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

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