just plain sucked. They have so many mediocre to decent attacking players, yet they can't seem to get anything out of them. There's Ballouchy, Cancela, Casey, Clark, Gomez, Hernandez, Kirovski, and Peterson; guess they couldn't find the right combination (aka the one without Kirovski). This is a team that needs a good coach to make sense of the talent.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 10th out of 12 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 108th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.03 0.94 1.31
2007 1.23 1.30 1.47

Difference 0.20 0.36 0.15

Offense improved tremendously as they found a star in Guillermo Barros Schelotto. However, it was still only right around average and they never got a star forward to bang in the goals. Unfortunately the defense went backwards and they missed the playoffs for the third straight time. Relying on veterans Ezra Hendrickson and Rusty Pierce was not optimal to say the least. Chad Marshall's injury didn't help.

Sigi Schmid will get a third season to turn things around. Does he deserve it? Probably not. Should it really take three years to improve a team in MLS? His LA teams were always great defensively but that hasn't been the case here. His drafting has left a lot to be desired as well.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 9th out of 12 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 94th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.63 1.50 1.38
2007 1.47 1.23 1.47

Difference -0.16 -0.27 0.09

Year one of Steve Morrow's reign and the results were decent (5th overall), even if the stats don't look good. They suffered a few big losses which makes things look worse than they were. Faded down the stretch as usual for the franchise. Offense way down as Ruiz and the forwards were disappointing.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 5th out of 12 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 52nd out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.72 1.63 1.19
2007 1.83 1.87 1.13

Difference 0.11 0.24 -0.05

Still the league's best, which is surprising. Not because people expected something different, it's just that rarely in MLS does the expected actually happen. Or else we would've had Columbus vs LA in the 2003 MLS Cup. They looked to be better on paper thanks to the additions of Luciano Emilio and Fred and they were, as the switch to Tom Soehn didn't mess anything up.

They're getting to the point now where it will be hard to do any better.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 4th out of 12 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 10th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.44 1.38 1.25
2007 1.73 1.43 0.77

Difference 0.30 0.06 -0.48

Their Defense was vastly improved from an already above average unit, helped by the stealing of Richard Mulrooney from Toronto. Greatest goals against average in MLS history. That made up for the fact that Brian Ching and Dwayne De Rosario weren't as good.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 1st out of 2 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 20th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.19 1.34 1.41
2007 1.33 1.50 1.50

Difference 0.15 0.16 0.09

Pretty average. They scored as many goals as they let in, although their games were high scoring. So as a result the offense is above average and the defense is below average. Now if they only had a reliable scoring threat besides Eddie Johnson. This collection of players has been together for a while now, but I can't see them winning a title unless they add a few impact guys.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 7th out of 12 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 76th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.22 1.16 1.16
2007 1.13 1.27 1.60

Difference -0.09 0.11 0.44

Heh. Yes, it could and did get worse. The defense was worse than the offense, and that's what you get when you start an unheralded rookie for almost every game. And you also trade a talented, cheap, younger foreigner (Thomas) in favor of an older, washed up, unmotivated foreigner (Xavier). The injury to Chris Albright didn't help.

The good news is that this team isn't as bad as they looked. When you look at their record in all matches (which means regular season plus Open Cup & Superliga), their numbers were 1.32/1.42/1.55, way better.

With a full season of Albright and David Beckham (and a coach that knows how to handle the spotlight), it shouldn't be hard to see an improvement.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 12th out of 12 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 111th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.50 1.22 1.09
2007 1.67 1.70 1.43

Difference 0.17 0.48 0.34

Very interesting, as they went from being a successful defensive team to being a successful offensive team, and they were even better this season. That's despite losing Clint Dempsey, though they did draft well. They then reverted to their usual selves in the playoffs, with the same result. You can't replace Steve Nicol, since he's done so well year after year. This felt like the year though.

Twellman had a great year, scoring 23 times in 33 games, compared to 15 in 40 last season.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 2nd out of 12 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 27th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.22 1.28 1.28
2007 1.43 1.57 1.50

Difference 0.21 0.29 0.22

The defense, much worse under Bruce Arena? Hard to see that coming. Too much tinkering. Offense way better thanks to Juan Pablo Angel. And we all know about Reyna's season. How about using one of those SI spots on defense for once?

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 4th out of 12 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 56th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2006 1.22 1.41 1.53
2007 0.90 1.03 1.50

Difference -0.32 -0.37 -0.03

Back to among the worst of all time. The tinkering by Kreis had better pay off in 2008. They weren't going to be horrible with the roster they had. I mean, they weren't going to be great either, but the team was torn apart.

The offense was worse, but they'll need to focus on defense as well due to Eddie Pope's retirement. They still have a way to go until they're above average. Hard to see it happening next year.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 2nd out of 3 seasons

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 127th out of 135 seasons


PPG Offense Defense
2007 0.83 0.83 1.63

Only way to go from here is up.

2007 All Time Franchise Rank: 1st out of 1 season

2007 All Time Overall Rank: 129th out of 135 seasons

Friday, December 07, 2007

Current 2008 MLS Superdraft Order

EDIT 12/20: RSL trades Harris to CHV for the 37th pick. I now have Chivas with only one pick in the draft. Also, you'd think MLS would've published the order by now...

EDIT 12/11: Ives reports that NY will give up their first rounder to Chicago for signing Osorio.

Also, now that RSL's 3rd rounder is not going to DC, I remember Buzz from 3rddegree saying that Dallas should have that pick due to Kreis' retirement (future considerations, I guess). I remember some confusion there, so that should be cleared up now since DC's out of the picture. So that's changed as well.

EDIT 12/7: Goff reports that DC has 3 picks: 24, 33, 52. I have them with 5 picks: 24, 28, 31, 33, 38. What are the differences? DC owes the Fire a conditional pick for Monteiro, so I'd already given the 52nd pick to the Fire. Turns out that Monteiro trade was for a third rounder, per his bio. Additionally, LA owes DC a conditional pick for Quaranta (1st or 2nd round). I gave United LA's worst 2nd rounder, the 28th pick. Usually, those conditional picks aren't usually exchanged until right before the draft. So I'm assuming that DC will get the pick from LA, and that the 38th pick (DC's natural 3rd rounder) will go to Chicago. Which then gives them back the 52nd.

So what about the 31st pick? I've listed DC with RSL's 3rd rounder due to the Adu trade, which was mentioned by Goff a while back. I've never seen any mention of it elsewhere, actually. Guess it was the "future considerations" mentioned when the trade was announced. Now, Goff has changed his story and said in the comments that he believes it's a 2009 pick. Actually, RSL has already traded their 2009 3rd rounder to KC. However, since he received that info from the team itself, I'll have to give RSL back the 31st pick here.

So that explains that.

EDIT 11/27: The Rapids should have NY's natural 4th rounder due to the Mathis trade. So I'm assuming that the 4th rounder they owe to LA for Quaranta will be the 51st instead. Also, included the Burpo deal.

EDIT 11/26: The Mathis pick is LA's natural pick. Also, NY has RSL's 4th rounder due to trading Rimando back to them. Thanks to Mooch on Soccerpubs. But RSL already had traded their fourth rounder to Dallas, so how does that work? According to the press release, RSL had Chivas' 4th rounder, how I don't know. So that gives NY the 51st pick and leaves Chivas with only one pick.

EDIT 11/19: Clint Mathis is traded to LA for a third rounder. No word yet on which one, so I just assumed the worst one (34th) would be given up. It's the 32nd pick, LA's natural pick.

EDIT (Post MLS-Cup): The order here is correct, and nothing changes from the original date of this post.

Currently, only the final four spots (11-14) are unknown. The MLS Cup winner will draft last, followed by the runner up, then followed by the two semifinal losers. So the positions could still change slightly, but this is pretty much set. The four first round playoff losers are ranked by their total points (7-10: NY, DAL, CHV, DC).

There's still a bit of guesswork with the conditional picks, and also there could be a trade or two that's unlisted. Please post in the comments if you have any additional knowledge.

Estimated 2008 Superdraft Order

Round One

1 San Jose Earthquakes
2 FC Dallas
3 Real Salt Lake
4 Los Angeles Galaxy
5 Colorado Rapids
6 Columbus Crew
7 Chicago Fire
8 FC Dallas
9 Toronto FC
10 Real Salt Lake
11 Kansas City Wizards
12 Chicago Fire
13 New England Revolution
14 Toronto FC

Round Two

15 San Jose Earthquakes
16 Red Bull New York
17 Real Salt Lake
18 Kansas City Wizards
19 FC Dallas
20 Columbus Crew
21 Los Angeles Galaxy
22 FC Dallas
23 Kansas City Wizards
24 DC United
25 Los Angeles Galaxy
26 Chicago Fire
27 Los Angeles Galaxy
28 DC United

Round Three

29 Los Angeles Galaxy
30 Toronto FC
31 FC Dallas
32 Red Bull New York
33 DC United
34 Los Angeles Galaxy
35 Colorado Rapids
36 Toronto FC
37 Real Salt Lake
38 Chicago Fire
39 Kansas City Wizards
40 Chicago Fire
41 New England Revolution
42 Houston Dynamo

Round Four

43 CD Chivas USA
44 Red Bull New York
45 FC Dallas
46 Los Angeles Galaxy
47 Colorado Rapids
48 Columbus Crew
49 Colorado Rapids
50 FC Dallas
51 Los Angeles Galaxy
52 DC United
53 Kansas City Wizards
54 Chicago Fire
55 New England Revolution
56 Houston Dynamo

Total picks & Positions

CHI 6 picks 7, 12, 26, 38, 40, 54
CHV 1 pick 43
CLB 3 picks 6, 20, 48
COL 4 picks 5, 35, 47, 49
DAL 7 picks 2, 8, 19, 22, 31, 54, 50
DC 4 picks 24, 28, 38, 52
HOU 2 picks 42, 56
KC 5 picks 11, 18, 23, 39, 53
LA 8 picks 4, 21, 25, 27, 29, 34, 46, 51
NE 3 picks 13, 41, 55
NY 3 picks 16, 32, 44
RSL 4 picks 3, 10, 17, 37
SJ 2 picks 1, 15
TOR 4 picks 9, 14, 30, 36

Trade/Pick Movement List

Round 1

DAL has TOR's pick (Mulrooney trade)
TOR has HOU's pick (Mulrooney trade)
TOR has CHV's pick (Nagamura trade)
RSL has 2nd highest of TOR's 3 picks (Cunningham trade)
TOR has DC's pick (Dyachenko trade)
CHI has NY's pick (Osorio compensation)

Round 2

NY has TOR's pick (Wynne trade)
LA has HOU's pick (Jaqua trade)
KC has LA's pick (Thomas trade, conditional)
DAL has COL's pick (Vanney trade)
LA has KC's pick (Hartman trade)
LA has NY's pick (Wolyniec trade)
LA has NE's pick (allocation/1st rounder trade)

Round 3

DC has COL's natural pick (Prideaux trade)
TOR has COL's pick, presumably one of the two listed next (Casey trade)
COL has NY's pick (Freeman trade)
COL has DAL's pick (Vanney trade)
LA has CLB's pick (Miglioranzi trade, conditional)
LA has SJ's pick (Yallop deal)
NY has LA's pick (Mathis trade)
CHI has DC's pick (Monteiro trade, conditional)
RSL has CHV's pick (Harris trade)

??? - DC has RSL's pick (Adu trade)

Round 4

DAL has RSL's pick (4th rounder trade)
NY has TOR's pick (Ibrahim trade)
NY has RSL's pick, via CHV (Rimando trade)
CHV has SJ's pick (Burpo deal)


KC has CHV's pick (Zotinca trade, conditional: 2nd or 3rd round)
DC has LA's pick (Quaranta trade, conditional: 1st or 2nd round)
LA has NY's pick (Quaranta trade, conditional: 4th rounder)

I counted the first two trades as a 2nd rounder, and a 2nd rounder. I assumed the worst pick would be given up.

Supplemental Trades

COL has RSL's 1st round pick (Wingert trade)
NE has DAL's 1st round pick (salary cap considerations trade)
CHI has CLB's 4th round pick (Griffin trade)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Subs Per Game 2007

1 CHI 2.77 83
1 LA 2.77 83
3 DC 2.73 82
4 DAL 2.70 81
5 COL 2.67 80
5 RSL 2.67 80
7 CHV 2.63 79
7 NY 2.63 79
9 KC 2.60 78
10 CLB 2.50 75
11 HOU 2.43 73
12 TOR 2.03 61
13 NE 1.97 59

League average was 2.55 per game, per team. That's a perfectly average year. Only the first MLS season in 1996 had a much lower average (2.28).

Nicol and Kinnear are always at the bottom of this stat, year after year. Maybe it's the sign of a quality manager not to change things just for the sake of changing them? Of course, Toronto can be explained by their injuries and lack of depth.

The breakdown for Chicago and RSL, whose coaches were fired in the middle of the season, looks like this:

Sarachan 2.92 35
Hamlett 2.67 8
Ososrio 2.67 40

Ellinger 1.75 7
Kreis 2.81 73

So Sarachan and Kreis, who coached 12 and 26 games respectively, go down as the most sub-happy coaches of the season.

Monday, December 03, 2007

VIDEO: Why the secondary assist sucks (part one)

See here for more on this subject:

1. 8/22/2006 - A Helping Hand: Assists in MLS
2. 8/23/2006 - A Helping Hand: Part Two (individual assist leaders)
3. 10/31/2007 - MLS 2007: Breakdown of Primary & Secondary Assists