Saturday, November 29, 2008

Most MLS Games Played Without Scoring

Post 2008 Update:

I'm just going to post this update in front of last year's, so you can see how the numbers have changed. Brandon Prideaux is still the leader, as he's been for at least the past two and a half years. If you'll remember (it's described below), Nick Garcia was one game away from tying him back in 2006 when he scored his only career goal to date (youtube).

Prideaux is so far out in front now (78 games), maybe we should start comparing to goalkeepers in addition to the field players. There's only 4 keepers ahead of him at this point. The sad/funny thing is, he only had one shot on goal this season, but it was a great chance to score. Check out 2:55 of this clip, where McBride and then Prideaux fail to score right in front of the net. Down 0-4 with no hope of a comeback, that would've been a fitting time to end it. But it didn't happen.

Most MLS Games Played Without Scoring (post-2008)

(non-goalkeepers, regular season games only)

1 Prideaux, Brandon 233
2 Pierce, Rusty 155
3 Leitch, Chris 138
4 Okaroh, Francis 114
5 Calichman, Dan 113
6 Wingert, Chris 110
7 Martinez, Chris 108
8 Pollard, Brandon 106
9 O'Rourke, Danny 96
10 Mendes, Carlos 95
11 Bonseu, Tenywa 87
12 Hernandez, Jason 81
12 Regan, Tim 81
14 Akwari, Nelson 78
15 Jakins, Tahj 73
16 John, Avery 64
17 Torres, Daniel 59
18 Michallik, Janusz 53
19 Herdsman, Stephen 51
20 Gargan, Dan 49
21 Cutler, Kenny 47
21 Lewis, Ricky 47
21 Soumare, Bakary 47
24 Ricchetti, Pablo 46
25 Cannon, Scott 45

Active MLS players in bold.

Changes from last year? There are 3 new players on the list, the 3 active guys near the bottom (Cutler, Soumare, Ricchetti). Scott Bower (24) and Joey Martinez (25) were passed up, while Marvell Wynne (19th) was the only man to leave the list through scoring a goal. The big movers this year were O'Rourke and Hernandez, both up 5 places.

Next year, Wingert should at least get to 4th, while Leitch is poised to take 2nd. Active players who could jump into the top 25 include Ante Jazic, Kurt Morsink, Mike Randolph, Nathan Sturgis, Tyson Wahl, and Tim Ward.

Post 2007 Update:

Checking up on this after a year and a half, the leader still stands alone at the top. Brandon Prideaux, now with the Rapids, has not scored a goal in 206 regular season games. It's a total of 17,216 minutes, which works out to about 12 full days worth of soccer. Ouch.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember what prompted me to update this in the middle of last season:

On June 28, 2006, Kansas City Wizards defender Nick Garcia scored his first Major League Soccer goal. He finally hit the net in his 181st regular season game, while on the same date Prideaux had already completed exactly 181 scoreless games. One game away from a share of the record, only to fall short. Now I'm sure Garcia was happy not to get that record, but it was a pretty big moment nonetheless.

Pretty big drama, as it worked out. Now, with his nearest rival almost two full seasons away from catching him, the drama lies with Prideaux himself. Wouldn't it be something if he could score in the last regular season game of 2007, finally freeing himself from this unwanted honor? Unfortunately, that can't happen as he was red carded against Chivas last weekend. Doh.

I would say Michael Parkhurst has the best chance of anyone on the list to beat out Prideaux. He's already 9th, although there's a long way to go (4 years). He's young, talented, and a sure starter, all giving him great potential. However, the most impressive thing is that he's listed by MLSnet as not taking a single shot in 86 games. If true, that's crazy.

EDIT: Ignore the above.

Prideaux has 20 shots, or about one every 10 games. Garcia has had 28 shots. Pierce and Leitch both have over 30 shots. You'd think that they're due. Interestingly, Carlos Mendes only has one shot in 77 games as well.

The alltime mark for consecutive scoreless games goes to Robin Fraser, who scored in his 10th MLS game on June 16, 1996. After that, he did not score in his last 250 league games before retiring.

Most MLS Games Played Without Scoring (post-2007)

(non-goalkeepers, regular season games only)

1 Prideaux, Brandon 206
2 Pierce, Rusty 155
3 Leitch, Chris 121
4 Okaroh, Francis 114
5 Calichman, Dan 113
6 Martinez, Chris 108
7 Pollard, Brandon 106
8 Bonseu, Tenywa 87
9 Wingert, Chris 81
10 Regan, Tim 80
11 Akwari, Nelson 78
11 Mendes, Carlos 78
13 Jakins, Tahj 73
14 O'Rourke, Danny 68
15 John, Avery 64
16 Torres, Daniel 59
17 Hernandez, Jason 53
17 Michallik, Janusz 53
19 Herdsman, Stephen 51
19 Wynne, Marvell 51
21 Gargan, Dan 49
22 Lewis, Ricky 47
23 Cannon, Scott 45
24 Bower, Scott 41
25 Martinez, Joey 40

Active players in bold.

Avery John scored in the playoffs to help eliminate the Crew in 2004. Don't know off the top of my head if any of the others have scored outside of the regular season. Also, no goalkeeper has ever scored a goal in MLS. Jorge Campos scored in the CONCACAF Champions Cup (I believe) for the Galaxy, but none in league play. I'll edit this post after the final regular season games. EDIT 10/22/2007: It's been edited. Joey Martinez replaces Michael Parkhurst, who scored in the final weekend of the season.

MLSnet error: Found this while double checking my numbers. They list Daniel Torres as having played only 51 games, omitting his 2003 season with Columbus. Oops.

MLS Waiver Draft History

UPDATE, Post-2008: Latest draft now included.

MLS usually has two waiver drafts during the year, one just before the season starts and another just after the season ends. When searching for info online, I found that there wasn't one place to find out the results of each edition. So that's the rationale behind this post.

A few notes. As you can see, there are several drafts for which I cannot find any information. They may not have taken place at all. I also want to point out this link at the American Soccer History site, which mentions four players taken (probably in the pre-1997 draft). So if you have any info on that or any of the missing years, please post it here.

In early 2002 there were two drafts, while in 2003 a supplemental draft was held (where Brian Ching was selected by SJ). That's not the same thing as a waiver draft though, because while those players were without a team, they had signed with the league and were not waived recently (even though two of them had been previously). I must also mention that the way the MLS waiver system used to be was that there was a specific order for teams to claim players based on the recent records of the teams. If you claimed a player off waivers, then you went to the back of the line. That happened when you selected a player in the waiver draft as well. So really, it could be said that technically there were many, many waiver drafts throughout the years. But I don't have the patience to figure all that out.

The team listed is the one that picked the player listed. Definitely the best pick would have to be Waibel IMO. I've provided sources for the results, except in a few cases where I forgot to record the link.

11/8/1996 Greg Lalas New England Link

Pre 1997 ???

11/17/1997 Mark Dougherty Columbus Link

Bill Harte Columbus

Pre 1998 ???

11/2/1998 Shawn Medved New England Link

Joey Martinez San Jose

Harut Karapetyan Tampa Bay

Garth Lagerwey Colorado

Kris Kelderman New England

4/4/1999 Leighton O'Brien San Jose

Tony Kuhn New England


11/24/1999 Nino Da Silva New York Link

Gabe Eastman San Jose

Mario Gori Columbus

3/16/2000 Mark Dougherty New England Link

Adam Frye Los Angeles

11/3/2000 Francis Okaroh San Jose Link

Steve Armas Tampa Bay

Seth George Chicago

3/29/2001 Andy Williams New England Link

Ben Stafford DC United

11/19/2001 (no selections)

1/17/2002 Imad Baba Colorado Link

Chad McCarty Columbus

2/14/2002 Ivan McKinley DC United Link

Eric Wynalda Los Angeles

11/6/2002 Craig Waibel San Jose Link

Luchi Gonzalez Columbus

Billy Sleeth Colorado

Pre 2003 ???

11/25/2003 (no selections)

3/4/2004 (no selections)

Post 2004 ???

Pre 2005 ???

11/16/2005 (no selections)

11/21/2006 Eric Denton New York

3/5/2007 Jon Busch Toronto Link

Post 2007 (no selections)

3/4/2008 Brandon Prideaux Chicago

Jeff Curtin DC United

Kyle Brown Houston

Mike Petke
New York

Monday, November 24, 2008

2008 MLS Expansion Draft

I've spent some time updating that page on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, as usual MLS only released the names of the exposed players, and not both. So I had to figure everything out myself.

A few notes:

1) NY has 14 players who aren't listed as exposed, which has to be a mistake. Obviously Terry Boss and Gabriel Cichero aren't going to be protected. The last guy is probably either Conway, Kandji, or Rojas. Still don't know 5 hours later.

2) I list retired players, MLS does not. I think there might also be a few missing players on the MLS lists other than on NY. For example, Scott Bolkan of the Galaxy isn't listed.

3) NE's list has Jose Angulo and Mauricio Matamoros. It turns out the latter player is actually Castro, as someone on Bigsoccer informed me. The former player is the young player Ives has mentioned a few times, but he is not currently on the Revs roster. Unless something happened today, that doesn't make sense. They also list Fernandez whom MLSnet lists as no longer on the roster.

Draft Preview

Don't get excited over guys like Gallardo, Gaven, Klein, Kovalenko, O'Brien, Razov, Ricketts, Ruiz, Victorine, and others with high salaries. Seattle might take one guy with a high salary, but almost all of them will be passed up in favor of cheaper, younger options. Unless they work out a trade.

NE traded Cristman because he was going to be left unprotected otherwise. I thought it was between him and Dube for the final spot, but it turns out that unlike what is listed on MLSnet, Dube is an international player. So Dube was protected as one of the three internationals. If you want the correct information people, you need to check out the game guides and not the roster pages.

Saragosa over Sikora and Robinson over Pappa initially seemed weird to me, but they both make sense. Pappa won't play for any other team based on his loan.

Loans and salaries certainly are an issue when it comes to protecting players, as are expiring contracts. Keep that in mind when evaluating these lists.

The true surprises of the protected players in my mind are:

CHV-Burling (Vaughn)
COL-Peterson (Harvey, Kimura)
CLB-O'Rourke (Evans, Noonan)
HOU-Boswell (Barrett)
KC-Marinelli (Trujillo)
LA-Jazic (Klein)
RSL-Russell (Sturgis)

I thought the guys in parenthesis would be more likely choices. KC had to protect a third international, and Trujillo's been getting more playing time. Boswell is a free agent, so that's interesting. Klein should have a bit of trade value, no? And it kind of shocks me to see O'Rourke there, who was probably the worst starter on the Crew. I guess that's because Marshall's contract is up.

The draft itself is on Wednesday, which sets up a very interesting situation. Houston plays their last CCL group stage match that night, so it's likely one of their players will be playing for them after being selected earlier in the day by Seattle.

Here's my early guess for the 10 selections:


DC, LA, SJ, TOR - none

Sunday, November 23, 2008

MLS Cup 2008 Survey Results

Thanks for participating. Here are the results from last year's similar survey, if you're interested. This year's survey was posted here, as well as on the MLS General forums at Bigsoccer, Soccerpubs and Soccerpulse.

MLS Cup 2008 Survey

(195 responses. Percentages are rounded.)

10. Are you a fan of either team in MLS Cup 2008?

Yes, Columbus 15%
Yes, New York 13%
No, neither 72%

This was the last question asked, but I'm putting it first for the results. Pretty even in terms of the two fanbases.

1. Who do you EXPECT to win MLS Cup 2008??

Columbus Crew 83%
New York Red Bulls 13%
Unsure 4%

Last year it was 50-41 in favor of Houston. This year, well nobody expects NY to win. The current line on Bet365 is 2.05-3.20-3.75 in favor of CLB. On paper, this is one of three biggest MLS Cup mismatches in league history (after 1997 and 2005). I won't include 2002 in that group because New England was at home.

2. Who do you WANT to win MLS Cup 2008?

Columbus Crew 64%
New York Red Bulls 24%
Unsure 12%

Slightly more people want RBNY to win that those who expect them to win. They still are by far the less popular choice though.

3. Who do you think is a better head coach?

Sigi Schmid 71%
Juan Carlos Osorio 18%
Unsure 11%

I thought this one would be closer. Osorio certainly knows how to succeed in the playoffs, but then again so does Schmid.

4. How many total goals do you expect will be scored in the game?

zero 1%
1 1%
2 9%
3 60%
4 24%
5 7%
6 0%
7+ 0%

In total, the predictions result in an expected average of 3.26 in the game. Last year, people were much less optimistic with a prediction of 2.39 because of Steve Nicol's presence. Well, if there ever was going to be a big blowout, this is the time.

5. Who is Columbus' best player?

Brian Carroll 1%
Brad Evans 0%
Eddie Gaven 0%
Frankie Hejduk 3%
Will Hesmer 0%
Chad Marshall 2%
Alejandro Moreno 2%
Gino Padula 0%
Robbie Rogers 5%
Guillermo Barros Schelotto 88%

Not even close, the MVP takes it.

6. Who is New York's best player?

Andrew Boyens 0%
Danny Cepero 2%
Kevin Goldthwaite 0%
Diego Jimenez 0%
Chris Leitch 0%
Juan Pablo Angel 89%
Dane Richards 1%
Sinisa Ubiparipovic 0%
Dave van den Bergh 8%
John Wolyniec 1%

Angel gets a slightly bigger percentage than Schelotto. I knew neither answer would be close but I still wanted to ask. When was the last time the MLS Cup matchup featured two teams whose best player was so obvious? Maybe 2002? Anyway, it's hard to believe some of these NY players could be starters on a championship team.

7. Which possible substitute will have the greatest impact on the game?

CLB - Emmanuel Ekpo 23%
CLB - Ezra Hendrickson 3%
CLB - Andy Iro 1%
CLB - Steven Lenhart 10%
CLB - Pat Noonan 26%
NY - Macoumba Kandji 19%
NY - Mike Magee 5%
NY - Carlos Mendes 1%
NY - Juan Pietravallo 2%
NY - Jorge Rojas 11%

Very interesting. First of all, this question may be a bit screwed up this year because of the possibility that Mendes and/or Rojas could end up starting.

Lenhart has a reputation for late game heroics, but he only came in 5th here. I'm a big surprised to see Ekpo so high, as you could think the other two CLB offensive subs would be more likely to score a late game winner. Personally, I voted for Rojas. I think NY is gonna be down by a goal or two in the second half, so if somebody is going to turn the game around it would likely be him. Although I don't expect that to happen.

I also thought Pietravallo would score much higher, simply because he's prone to screwing up. I wonder how many people considered this question in terms of having a negative impact?

8. How excited are you for this year's MLS Cup?

More excited than usual 43%
Less excited than usual 23%
About the same as usual 34%
Unsure 1%

I suppose supporters of the two teams in the final are more likely to respond to such a survey, affecting this question. They made up 28% of the survey takers. I'll have to separate the responses to see how the neutrals voted, like I did last year. I'll get around to that later.

9. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Don Garber is doing as MLS commissioner?

Approve 76%
Disapprove 8%
Unsure 15%

I have asked this question multiple times now:

Apr-07 85-2 +83
Aug-07 87-6 +81
Mar-08 87-3 +84
Nov-08 76-8 +66

Slight drop in the approval, but still extremely high. He really has nowhere to go but down.


I don't think there were many surprises in the survey results, and given the difference between the two teams that's be to expected. Today's game has all the makings of a one-sided affair, although that's what was said before the 3-0 shock in Houston. Speaking of 3 goal margins of victory, we've never had one in league history. We might not have a better opportunity for one than this year.

Even if NY scores first, the Crew should not be counted out. They've shown several times this year that they don't get discouraged when that happens. Reminds me of the Dynamo the past few years. So the smart pick is the Crew, and I really hope they win as well. Both for the good of the league, and so that I don't have to write a million words about the playoff system. Although I can't help but wonder if NY winning would help bring about change quicker...nah, I just can't stomach them winning under any circumstance.

Previous Surveys

January 30, 2007 - 2010 MLS/USMNT
April 6, 2007 - MLS 2007
August 5, 2007 - MLS/USMNT Summer Survey
November 17, 2007 - MLS Cup 2007
March 28, 2008 - MLS 2008
June 15, 2008 - USMNT 2010 Pre-Qualifying

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2009 MLS Changes

Here they are.

Let's take a look at them one by one:

1) The reserve division was eliminated and rosters have been reduced from 28 to 24. However, the number of senior roster spots has increased by two to 20.

Losing the 4 developmental spots results in a savings of $51,600 - $71,600 per year per team. However, that's offset changing 2 developmental spots changed into senior roster spots, at $30,200+ per year (likely more). Not to mention that the salary cap will continue to go up. So changing the spots wasn't done to save money, but rather to increase the talent level as teams should be able to add decent players to be #19-20 on the senior roster. There's also the reality that those final four spots aren't as necessary without the reserve division.

So why trash the reserve division? Apparently it wasn't worth the money spent. I guess once players have graduated from college, there's not much development left to be done. I certainly can understand that. Although, they certainly didn't commit fully to it. There were only 12 games per team, plus several this year and last were canceled and never made up. Plus there were many instances of teams forced to field guest players or goalkeepers out of position. With the 28 man rosters, you only have 14 players to work with who didn't play in the first team game, and that's before any injuries or absences.

While this is disappointing to hear, I don't think it's going to make much of a difference in terms of player development. We probably won't see as many late season signings from the USL like we did this year. And the 2009 draft (much like 2002) is turning out to be an unlucky one if you're a college senior.

2) Two conferences for 2009. If they aren't going to go to a single table with 15 teams, then why do it in 2010 for 16? Odds aren't looking good for that. Especially since Lew Wolff just revealed that he has an agreement with MLS for David Beckham's Galaxy to visit SJ twice a season for the first three years. How could a 30 game single table work under such a circumstance?

At least the possibility of it is acknowledged on MLSnet:

"With Philadelphia entering the frame in 2010, it's expected that a complete, home and away format will be used. Given such a setup, a push for a single table might once again gather steam, but Garber indicated that conferences -- and playoffs -- will remain a part of the league's future, with the postseason format remaining the same as in 2008."

3) I can't help but notice the comments by Garber over the past few days about the playoffs:

11/21 - "We believe in the playoffs."
From the State of the League address yesterday.

11/18 - "But I want to come back to the playoffs because I continue to scratch my head because of all the questions. I believe that our playoffs were very exciting and are important for the players, league and fans. While the system isn’t perfect and will continue to have to evolve, I don’t believe the league would be better without playoffs. It’s inconceivable to me to end the season without having a competition that will create these kinds of memorable moments that we’ve had this season."

From the NY Times blog interview with Jack Bell.

I have a few points to make. First of all, despite the comments, I'm encouraged by the fact that this is now an issue. I've never seen Garber talk about it so much before. That in itself is progress. It reminds me of the battle to "ban the shootout," when fans were subjected to many articles featuring quotes from Doug Logan saying that the shootout was popular, it's not going to be changed, and so on.

Now, I think at the very least in the short term the league should go to 7 playoff teams and give a bye to the top team. That's the format the USL First Division uses. People are talking about the validity of the playoffs this year because of the fact that for the very first time, a team with a losing record could become the league champion.

I want to repost what I said on Bigsoccer:
Don, you know why the playoff games are the most memorable? Because they're the only ones that matter.

The fact is, a team with a losing record that finished in the bottom half of the league can never be a deserving champion. New York winning would be an embarrassment to the league.

The reason people make such a big deal about this in soccer as opposed to other American sports is because soccer has a tradition of rewarding the best team. And soccer traditions are more important than American sports traditions. If you didn't believe that, then why make every other move in that direction?
I'm pretty sure that NY would go down as the worst champion in the history of the USA's top 5 sports. Haven't checked it out, and hopefully after tomorrow's game I won't feel the need to.

I could easily write 10 pages on this issue, as it really gets me going. I will just say once again, that I feel that eliminating the playoffs should be a long term goal for MLS. And comments like the ones made in the final paragraph here by Garber only make me more steadfast.

4) The playoff format was slightly tweaked again, as next year due to the uneven conferences once again only the top two in each conference will qualify (like in 2007). Good move, as the switch this year threatened to allow a team in the top 8 to miss out.

5) The schedule will be extended by a week and some measures will be taken to help with FIFA date conflicts. Good first move for now. The interesting thing here is that Garber states that the results of an analysis show that honoring all FIFA dates would result in a loss of $3-5 million. It's true that the attendances don't suffer much if at all, but the fan bases are becoming more sophisticated. Eventually the league will be avoiding every international window when there are enough hardcore fans to attend weekday games.

Of course, it also ties into the playoff debate. If you're going to have playoffs, it isn't a huge deal to have a few games affected since the position a team finishes in doesn't matter much.

But what really makes me wonder is the analysis they mentioned with the estimated losses. I'd love to see the results of a similar study in regards to eliminating the playoffs. No games would be lost, since the season could just be extended. Hmm...

6) All teams will participate in the 2009 US Open Cup. This is an ambiguous statement, which I can only hope means that all 14 American MLS teams will enter in the same round. That was the case in 2000 and 2001, which led to some of the biggest shocks in the tournament's recent history as all MLS teams entered in the round of 32. With the reserve league gone, I don't see why they couldn't do that once again. It's only one more game than this year, and MLS reserves always play in the tournament's early rounds anyway.

It would be great to have MLS teams playing USL-2 and amateur teams right away. Besides, all teams should get to officially enter the cup, sparing us from a convoluted and unfair qualifying format like we saw this season.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Take the MLS Cup 2008 Survey!

click here (survey over)

I want to know your opinions on the game, as well as the teams, coaches, and players in it. Please answer the 10 questions on who will win, who each team's best player is, which substitute will have the greatest impact, and so on.

Results will be posted on Saturday night.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Foul Award Winners 2008

It's time once again to look at the official numbers for fouls committed and fouls suffered, and to put them in the context of "per 90 minutes" rather than just raw totals. Then, we can compare super-subs and iron men alike to figure out which MLS players took home the "foul awards" for 2008.

Here are the categories:

1. Most Fouls Committed
2. Least Fouls Committed
3. Most Fouls Suffered
4. Least Fouls Suffered
5. Most FC Compared to FS
6. Most FS Compared to FC
7. Most FC + FS
8. Least FC + FS

The only requirement I have is that players must have played 20% of the total number of minutes for the season. This year, that was 540 out of 2700. Also, no goalkeepers are considered, only field players.

Before I hand out any awards, I have to take a moment to note the total number of fouls in the league this season. I've mentioned this before, but every year there are always more fouls committed than suffered, likely due to handballs and things of that nature. This season, when you add up the team totals on the 2008 stats page on MLSnet, you get 5,221 FC compared to 4,880 FS. Plus, when you add up the individual player stats (which only list two goalkeepers, Louis Crayton and Dan Kennedy), you get 5,194 and 4,829. I wish they included the keepers.

Then there's the fact that the number of fouls per game is way down from past years. Actually, the total number of fouls committed is down from last year, despite 15 more matches. In fact, this year's numbers are about 3 fouls per game less than any other year. Just look at the chart below. Has MLS and its referees changed the way they called the games, or has the scorekeeping changed? Or maybe the style of play?

1996 4432 4386 46 160 27.70 27.41
1997 4583 4579 4 160 28.64 28.62
1998 5402 5132 270 192 28.14 26.73
1999 5551 5285 266 192 28.91 27.53
2000 6489 6236 253 192 33.80 32.48
2001 5211 4966 245 158 32.98 31.43
2002 4559 4364 195 140 32.56 31.17
2003 4836 4584 252 150 32.24 30.56
2004 4573 4348 225 150 30.49 28.99
2005 5670 5432 238 192 29.53 28.29
2006 5573 5297 276 192 29.03 27.59
2007 5524 5232 292 195 28.33 26.83
2008 5211 4880 331 210 24.81 23.24

So the numbers are what they are. I just analyze what's there. I started a thread on the referee forum on Bigsoccer, let's see what they have to say. Apparently refs have been instructed not to interrupt the flow of the game as much? Anyway, on to the awards.

1. Most Fouls Committed

And the winner is...

DC United's Rod Dyachenko. Zero goals in 2008 to go along with this. Goff said recently he should be waived. On the bright side, last year's winner of this award is now doing pretty well for the Montreal Impact.

2008 Top Ten

Team Per 90 Min FC
1 Rod Dyachenko DC 3.479 776 30
2 Atiba Harris CHV 3.262 2014 73
3 Fred DC 2.663 1690 50
4 Justin Braun CHV 2.658 1219 36
5 Ely Allen LA 2.653 848 25
6 Alan Gordon LA 2.603 1314 38
7 Sinisa Ubiparipovic NY 2.521 821 23
8 Jozy Altidore NY 2.436 665 18
9 Carlos Marinelli KC 2.429 778 21
10 Kheli Dube NE 2.372 1252 33

Three rookies on the list. Harris makes his third straight top ten, while Gordon is here for the second time (2006).

All Time Winners

1996 Jose Vasquez LA
1997 Paul Keegan NE
1998 Paul Keegan NE
1999 Paulo Dos Santos NE
2000 Matt Okoh COL
2001 Matt Okoh NE
2002 Raul Palacios COL
2003 Carlos Ruiz LA
2004 Jesse Marsch CHI
2005 Brian Ching SJ
2006 Marcelo Saragosa LA/DAL
2007 Roberto Brown COL
2008 Rod Dyachenko DC

2. Least Fouls Committed

And the winner is...

Terry Cooke of the Colorado Rapids, only 5 fouls for the season. He has 21 fouls in 96 career MLS games, and he's now lead this category for the third straight year (with another top ten in 2005).

2008 Top Ten

Team Per 90 Min FC
1 Terry Cooke COL 0.265 1698 5
2 Stephen King CHI 0.316 854 3
3 Michael Parkhurst NE 0.321 2520 9
4 Dax McCarty DAL 0.329 821 3
5 Jacob Peterson COL 0.354 762 3
6 Aaron Hohlbein KC 0.389 1158 5
7 Claudio Lopez KC 0.397 2265 10
8 Cuauhtemoc Blanco CHI 0.413 2398 11
9 Tomasz Frankowski CHI 0.430 628 3
10 Danleigh Borman NY 0.499 721 4

Parkhurst is Cooke's main rival year in and year out, never finishing lower than third.

All Time Winners

1996 Billy Thompson CLB
1997 David Patino COL
1998 Gerell Elliot DAL
1999 Kevin Knight NY
2000 Carlos Valderrama TB
2001 Robin Fraser COL
2002 Richard Farrer DAL
2003 Jesus Ochoa LA
2004 Kelly Gray CHI
2005 Michael Parkhurst NE
2006 Terry Cooke COL
2007 Terry Cooke COL
2008 Terry Cooke COL

3. Most Fouls Suffered

And the winner is...

Another DC player, Marcelo Gallardo. No surprise to see a playmaker win the award, though I'm surprised Blanco didn't pull a repeat. Too bad MG wasn't healthy more often.

2008 Top Ten

Team Per 90 Min FS
1 Marcelo Gallardo DC 3.333 1161 43
2 Herculez Gomez COL/KC 2.981 1238 41
3 Cuauhtemoc Blanco CHI 2.852 2398 76
4 Robbie Rogers CLB 2.815 2334 73
5 Kei Kamara SJ/HOU 2.726 1552 47
6 Davy Arnaud KC 2.585 2019 58
7 Guillermo Barros Schelotto CLB 2.559 2216 63
8 Alejandro Moreno CLB 2.558 2428 69
9 Kenny Mansally NE 2.390 979 26
10 Bruno Guarda DAL 2.299 822 21

Schelotto repeats from last year. But the interesting guy to pay attention to here is his teammate, Moreno. The target man has been on the top ten for 6 of the past 7 years. Arnaud and Gomez have also been here before, in perhaps their best seasons (2004 & 2005 respectively).

All Time Winners

1996 Giuseppe Galderisi NE/TB
1997 Damian DAL
1998 Diego Serna MIA
1999 Jason Moore DC
2000 DaMarcus Beasley CHI
2001 Onandi Lowe KC
2002 DaMarcus Beasley CHI
2003 Jose Cancela NE
2004 Davy Arnaud KC
2005 Alejandro Moreno SJ
2006 Jose Cancela NE
2007 Cuauhtemoc Blanco CHI
2008 Marcelo Gallardo DC

4. Least Fouls Suffered

And the winner is...

The Crew's 37 year old backup defender, Ezra Hendrickson. One FS in 688 minutes, which sets an all time record mark of 0.131 FS per 90 minutes. You can't say it's due to age, since this is the 6th time he's made the top ten in this category. But he knows a thing or two about winning championships.

2008 Top Ten

Team Per 90 Min FS
1 Ezra Hendrickson CLB 0.131 688 1
2 Clint Mathis RSL 0.153 590 1
3 Matias Mantilla RSL 0.162 554 1
4 Marco Velez TOR 0.228 1973 5
5 Duilio Davino DAL 0.276 1958 6
6 Craig Waibel HOU 0.289 1245 4
7 Jim Brennan TOR 0.292 2462 8
8 Abel Xavier LA 0.316 854 3
9 Michael Parkhurst NE 0.321 2520 9
10 Stephen Keel COL 0.333 540 2

Waibel is the only other player to make a top ten before; this is his fourth. Pretty shocking to see Mathis up there, huh?

All Time Winners

1996 Richard Weiszmann NE
1997 Joey Martinez DAL
1998 Kris Kelderman MIA
1999 Leo Cullen MIA
2000 Brian Johnson KC
2001 Edson Buddle CLB
2002 Zak Ibsen SJ
2003 Daouda Kante NE
2004 Hong Myung-Bo LA
2005 Kenny Cutler RSL
2006 Kelly Gray HOU
2007 Bobby Boswell DC
2008 Ezra Hendrickson CLB

5. Most FC Compared to FS

And the winner is...

Double awards for Rod Dyachenko. No surprise that the leader for fouls committed would also lead this category, although that's only the 4th time in 13 years that one man has led both. Dyachenko committed 2.204 more fouls per 90 minutes than he suffered.

2008 Top Ten

Team Per 90
1 Rod Dyachenko DC 2.204 776 30 11 3.48 1.28
2 Carlos Marinelli KC 1.620 778 21 7 2.43 0.81
3 Wilman Conde CHI 1.594 1750 39 8 2.01 0.41
4 Ely Allen LA 1.486 848 25 11 2.65 1.17
5 Justin Braun CHV 1.477 1219 36 16 2.66 1.18
6 Joe Vide SJ/DC 1.458 864 21 7 2.19 0.73
7 Carlos Mendes NY 1.400 964 20 5 1.87 0.47
8 Kelly Gray COL/SJ 1.390 842 20 7 2.14 0.75
9 Alan Gordon LA 1.370 1314 38 18 2.60 1.23
10 Fred DC 1.278 1690 50 26 2.66 1.38

Gordon also made the top ten in 2006.

All Time Winners

1996 Curt Onalfo LA
1997 Cle Kooiman TB
1998 Cle Kooiman MIA
1999 Geoff Aunger DC
2000 Ricardo Iribarren DAL
2001 Brian Namoff DC
2002 Raul Palacios COL
2003 Diego Walsh CLB
2004 Simo Valakari DAL
2005 Esteban Arias CHV
2006 Marcelo Saragosa LA/DAL
2007 Roberto Brown COL
2008 Rod Dyachenko DC

6. Most FS Compared to FC

And the winner is...

The Chicago Fire's Cuauhtemoc Blanco wins here for the second straight year. Last year he blew everyone away with a winning number of -3.869, but this time he barely held off Gallardo.

2008 Top Ten

Team Per 90 Min FC FS FC FS
1 Cuauhtemoc Blanco CHI -2.440 2398 11 76 0.41 2.85
2 Marcelo Gallardo DC -2.403 1161 12 43 0.93 3.33
3 Herculez Gomez COL/KC -1.672 1238 18 41 1.31 2.98
4 Robbie Rogers CLB -1.658 2334 30 73 1.16 2.81
5 Eddie Gaven CLB -1.558 1848 11 43 0.54 2.09
6 Guillermo Barros Schelotto CLB -1.543 2216 25 63 1.02 2.56
7 Davy Arnaud KC -1.516 2019 24 58 1.07 2.59
8 Taylor Twellman NE -1.412 1211 7 26 0.52 1.93
9 Jaime Moreno DC -1.402 1861 17 46 0.82 2.22
10 Alejandro Moreno CLB -1.297 2428 34 69 1.26 2.56

Several guys here have made mutiple appearances in the top ten: Arnaud (3rd) Gaven (3rd), J.Moreno (4th), and A.Moreno (4th). Twellman's been close to making the top ten many times, and this year he finally did it.

All Time Winners

1996 Giuseppe Galderisi NE/TB
1997 Damian DAL
1998 Gilmar TB
1999 Jason Moore DC
2000 DaMarcus Beasley CHI
2001 Onandi Lowe KC
2002 Brian McBride CLB
2003 Jose Cancela NE
2004 Jose Cancela NE
2005 Jose Cancela NE
2006 Jose Cancela NE
2007 Cuauhtemoc Blanco CHI
2008 Cuauhtemoc Blanco CHI

7. Most FC + FS

And the winner is...

The young and reckless Atiba Harris of Chivas USA. He's now claimed this category for the second time in three years.

2008 Top Ten

Team Per 90 Min FC FS FC FS
1 Atiba Harris CHV 5.497 2014 73 50 3.26 2.23
2 Kei Kamara SJ/HOU 4.755 1552 35 47 2.03 2.73
Rod Dyachenko DC 4.755 776 30 11 3.48 1.28
4 Kheli Dube NE 4.529 1252 33 30 2.37 2.16
5 Jozy Altidore NY 4.466 665 18 15 2.44 2.03
6 Kenny Mansally NE 4.413 979 22 26 2.02 2.39
7 Herculez Gomez COL/KC 4.289 1238 18 41 1.31 2.98
8 Marcelo Gallardo DC 4.264 1161 12 43 0.93 3.33
9 Wells Thompson NE 4.237 786 17 20 1.95 2.29
10 Sinisa Ubiparipovic NY 4.166 821 23 15 2.52 1.64

This is always an interesting category to look at because you have guys here who have led both the most FC and most FS categories. You have your physical forwards up here too (such as the recently suspended for elbow-throwing Kei Kamara). Altidore was here last year as well.

All Time Winners

1996 Alberto Naveda NE
1997 Paul Keegan NE
1998 Evans Wise NE/TB
1999 Paulo Dos Santos NE
2000 Diego Serna MIA
2001 Onandi Lowe KC
2002 Alejandro Moreno LA
2003 DaMarcus Beasley CHI
2004 Andy Williams CHI
2005 Brian Ching SJ
2006 Atiba Harris RSL
2007 Andrea Lombardo TOR
2008 Atiba Harris CHV

8. Least FC + FS

And the winner is...

Mikey Fairplay himself, Michael Parkhurst of the New England Revolution. On average, he commits one foul and suffers one foul every third game. At this rate, he should be able to play until he's 50.

2008 Top Ten

Team Per 90 Min FC FS FC FS
1 Michael Parkhurst NE 0.643 2520 9 9 0.32 0.32
2 Terry Cooke COL 0.742 1698 5 9 0.27 0.48
3 Stephen Keel COL 0.833 540 3 2 0.50 0.33
4 Duilio Davino DAL 0.919 1958 14 6 0.64 0.28
5 Aaron Hohlbein KC 0.933 1158 5 7 0.39 0.54
6 Jim Brennan TOR 0.950 2462 18 8 0.66 0.29
7 Claudio Lopez KC 0.954 2265 10 14 0.40 0.56
8 Danleigh Borman NY 0.999 721 4 4 0.50 0.50
9 Wade Barrett HOU 1.082 2328 18 10 0.70 0.39
10 Dax McCarty DAL 1.096 821 3 7 0.33 0.77

Parkhurst and Barrett make their 4th top ten, while Cooke makes his third. Parkhurst is just a bit off the record mark he set last year (0.614). One less foul either way would've set a new one.

All Time Winners

1996 Frank Yallop TB
1997 David Patino COL
1998 Leo Cullen MIA
1999 Leo Cullen MIA
2000 Eric Denton DC
2001 Leo Cullen MIA/NE
2002 Richard Farrer DAL
2003 Chris Brown KC/NE
2004 Kelly Gray CHI
2005 Clyde Simms DC
2006 Terry Cooke COL
2007 Michael Parkhurst NE
2008 Michael Parkhurst NE