Monday, September 15, 2008

Which MLS Teams Can't Win Where?

Chicago Fire and Colorado Rapids fans certainly knew the story heading into yesterday's match. On paper it seemed like a match the away team should have been favored in, given the records of the two teams. But both sets of fans knew that the Rapids have dominated the Fire in Colorado for years, and the streak is now at 10 games without a win for Chicago in the Rocky Mountain state.

This got me thinking, what is the longest current streak in MLS? Which teams have destroyed a certain opponent at home for years now? You always hear about really long streaks in the Premiership, like how Newcastle haven't won at Old Trafford since 1972. It'll be cool to see which of these streaks last that long. With only one home game per year against most teams, it shouldn't be hard for a few really long streaks to develop.

So I looked it up, and now here's the full list of all such streaks of 5+ games:

Longest Current Home Unbeaten Streaks vs One Opponent

(Regular season only, shootouts counted as draws)

Games Record Last Loss
1 CHI vs SJ 12 6-0-6 N/A
1 NY vs KC 12 5-0-7 2000-04-19
3 COL vs LA 11 8-0-3 2002-07-13
3 DAL vs CHI 11 9-0-2 1999-07-04
3 NE vs NY 11 8-0-3 2002-06-29
6 COL vs CHI 10 6-0-4 1999-10-06
6 DC vs COL 10 6-0-4 1999-07-10
6 NY vs LA 10 8-0-2 2000-04-29
6 SJ vs KC 10 6-0-4 2000-08-16
10 COL vs DC 9 7-0-2 2000-05-06
10 NE vs LA 9 7-0-2 1999-07-11
10 NY vs CLB 9 6-0-3 2003-04-12
10 SJ vs DC 9 4-0-5 1998-06-03
14 KC vs COL 8 6-0-2 2002-09-14
15 COL vs NE 6 5-0-1 2002-06-15
15 DAL vs RSL 6 6-0-0 N/A
15 DC vs NY 6 4-0-2 2005-10-08
15 HOU vs CHV 6 4-0-2 N/A
15 HOU vs DAL 6 4-0-2 N/A
15 SJ vs NE 6 4-0-2 2000-07-22
21 CHI vs NY 5 3-0-2 2005-05-14
21 COL vs KC 5 4-0-1 2004-06-09
21 LA vs KC 5 3-0-2 2005-06-05
21 NE vs DAL 5 5-0-0 2003-07-16
21 SJ vs COL 5 2-0-3 2003-08-30

  • That's right, San Jose has never "won" at Chicago. They did get a shootout win on 7/23/1999 after a 2-2 draw. By the way, that's the only streak on the list which is affected by counting a shootout result as a draw (it would only be 8 games if you counted it that way). Anyway, the Qaukes almost always score a goal while they're there, but they can't ever finish it off.
  • It's interesting to see NY-KC up there tied for first; that's not one I would've guessed. The Metros really haven't dominated the Wizards as evidenced by the 7 draws. However, they have had a number of memorable comebacks in recent years. They came back twice from a goal down to get a draw in September 2005, which likely saved them from missing the playoffs. And that April, they also had earned a draw after going down 0-2. Then of course, the 3-2 win on the final day of the 2006 regular season to win the last playoff spot, featuring an Amado Guevara hat trick. Last year, a 90th minute Juan Pablo Angel penalty to earn a point.
  • Recently, a streak fell that was up until then the longest in the league. It was between Western conference rivals...Dallas vs Colorado. 13 times in a row the Rapids had failed to win in the Lone Star State until the recent Thursday night win. That's of course not counting the home playoff loss in 2006.
  • Colorado vs Los Angeles and New England vs Los Angeles are two streaks during which both teams have lost famously in the playoffs. The Galaxy advanced to MLS Cup 2005 behind two Landon Donovan goals over the Rapids, while of course they also won MLS Cup 2002 in Foxborough.
  • On the other hand, the NE-NY streak would likely be first if all competitions were included. The Revs have defeated the Red Bulls three times in the playoffs since it began.
  • Neat to see that both COL vs DC and DC vs COL are on the list. So both teams can't win at each other's place, and that's been going on for nearly a decade. Colorado also has that going on with Kansas City, though shorter in length.

Thursday, September 11, 2008 Blatantly Plagiarizes Other Soccer Blogs

My Superdraft 2009 preview post has been blatantly ripped off by WVhooligan and its author, Drew Epperley. I also discovered did the exact same thing one month ago when I previously updated it, and also last year for my 2008 preview. And it turns out that I'm not the only site he's been ripping off. Just look:

Climbing the Ladder 9/9 - 2009 MLS Superdraft Order & Picks:

Order is determined as follows: #1-7 go to non-playoff teams, #8-11 go to quarterfinalists, #12-13 go to semifinalists, and #14-15 go to the runner up and winner of MLS Cup 2008. Within each group, teams are ranked based on regular season record. Ties are broken the same way as the regular standings. For this preview, I'm assuming that the higher seeded teams will win each playoff series.

These picks are not included in the above order or the number of picks below. I would imagine the Guevara trade is for a high pick in the first half of the draft.

WVHooligan 9/10 - 2009 SuperDraft Projected Order:

But for now let’s dive back into this discussion. Now it may be still early to talk about this but I think we have a pretty clear understanding of somethings. The order I’ve decided to go with is determined as follows: #1-7 go to non-playoff teams and expansion club, #8-11 go to quarterfinalists, #12-13 go to semifinalists, and #14-15 go to the runner up and winner of MLS Cup 2008. Within each group, teams are ranked based on regular season record. Ties are broken the same way as the regular standings. Also, for this I will continue to notion that the higher seed will win their playoff series.

These picks are not included in the above order or the number of picks below but I’m going to assume the Guevara trade is for a high pick in the first half of the draft at the moment.

Not to mention the fact that he just copied and pasted the list of trades. And notice how he says he's planning to add a list of draft prospects, obviously planning future theft.

But wait, there's more!

Just from looking at the first half of the front page, I discovered several more instances of plagiarism. Imagine if I actually looked through the whole site!

WVHooligan rips off Buzz Carrick and 9/10 - Moor Four Year Deal

First reported by Soccer America and now confirmed by 3rd Degree, Drew Moor has signed a new four year contract.

Moor is one of FCD’s most consistent and reliable players.

Hopefully Cooper is next.

Unfortunately the article also says Cooper deal has stalled and FCD is prepping for a big move with all the allocation money they have collected.

WVHooligan 9/10 - Moor Gets Contract Extension

FC Dallas defender Drew Moor has signed a new four year contract with the club according to Soccer America and later confirmed by one of my sources.

Moor is one of club’s most consistent and reliable players, something not to many people have been able to do on that backline over the last few years.

Hopefully that means Kenny Cooper is next on the contract situation. Most figured he would be first and to a degree he is but things have stalled out from what I hear. Dallas is preparing to do something soon with all the allocation money that they’ve collected this season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them toss most of that into a contract for Cooper.

WVHooligan rips off Ives Galarcep and

Soccer By Ives 9/9 - World Cup Qualifying goes global on Wednesday

At the top of the menu is the juicy England-Croatia clash in Croatia. England surely hasn't forgotten how the Croats eliminated them from Euro 2008 qualifying and now the Crostians stand between them and an automatic berth in the World Cup.

* Croatia vs. England. England will look for revenge after Croatia kept them out of Euro 2008.
* France vs. Serbia. Coming off a loss, the French desperately need a win here. The Benzema-Vidic match-up is a can't-miss.
* Portugal vs. Denmark. A disappointing draw against Hungary has the Danes needing a result here against the Ronaldo-less Portuguese.
* Macedonia vs. Netherlands. Fresh off upsetting Scotland, the Macedonians will look to add another pelt against a Dutch team favored to win loaded Group Nine.
* Mexico vs. Canada. Mexico is nearly impossible to beat at home, but Canada needs a result to keep faint hopes of reaching the Hexagonal alive.
* Russia vs. Wales. After watching them in Euro 2008, would you miss a chance to watch Russia? Throw in Wales needing a win and this one has potential for good drama.
* North Korea vs. South Korea. The same week we see USA-Cuba, we get another politically-charged clash. This one is being played at a neutral site (Shanghai).
* Uruguay vs Ecuador. Uruguay can put itself in very good shape with a win while Ecuador needs a win to pull back in serious contention in CONMEBOL.
* Iceland vs. Scotland. After losing to Macedonia, the Scottish need three points here to avoid falling too far behind.
* Honduras vs. Jamaica. Honduras can start to pull away from the pack in its group with a win here. Jamaica needs a win here pull even with Hondurans (and possibly Canada if Canada pulls the upset).

WVHooligan 9/10 - World Cup Qualifying Schedule

Aside from the CONCACAF fun there are some great matches across the pond, particularly one in Croatia. That’s right its England-Croatia, round two. England surely hasn’t forgotten how the Croats eliminated them from Euro 2008 qualifying and now the Crostians stand between them and an automatic berth in the World Cup.

Some games to keep an eye out for:

* Croatia vs. England - England will look for revenge after Croatia kept them out of Euro 2008.
* Mexico vs. Canada - Mexico is nearly impossible to beat at home and Canada is probably already in desperation mode.
* North Korea vs. South Korea - Could this one be any bigger due to the politically-charged background? This one is being played at a neutral site (Shanghai).
* Uruguay vs Ecuador - Ecuador needs a win to pull back in serious contention in CONMEBOL.
* Honduras vs. Jamaica - Honduras can start to pull away from the pack in its group with a win here. Jamaica needs a win here, just simple as that.
* USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago - Oh yeah the US plays tonight. Better believe that Toyota Park is going to be a great venue for it too!


Funny how Ives' typo of Crostians is not even changed. It's obvious what this is about. WVHooligan is a site with plenty of ads, so Drew or Andrew Epperley is stealing other peoples' content in order to get traffic and make money. And he is not just doing this in soccer (apparently), here is another instance of this behavior.

Epperley was listed as a "journalist in the making" at West Virginia here, where he apparently graduated in 2006. He has a degree in journalism. I can only that his current or future employers google his name and read about what he has done.

WVHooligan is linked by Du Nord and other soccer blogs, and I think those links need to be taken down by site owners. I actually used to link to him myself, probably because he asked nicely or something.


(taken 9/11/2008)

CTL (1, 2, 3) vs WVHooligan (1, 2, 3)
3rd Degree (1) vs WVHooligan (1)
SBI (1, 2) vs WVHooligan (1, 2)

- Ripoff of my previous version of the Superdraft preview last month, I've since deleted the word "trade" from all the listings (just like him).

- Stealing my 2008 Superdraft preview.

- CTL is listed as a "Quality Soccer Read" by WVHooligan. Heh.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Forbes: MLS team values, revenue, profits/losses

Must read article of the year at It's great to see them finally doing this with MLS, as they've been doing it for other sports for years. Based on last year's data, 3 teams made a profit (LA, TOR, DAL). Overall, not counting San Jose, the league lost $20 million with $166 million in revenue.

LA has leads in all 3 categories, doubling the second place team (TOR) in each. KC, CLB, and RSL have the least revenue, while CLB and NY tied for losing the most money.

I'll summarize the data in chart form:

(numbers are in the millions)

Value Revenue Income
CHI 41 16 -3.1
CHV 24 10 -1.0
CLB 23 6 -4.5
COL 31 11 -2.2
DAL 39 15 0.5
DC 35 13 -3.0
HOU 33 10 -1.8
KC 22 5 -2.9
LA 100 36 4.0
NE 27 10 -1.5
NY 36 10 -4.5
RSL 30 7 -2.1
TOR 44 17 2.1

TOTAL 485 166 -20.0

Monday, September 08, 2008

MLS/WCQ Notes & Updates

1) Toronto FC had to make several emergency call ups this weekend due to their missing internationals. The whole debate about MLS playing during World Cup qualifying is one with an easy answer; it's just a matter of when the changes will happen, not if. John Carver and Mo Johnston can't expect a change to be made mid-season, which would be unprecedented in MLS history. Also, it would've helped had TFC actually used all their roster spots instead of letting a few go wasted.

But forget about the debate for a second, because there was a lot of interesting stuff surrounding that TFC versus Chivas match this week. Toronto called up 4 players via the "extreme hardship" rule: defenders Diaz Kambere, Tim Regan, and Rick Titus, plus goalkeeper David Monsalves. The first three started while Monsalves, who himself played a game for the team last year on another emergency loan, only sat the bench. I believe this is the first time since the rosters were expanded to 28 players (in 2005) that an MLS team has had to call up field players. Many goalkeepers have been used, because in order to trigger the loan you must only have one fit keeper which happens a couple times a year in the league. But in order to call up a field player, a team has to have less than 15 fit players for the match and that doesn't really happen with a 28 man roster.

Now there may have been an instance of an emergency loan field player making a team's gameday roster since 2005, but I'm pretty sure the last time one actually took the field was on October 6, 2004. That would be the night where Chris Carrieri returned to MLS for one night to play for the Chicago Fire in a loss to Columbus. That was the game where Edson Buddle hit that great free kick on the road.

The other notable thing involves Rick Titus. He played one season in MLS, for the Rapids in 2002, and was named the team's best defender (albeit for a team that gave up 1.71 goals per game). Still playing for amateur teams, at 39.49 years of age he became the 5th oldest player in MLS history (6th including all competitions). He also became the oldest TFC player, formerly held by Danny Dichio.

2) The 208-to-1: World Cup Eliminations post was updated. 6 more teams bit the dust this weekend. There's 2 more African matches on Wednesday, which could result in more eliminations. Other than that, we'll have to wait for next month to eliminate anyone else. It can be tricky to figure out CAF qualifying due to the 8/12 second place teams advancing, so thanks to JLSA for his work on the elimination scenarios on the Bigsoccer thread.

Only 121 teams remain, and all 32 of the 2006 World Cup teams are still alive. By this time four years ago, China had been ousted by Kuwait. Who will be the first to go this cycle? Trinidad & Tobago could be edged out by Guatemala, but that's unlikely to happen before November. That leaves Africa, where the current round will be done after the next match day in October and none of the five Germany representatives have progressed so far (standings)

Cote d'Ivoire and Tunisia are virtually assured of advancement. Ghana will likely advance with a home win over lowly Lesotho. Even though they're currently in third, any win will see them guaranteed at least second place and their 6 points in the second placed teams table probably will be enough. Angola, meanwhile, are in a much more dire situation. They can do no better than second place with 4 points, which will probably be right near the final spot. Second place should be easy enough to get thanks to Uganda losing to Niger, but they'll have to hope that other results go their way. Togo is also in danger in their 3-team group, although just one win in their final two games would probably be enough (6 points) to make it as a second placed team. But they have a tricky match at Zambia on Wednesday, and they are barred from playing their final game at home due to crowd troubles.

So it looks as if Angola are the most likely to go out. How great would be if both the teams that mess up the competition and make it way too complicated (Angola and South Africa) were to go out before the final round? We can only hope.

It's interesting to see the teams that shocked everyone by debuting in the World Cup finals two years ago in danger of elimination early on (Angola, Togo, Trinidad). Who will make their debut in 2010? There have been at least 3 debuting countries in every World Cup since 1982. Currently, 51 of the 121 teams remaining have never made it (list). CAF gives us the best shot, probably, while at least one of the AFC teams in the third place playoff between the two groups will be a candidate. Over this past weekend, Lithuania impressed by beating Romania away while Venezuela are falling behind. However, it doesn't look like many of the 51 teams have that good of a shot.

3) I enjoyed this post from the HexagonalBlog about hypothetical CONCACAF club coefficients like those used by UEFA.

I also enjoyed this list from The Best Eleven of the top WCQ upsets so far based on FIFA rank.

The Top 25 Oldest MLS Players

Also see:
EDIT 7/19/2011: Gregg Berhalter has now made it, albeit while serving as a player-coach. Keller's now up to third, while debutant goalkeepers Mondragon and Rost are also now among the top 25. Leaving are Lubos Kubik, Tony Meola, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

EDIT 12/9/2010: Forgot to update the oldest player for each team list - McBride is now first for Chicago, and Eduardo Coudet is tops for Philly.

EDIT 12/6/2010: End of season roundup:

Kasey Keller passed Claudio Suarez for 4th place on the all time list. Pat Onstad remains in 1st, while Brian McBride finshed at #15 and Preston Burpo is up to #22. Debuting at #25 is Guillermo Barros Schelotto, but who knows if he'll get the chance to go any higher. He knocks Jeff Agoos off both lists, as well as Juan Manuel Pena on the regular season list (who debuted on the list during the season, and was exactly tied with Agoos).

EDIT 5/11/2010: Pat Onstad is now the oldest player in league history.

EDIT 3/28/2010: Updated Burpo/McBride/Onstad ages. Off the top 25: Francisco Lima & Cobi Jones (regular season), Paul Caligiuri (all comps).

EDIT 3/26/2010: Updated for the new season. Keller is now 5th after the season opener. Brian McBride is now in the top 25 for the overall list (Lima off), and will make the regular season list this weekend. Preston Burpo will make it if he plays this weekend also. I'll be sure to update it again shortly.

EDIT 3/24/2009: Tony Sanneh returns from exile to become the Galaxy's oldest ever player, replacing Paul Caligiuri (37.33) and Cobi Jones (if you only consider the regular season - 37.35). Each of those two are knocked off of one of the top 25s, while Carlos Llamosa (37.25) also is gone. Sanneh debuts at 19th, while Kasey Keller also joins the list at 9th. Keller immediately sets a record for the oldest MLS debut ever (see link above) and also for oldest Sounders FC player. Meanwhile, Pat Onstad is now the second oldest player in league history. He just passed Carlos Valderrama, and Preki is only a little more than a year away.

EDIT 9/8/2008: Rick Titus' emergency loan resulted in him becoming the 5th oldest player in MLS history, and 6th oldest when taking into account all competitions. Oscar Pareja falls off. because of that. Titus is also the oldest TFC player ever, knocking off Danny Dichio. Meanwhile, Lima moves up a spot on the first list to 22nd.

EDIT 7/20/2008: Francisco Lima debuted and is now the 23rd oldest player in league history. Ronald Watereus drops off as a result. Meanwhile, Claudio Suarez is up to 4th.

All ages accurate through the 2010 season.

Top 25 Oldest MLS Players - REGULAR SEASON ONLY

Age Team Year
1 Onstad, Pat 43.22 DC 2011
2 Preki 42.31 KC 2005
3 Keller, Kasey 41.63 SEA 2011
4 Valderrama, Carlos 41.05 COL 2002
5 Suarez, Claudio 40.81 CHV 2009
6 Mondragon, Faryd 40.07 PHI 2011
7 Titus, Rick 39.49 TOR 2008
8 Matthaus, Lothar 39.47 NY 2000
9 Zenga, Walter 39.37 NE 1999
10 Dooley, Tom 39.32 NY 2000
11 Ravelli, Thomas 39.12 TB 1998
12 Warzycha, Robert 39.07 CLB 2002
13 Fraser, Robin 38.83 CLB 2005
14 Djorkaeff, Youri 38.60 NY 2006
15 McBride, Brian 38.34 CHI 2010
16 Johnston, Mo 38.33 KC 2001
17 Sanneh, Tony 38.28 LA 2009
18 Nowak, Peter 38.21 CHI 2002
19 Sanchez, Hugo 38.20 DAL 1996
20 Hislop, Shaka 38.18 DAL 2007
21 Rost, Frank 38.04 NY 2011
22 Haynes, Brian 38.00 DAL 2000
23 Berhalter, Gregg 37.94 LA 2011
24 Stoitchkov, Hristo 37.71 DC 2003
25 Burpo, Preston 37.67 NE 2010

Five active players on the list: Berhalter, Keller, Mondragon, Onstad, Rost.

The oldest player in league history timeline can be found here.

Top 25 Oldest MLS Players - ALL COMPETITIONS

Age Team Year
1 Onstad, Pat 43.28 DC 2011
2 Preki 42.31 KC 2005
3 Keller, Kasey 41.63 SEA 2011
4 Valderrama, Carlos 41.10 COL 2002
5 Suarez, Claudio 40.81 CHV 2009
6 Mondragon, Faryd 40.07 PHI 2011
7 Matthaus, Lothar 39.55 NY 2000
8 Titus, Rick 39.49 TOR 2008
9 Dooley, Tom 39.38 NY 2000
10 Zenga, Walter 39.37 NE 1999
11 Warzycha, Robert 39.18 CLB 2002
12 Ravelli, Thomas 39.12 TB 1998
13 Fraser, Robin 38.83 CLB 2005
14 Djorkaeff, Youri 38.62 NY 2006
15 Johnston, Mo 38.61 KC 2001
16 McBride, Brian 38.34 CHI 2009
17 Sanneh, Tony 38.28 LA 2009
18 Nowak, Peter 38.24 CHI 2002
19 Sanchez, Hugo 38.23 DAL 1996
20 Hislop, Shaka 38.18 DAL 2007
21 Rost, Frank 38.04 NY 2011
22 Haynes, Brian 38.00 DAL 2000
23 Berhalter, Gregg 37.94 LA 2011
24 Stoitchkov, Hristo 37.75 DC 2003
25 Burpo, Preston 37.67 NE 2010

Players in red have a different overall age compared to their regular season age.

Oldest Player for Each Team

CHI McBride, Brian
CHV Suarez, Claudio
CLB Warzycha, Robert
COL Valderrama, Carlos
DAL Sanchez, Hugo
DC Onstad, Pat
HOU Onstad, Pat
KC Preki
LA Sanneh, Tony
MIA Preki
NE Zenga, Walter
NY Matthaus, Lothar
Mondragon, Faryd
RSL Washington, Dante
Keller, Kasey
SJ Onstad, Pat
TB Valderrama, Carlos
TOR Titus, Rick


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Most Important September WCQ's

The most important qualifier for each region during the next week:

AFC: 9/6 - Saudi Arabia vs Iran

Three teams in Group 2 are expected to compete for the two automatic bids; they are these two and South Korea. Iran struggled a bit during the last round, waiting until the final matchday to advance. Given how often the other two qualify for the World Cup, I'd say Iran are the favorites to finish third. Here's their chance to prove otherwise.

CAF: 9/7 - Benin vs Angola

Three teams are competing for first place in the group. You have Benin on 9 points, with Angola and Uganda on 7 and two games left for each team. But while the standings seem to give Benin the advantage, the reality is that they are not in the greatest position. The other two teams still get to play pointless Niger, so in reality Benin is looking at a group where the other two teams are almost certainly at 10 points each already. The other two group matches are this one, and Uganda vs Benin next month. Even with two draws, they're not safe for the top two because their goal differential advantage could be eroded away due to the Niger matches. Angola meanwhile are pretty much eliminated with a loss.

Also, there's the threat that if all three leading teams end up with 11 points, then the second place team might not even advance (top 8 of 12 second place teams do). The results against the last place team are dropped, so in that scenario the second place finisher (determined by GD) would end up with 5 points. That total would probably be right near the 8th position.

CONCACAF: 9/6 - Canada vs Honduras

With their first two group games at home, Canada cannot end up with only 1 or 2 points and hope to advance. They simply have to make home field advantage count, which they didn't do four years ago. Four years ago, these same teams met in a game that was also the second semifinal stage match. Canada allowed an 88th minute penalty to tie the game, then had a winning goal disallowed. It gave them one point from two opening home games. After failing to beat Jamaica last month, they need to win this time unless they want to repeat the last cycle.

Meanwhile, Honduras played great against Mexico for most of the game, but ultimately lost the lead and the match. They usually play better than Canada, but on the road this should be a very even and exciting match.

9/10 - Chile vs Colombia

Everyone knows Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay will end up qualifying. These two teams are fighting it out for 4th and the automatic berth that comes with it. Chile will under tons of pressure to get a win after likely losing to Brazil a few days earlier.

OFC: 9/6 - New Caledonia vs New Zealand

Pretty obvious, huh? They're the only two teams still alive, and they play twice in five days to settle the group. NZ can end the drama right here with a win.

UEFA: 9/6 - Israel vs Switzerland

This group (with Greece) is wide open, and realistically any of the top three teams could win it. These two teams were in the same group four years ago, and if you'll remember, both finished undefeated with 4-0-6 marks. Both meetings in that group ended up as draws. Yet it was Switzerland who advanced to the playoffs on goal differential. That has to sting for Israel, and surely they'll be out for revenge now. They had another strong effort Euro qualification in a much harder group than this one, and seem likely to get over the hump someday soon.

I know a lot of people probably would pick Croatia-England, but I don't agree. Those two teams are huge favorites to finish 1-2 regardless of what happens in this match. Even if Croatia wins, England is favored to win the return match at home and then you're back to even.