Monday, August 30, 2010

2010 MLS Remaining SOS: 8/30 Update

I first posted on this two weeks ago, now here's an update.

Here is the remaining strength of schedule for each team, ranked by the average points per game of their opponents. The number of home/away games remaining for each team is listed in the other column.

Remaining SOS - Opponents' Overall PPG

1 HOU 1.19 4-4
2 SJ 1.22 5-5
3 TOR 1.25 3-6
4 CLB 1.26 3-5
5 KC 1.30 4-5
6 SEA 1.32 3-5
7 LA 1.34 5-3
8 CHV 1.34 5-4
9 CHI 1.41 6-5
10 COL 1.41 5-4
11 PHI 1.45 6-3
12 DC 1.45 4-4
13 DAL 1.46 5-4
14 RSL 1.47 4-4
15 NE 1.49 4-5
16 NY 1.50 4-4

Remaining SOS - Opponents' Home/Away PPG

1 HOU 1.12
2 LA 1.24
3 CHV 1.26
4 SJ 1.28
5 COL 1.32
6 DC 1.33
7 TOR 1.35
8 KC 1.35
9 CLB 1.35
10 DAL 1.35
11 PHI 1.37
12 SEA 1.37
13 CHI 1.38
14 NY 1.43
15 NE 1.50
16 RSL 1.52


Saturday, August 28, 2010

2010 MLS Expansion Draft - Preview

Time to start thinking about this once again. This year it's a bit more complicated as two teams will be making selections, but I don't expect the number of protected players (11) to change. Especially since that same number was recently referenced after Portland was announced as picking first on Whether or not teams will be able to protect an additional player after losing one like in 2004 remains unknown.

Before I get into each team's likely 11, it's important to understand a few things about the draft:

  • The Generation Adidas players. As of now, I'm predicting the following 9 to graduate: Colaluca, Cruz, Espinoza, Frei, Gavin, Husidic, Najar, Shea, and Zayner. I feel pretty good about all of those except for Najar, since he's a homegrown player and it's unknown how they'll be treated.
  • Speaking of homegrown players, per the above article they will be exempt.
  • International status is highly important. It's the reason Kansas City had to protect Kevin Souter last year, and why Houston had to protect Guy-Roland Kpene in 2008. You're required to protect at least 3 international players, unless you only have 3 or fewer. The real hiccup here is green cards, which let international players count as domestic and make things complicated.
  • A link to the current salaries is here. Previous expansion draft lists can be found on Wikipedia (where I helped put together several of the articles).

Below are my current picks for each team's 11. Players in bold are the ones I consider to be virtual locks to be protected.


Protected Available Exempt
Calen Carr Mike Banner Corben Bone
Nery Castillo C.J. Brown Sean Johnson
Wilman Conde Andrew Dykstra Victor Pineda
Baggio Husidic Collins John

Steven Kinney Krzysztof Krol
Freddie Ljungberg Peter Lowry

Patrick Nyarko Brian McBride

Marco Pappa Dasan Robinson

Logan Pause John Thorrington

Gonzalo Segares Deris Umanzor

Kwame Watson-Siriboe

As I talked about in the GA article above, rookie goalkeepers always seem to be given a second year of protected status. So like Stephen Frei a year ago, Johnson should remain GA for 2011 and the Fire shouldn't have to worry about that.

There's no reason to protect McBride and his $400k salary, unless he has some sort of no-trade clause. Thorrington has been protected for the past two years, but being injured and costing 200k should mean he's unlikely to be taken. The two DPs may be unlikely selections, but it's hard to leave them off. We'll probably know more about Ljungberg's intentions by the season's end.

C.J. Brown is unlikely to leave Chicago, and he's rumored to retire every year. That's why Watson-Siribie is there ahead of him. Carr could easily be usurped by John depending on how the rest of the season goes.


Protected Available Exempt
Carlos Borja Jonathan Bornstein Bryan de la Fuente
Justin Braun Chukwudi Chijindu Cesar Zamora
Blair Gavin Yamith Cuesta
Michael Lahoud DarĂ­o Delgado
Giancarlo Maldonado Rodolfo Espinoza
Paulo Nagamura Jorge Flores
Jesus Padilla Maykel Galindo
Zach Thornton Alan Gordon
Michael Umana Ante Jazic
Ben Zemanski Dan Kennedy
Sal Zizzo Eduardo Lillingston

Gerson Mayen

Osael Romero

Marcelo Saragosa

Mariano Trujillo

Alex Zotinca

Zizzo didn't sign a GA contract, did he? I didn't see anything to say that he did, like some players who are assigned through weighted lotteries.

As always, Chivas is a really hard team to predict due to the lack of media attention and the large number of new foreign players they bring in every year. No less than 5 Chivas players have green cards, and Padilla is an American. The international players are: Cuesta/Delgado/Espinoza/Maldonado/Nagamura/Romero/Umana.

Bornstein's departure means he can be left unprotected. If the expansion teams are smart, they'll take him anyway (like Philadelphia should've done with Segares).


Protected Available Exempt
Julien Baudet Andre Akpan Davy Armstrong
Conor Casey Quincy Amarikwa Ciaran O'Brien
Colin Clark Mehdi Ballouchy
Omar Cummings Steward Ceus
Kosuke Kimura Danny Earls
Jeff Larentowicz Michael Holody
Pablo Mastroeni Ian Joyce
Drew Moor Ross LaBauex
Matt Pickens Claudio Lopez
Jamie Smith Scott Palguta
Marvell Wynne Ross Schunk

Wells Thompson

Anthony Wallace

Pretty easy to predict for the most part. It's between Smith and Ballouchy for the third international spot (Kimura doesn't count). Amarikwa or Thompson could make an run at the eleven. Some Rapids fans have suggested than Clark could be left unprotected. Will the back to back season ending injuries cause the Rapids to lose a little confidence in him? We'll see.


Protected Available Exempt
Brian Carroll Guillermo Barros Schelotto Dilly Duka
Emmanuel Ekpo Eric Brunner
Shaun Francis Kevin Burns
Eddie Gaven Jason Garey
William Hesmer Leandre Griffit
Andy Iro Andy Gruenebaum
Steven Lenhart Frankie Hejduk
Chad Marshall Andres Mendoza
Adam Moffat Duncan Oughton
Danny O'Rourke Gino Padula
Emilio Renteria Robbie Rogers

Here we have several likely candidates for Portland's first selection. A lot to discuss here.

Hejduk wasn't protected a year ago, so that should happen again. Meanwhile, it seems like they might only have room for one of Brunner and Iro. Francis has grabbed the left back position, and is a minimum salary rookie. No question he's protected.

So why did I leave Schelotto off? Given his legend-like status with the team, I wouldn't bet against him being protected. However, I feel like he's highly unlikely to be taken. Not because he can't contribute any more, or that he might retire rather than leave the Crew. A team could always pull a Mo Johnston and take him (like Toronto did with Jason Kreis). The thing is, there's several really good choices on the Crew already that make me believe he wouldn't be selected. Toronto only got a partial allocation in return for Kreis; getting Brunner or Rogers is better than that.

I haven't even mentioned the international quotas yet. Ekpo already holds a green card, while Iro and Schelotto are reportedly very close to receiving theirs, making them count as domestic. If that happens before the end of the year, then the three protected internationals should be Francis/Moffat/Renteria. The only other choices are Griffit/Mendoza.


Protected Available Exempt
Jair Benitez Eric Alexander Eric Avila
David Ferreira Marvin Chavez Bruno Guarda
Atiba Harris Jeff Cunningham Josh Lambo
Kevin Hartman Kyle Davies Bryan Leyva
Daniel Hernandez Edson Edward Ruben Luna
Ugo Ihemelu Jackson Peri Marosevic
George John Zach Loyd Andrew Wiedeman
Dax McCarty Dario Sala
Heath Pearce Jason Yeisley
Milton Rodriguez

Brek Shea

Dallas only has a few foreign choices. After Benitez/Ferreira, they'll have to protect one of Chavez/Jackson/Rodriguez (or Guarda if he graduates).

Cunningham makes over 200k, and he hasn't been starting. I can't see him taking anyone's place. Alexander or Loyd are probably the next guys in line. Ihemelu makes 150k and Hernandez is 33 years old. Could either lose out to one of those rookies?


Protected Available Exempt
Marc Burch Danny Allsopp Bill Hamid
Pablo Hernandez Brandon Barklage Conor Shanosky
Dejan Jakovic Branko Boskovic
Julius James Adam Cristman
Stephen King Jordan Graye
Andy Najar Devon McTavish
Santino Quaranta Jaime Moreno
Chris Pontius Kurt Morsink
Clyde Simms Andrew Quinn
Rodney Wallace Juan Manuel Pena
Jed Zayner Troy Perkins

Barry Rice

Carey Talley

Jakovic/James are locks due to the internationals rule. The third could be Allsopp/Boskovic/Hernandez/Pena. King and Zayner should be protected due to the investment that DC has in them (the draft picks traded). I could easily see Graye making this list as well, maybe in place of Quaranta? The addition of Zayner could push him back in the pecking order, though.

Speaking of investment, does that mean Perkins could be protected? It has to be a decent possibility despite his salary and level of play this season. Anyway, the big question for DC is whether or not Najar is going to graduate to senior roster status.


Protected Available Exempt
Bobby Boswell Samuel Appiah Tyler Deric
Geoff Cameron Corey Ashe Francisco Navas Cobo
Brian Ching Mike Chabala
Danny Cruz Ryan Cochrane
Brad Davis Richard Mulrooney
Andrew Hainault Joseph Ngwenya
Tally Hall Pat Onstad
Brian Mullan Eddie Robinson
Anthony Obodai Adrian Serioux
Dominic Oduro Cam Weaver
Lovel Palmer

3/5 following internationals: Appiah/Hainault/Obodai/Palmer/Serioux. Ngwenya holds a green card, as does Onstad.

There isn't a whole lot of mystery here. Hall was protected a year ago, so I assume he'll continue to be. Ashe was protected last season, but not in the previous three years. Along with Ashe/Hall, Chabala/Oduro are cheap players getting a lot of playing time. Which ones represent the future of the team? Could they be favored over a vet like Mullan? I remember Wade Barrett was left off after 2008, and that was the beginning of the end for him.


Protected Available Exempt
Davy Arnaud Korede Aiyegbusi Teal Bunbury
Stephane Auvray Jamar Beasley Chance Myers
Matt Besler Sunil Chhetri
Jimmy Conrad Birahim Diop
Roger Espinoza Zoltan Hercegfalvi
Michael Harrington Aaron Hohlbein
Kei Kamara Jack Jewsbury
Jimmy Nielsen Nick Kounenakis
Craig Rocastle Eric Kronberg
Ryan Smith Jonathan Leathers
Shavar Thomas Josh Wolff

Graham Zusi

One of the easiest teams to predict. If Myers graduates from GA, then he's a lock. I don't believe Omar Bravo will need to be protected, since he won't join the team until next season.

Who else on the available list could be protected? Maybe Zusi. Certainly not Wolff.


Protected Available Exempt
David Beckham Gregg Berhalter Tristan Bowen
Chris Birchall Alex Cazumba
Edson Buddle Bryan Jordan
A. J. DeLaGarza Juninho
Landon Donovan Jovan Kirovski
Todd Dunivant Chris Klein
Sean Franklin Dema Kovalenko
Omar Gonzalez Eddie Lewis
Mike Magee Leonardo
Donovan Ricketts Yohance Marshall
Michael Stephens Brian Perk

Josh Saunders

Loan players are really tricky to predict. It's possible that the Galaxy could protect several of their Brazilians, especially Juninho, rather than the non-locks listed.

Other than that, it's another easy list. I only list two changes from last year: Dunivant/Stephens instead of Berhalter/Kovalenko. Dunivant is probably the final guy, and may be left out once again. But I don't see any of the non-Brazilians beating him out. I mean, Berhalter is 37 and makes $180,000.


Protected Available Exempt
Kevin Alston Zak Boggs
Darrius Barnes Preston Burpo
Kheli Dube Nico Colaluca
Cory Gibbs Jason Griffiths
Shalrie Joseph Edgaras Jankauskas
Kenny Mansally Roberto Linck
Sainey Nyassi Tim Murray
Emmanuel Osei Pat Phelan
Marko Perovic Bobby Shuttleworth
Matt Reis Seth Sinovic
Zack Schilawski Khano Smith

Ilija Stolica

Chris Tierney

Taylor Twellman

It looks as though Twellman will be finally left unprotected, if he doesn't retire. Currently, he's one of only 34 players to be protected every year from 2006-09.

Dube has been protected for two straight seasons, though it seems like Revolution fans don't think he deserves to be there this year. Boggs/Phelan/Sinovic/Tierney may be in contention. Stolica should be left off thanks to his big contract (218k), while the status of Perovic/Reis may be up in the air also due to money (180k each).


Protected Available Exempt
Chris Albright Danleigh Borman Juan Agudelo
Juan Pablo Angel Andrew Boyens Giorgi Chirgadze
Bouna Coundoul Conor Chinn Tony Tchani
Thierry Henry Austin da Luz
Macoumba Kandji Irving Garcia
Joel Lindpere Jeremy Hall
Rafael Marquez Salou Ibrahim
Carlos Mendes Roy Miller
Tim Ream Brian Nielsen
Dane Richards Mike Petke
Seth Stammler Luke Sassano

Greg Sutton

Carl Robinson

Sinisa Ubiparipovic

Hall and Miller were the final two off. Those are the only two I could see breaking into the list, it's pretty cut and dry. I think Albright is a more likely selection at this point. Luckily for NY, Tchani is probably going to be GA for another season (unless he plays every minute from here on out).


Protected Available Exempt
Danny Califf Cristian Arrieta Jack McInerney
Eduardo Coudet Jordan Harvey Danny Mwanga
Fred Brad Knighton Amobi Okugo
Juan Diego Gonzalez Stefani Miglioranzi
Andrew Jacobson Kyle Nakazawa
Sebastien Le Toux J.T. Noone
Justin Mapp Shea Salinas
Alejandro Moreno Toni Stahl
Michael Orozco Fiscal Nick Zimmerman
Chris Seitz

Roger Torres

Another team where a GA graduation could have a big impact. As of now, I don't have Mwanga graduating, but that could change.

There are only four international players, three of which must be protected: Coudet/Gonzalez/Stahl/Torres. That's because another four players (Fred/Le Toux/Moreno/Miglioranzi) all hold green cards. It certainly isn't optimal for the Union to protect a Coudet or Stahl, but they'll have to. BTW, Mwanga also holds a green card. So even if he graduates, he won't affect this problem.

With large $250,000 salaries, Califf/Fred could easily be unprotected. But who among the available has earned their way onto the list? Possibly Miglioranzi and Nakazawa.


Protected Available Exempt
Kyle Beckerman Jean Alexandre Luis Gil
Tony Beltran Pablo Campos
Nat Borchers David Horst
Fabian Espindola Nelson Gonzalez
Robbie Findley Ned Grabavoy
Will Johnson Rauwshan McKenzie
Javier Morales Tim Melia
Jamison Olave Kyle Reynish
Nick Rimando Robbie Russell
Alvaro Saborio Chris Schuler
Chris Wingert Collen Warner

Andy Williams

Findley's contract situation will have an impact. If he leaves, that could be good news in regards to this draft, as they'd get to protect someone else (like Alexandre or Gonzalez). I know they really like Gonzalez, but do they like him enough to save him over Beltran or Wingert? He is on loan, so I suppose that complicates things in their favor.

Grabavoy/Russell/Williams were all unprotected last year and should stay that way.


Protected Available Exempt
Steven Beitashour Arturo Alvarez Ike Opara
Bobby Burling Joe Cannon
Jon Busch Bobby Convey
Sam Cronin Ramiro Corrales
Geovanni Eduardo
Joey Gjertsen Cornell Glen
Jason Hernandez Omar Jasseh
Brandon McDonald Ryan Johnson
Scott Sealy Chris Leitch
Khari Stephenson Andre Luiz
Chris Wondolowski Justin Morrow

Brad Ring

Tim Ward

Opara's injury may help them in the long run, as before it happened he would've easily gotten enough minutes to graduate.

Meanwhile, the three internationals seem to be easy picks. Geovanni/Sealy/Stephenson yes, Eduardo/Glen/Jasseh/Luiz no. Johnson is a green card holder.

But after that, this is one of the harder teams to predict. Convey and his big salary were unprotected a year ago, so at $250k this year, why not do that again? It would also seem likely that Busch (84k) is protected over Cannon (190k), and that Alvarez (183k) and Corrales (150k) are left out. They could also choose to protect no goalkeeper, since they were switching back and forth this year.


Protected Available Exempt
Osvaldo Alonso Terry Boss
Brad Evans David Estrada
Alvaro Fernandez Michael Fucito
Leo Gonzalez Taylor Graham
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado Kasey Keller
Patrick Ianni Roger Levesque
Nate Jaqua Tyrone Marshall
Fredy Montero Miguel Montano
Blaise Nkufo Pat Noonan
Jeff Parke Sanna Nyassi
Steve Zakuani James Riley

Mike Seamon

Zach Scott

Nathan Sturgis

Peter Vagenas

Tyson Wahl

Like the Crew and Schelotto, I just don't think it makes a ton of sense to protect Keller. If he does make the list, or they decide to go with a younger player, then it could be Jaqua or Parke losing their spots. Let's also see how big of an impact Nkufo has the rest of the year.

It was a surprise to see them protect Marshall a year ago, but I don't think that'll happen again. I currently have center backs Hurtado/Ianni/Parke all protected, so that's plenty. Of course, Ianni can play at DM so I don't think it's too many. Riley once again should be left off, but I wonder if Nyassi could still make his way into the 2010 eleven.


Protected Available Exempt
Nana Attakora Jon Conway Doneil Henry
Chad Barrett Gabe Gala Fuad Ibrahim
Adrian Cann Nick Garcia
Julian de Guzman Dan Gargan
Dwayne De Rosario Emmanuel Gomez
Stefan Frei Ty Harden
Nane Joseph Raivis Hscanovics
Nick LaBrocca Milos Kocic
Amadou Sanyang Mista
Maicon Santos Jacob Peterson
O'Brian White Martin Saric

Maxim Usanov

Would anyone take de Guzman? I don't think they'll expose him, regardless. Mista, on the other hand, seems an easy choice to leave out.

It's more important than normal to keep the Canadian talent with Vancouver picking. I don't that will impact the list much (if at all), but it's still something to keep in mind.

Gomez's injury seemingly will make him safe to leave off, while Ibrahim's possible GA graduation could take away a spot depending on how high they value him.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

MLS Discipline Update for August 28-29

MLS hasn't been putting together a single page with all of this info since the website switch, so I've culled the info from the game guides and posted it here.


CHI Conde
CHV none
CLB Hejduk
COL none
DAL none
DC none
HOU none
KC none
LA none
NE none
NY none
PHI none
RSL none
SEA Gonzalez
SJ Hernandez
TOR Attakora

One yellow away from suspension

CHI Ljungberg
CHV none
CLB Moffat
COL Cummings
DAL Harris, Hernandez
DC James
HOU Boswell
KC Conrad, Smith
LA Birchall, Gonzalez, Juninho
NE Perovic
NY Mendes, Petke
PHI Arrieta, Fred
RSL Borchers, Wingert
SEA Marshall
SJ Convey, Corrales
TOR none

Two yellows away from suspension

CHI none
CHV Padilla, Romero
CLB Carroll, Hesmer
COL Casey, Larentowicz, Mastroeni
DAL Ferreira, Ihemelu, John, McCarty, Pearce
DC Morsink, Najar, Quaranta, Talley, Zayner
HOU Hainault, Palmer
KC Kamara, Rocastle
LA Bowen, Buddle
NE Gibbs, Joseph, Nyassi
NY Stammler
PHI Miglioranzi, Orozco Fiscal, Torres
RSL Beckerman, Espindola, Johnson, Olave, Williams
SEA Alonso, Riley
SJ Burling, Wondolowski
TOR Attakora, Cann, LaBrocca, Usanov


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Countdown to 1,500 MLS Players

Over the weekend, there were two new MLS debuts. First, San Jose's new designated player, the Brazilian Geovanni came on as a sub in the 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy. Later on that night, once-capped American Sal Zizzo (signed via the beloved weighted lottery) also made a substitute appearance for Chivas in their 1-0 loss to Dallas.

Respectively, they were players #1,489 and 1,490. We're only 10 men away from the 1,500th player in league history. This total includes every player to play in a competitive match. It does not count players who were on a roster and never got into a game, or who only played in exhibitions.

As you almost certainly don't remember, the 1,000th player in league history was Paul Dalglish of the Houston Dynamo. He first stepped onto the field on September 10th, 2006. The 500th player was Evan Whitfield of the Chicago Fire. He was a substitute against KC on March 25, 2000.

We should be able to make it to 1,500 before the year's end, especially now with only half the teams making the playoffs. I'm sure a few of those clubs outside of the chase on the final weekend may give playing time to some bench players. Wouldn't it be fitting to have the milestone player be an academy signing?

Closing in on 1,500

1,489 Geovanni SJ 2010-08-21
1,490 Zizzo, Sal CHV 2010-08-21

Players by Year

1996 242
1997 80
1998 93
1999 62
2000 75
2001 62
2002 54
2003 68
2004 63
2005 120
2006 87
2007 113
2008 136
2009 114
2010 121+

Total 1,490

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Most Games Played in a Season

The expanded CONCACAF Champions League has meant more games for more MLS teams. The group stage guarantees at least six games added to the schedule, which means that 40+ game seasons are no longer an unusual occurrence.

Already this season, Toronto is on schedule to play 42 total games. Columbus and Seattle are in line for 41, while Real Salt Lake gets a slightly lighter load of 38. The numbers could increase if any of them qualify for the playoffs, and if CLB/SEA make the Open Cup final.

However, none will be able to break the MLS record for most competitive games in a season. That happened in 2008, which was the year CONCACAF switched formats, playing the Champions Cup early in 2008 followed by starting the new Champions League later in the season. Houston and DC had to deal with plenty of fixture congestion, and rank 1-2 all time games played. It's no surprise that their players dominate the individual list below.

Most Competitive Games in a Season

1 2008 Houston 48
2 2008 DC United 47
3 2000 Chicago 44
3 1997 DC United 44
3 2009 DC United 44
3 2009 Houston 44
7 1998 DC United 43
7 2007 DC United 43
7 2007 Houston 43
10 1999 DC United 42
10 2005 DC United 42
10 2008 New England 42

Most Games Played in a Season (all competitions)

Year Team Total
Start Sub
1 Clyde Simms 2008 DC 45
43 2
2 Brian Mullan 2008 HOU 44
37 7
2 Marc Burch 2008 DC 44
34 10
4 Dema Kovalenko 2000 CHI 43
40 3
4 Bobby Boswell 2008 HOU 43
43 0
6 Jaime Moreno 1998 DC 42
42 0
6 Ben Olsen 1998 DC 42
35 7
6 Richie Williams 1998 DC 42
41 1
6 Brian Carroll 2005 DC 42
40 2
6 Wade Barrett 2007 HOU 42
42 0
6 Gonzalo Martinez 2008 DC 42
37 5
6 Devon McTavish 2008 DC 42
40 2

Simms holds the record for playing the most games in a calendar year with 45. He's tied with Boswell for the most starts at 43, while in 2005 Carroll played the most games of anyone to play every game for their team in a season.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recent Updates: Azerbaijan, Penalty Shootouts, and More

1) Yura Movsisyan played for Armenia's national team, rather than his birthplace of Azerbaijan. He's always considered himself Armenian, so it wasn't a surprise (although there was the possibility of a future USA appearance mentioned). This switch means that Azerbaijan disappears from the list of MLS player nationalities, while Armenia was already represented by Harut Karapetyan. So the total number in MLS history is reduced to 93, despite recently going up to 94 with Branko Boskovic (Montenegro) playing for DC.

2) New England vs Puebla in the Superliga semifinal has been added to the list of MLS penalty shootouts. Chris Tierney became just one of twelve players to take at least three shootout penalties with a perfect record. Matt Reis participated in his 7th shootout, which is three more than any other keeper.

3) The debuts of 35 year olds Eduardo Coudet and Blaise Nkufo in late July did more than just help their teams. They also landed both players in list of the top 25 oldest MLS debuts of all time. Coudet ranks 15th, while Nkufo is 22nd. Kasey Keller was the oldest.

4) Clint Mathis retired a couple weeks ago. He's also one of the players who was perfect on shootout penalties mentioned above. But let's talk about the other, more dreaded kind of shootout for a second, the 1996-99 MLS version. His retirement means that the number of players left from the "shootout era" in league history continues to shrink.

I only count 25 players remaining who played in the 1990s in MLS. That doesn't count the recently released John Wolyniec, or players who are still active who could return to MLS (like Marcus Hahnemann or Matt Jordan). Here's the list:

Albright, Chris NY
Beasley, Jamar KC
Brown, C.J. CHI
Cannon, Joe SJ
Conrad, Jimmy KC
Corrales, Ramiro SJ
Cunningham, Jeff DAL
Hartman, Kevin DAL
Hejduk, Frankie CLB
Hernandez, Daniel DAL
Klein, Chris LA
Kovalenko, Dema LA
Lewis, Eddie LA
Marshall, Tyrone SEA
Mastroeni, Pablo COL
McBride, Brian CHI
Moreno, Jaime DC
Mulrooney, Richard HOU
Petke, Mike NY
Reis, Matt NE
Sutton, Greg NY
Talley, Carey DC
Thornton, Zach CHV
Williams, Andy RSL
Wolff, Josh KC

5) I read recently that former MLS player Damian Silvera died, who played 20 total games for NY/KC in 1996-97.

I believe he's only the third former MLS player to pass away (first American), after Mickey Trotman in 2001 (car accident) and Jefferson Gottardi in 2003 (Lou Gehrig's disease).

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

2010 MLS Remaining Strength of Schedule

Sure, there's still a third of the season remaining. I don't think, though, that it's too early to begin looking at this. The playoff picture is starting to clear up a little, with 5 teams seemingly in good shape and 6 more with little chance, leaving 5 teams (CHI-COL-SEA-SJ-TOR) fighting for the final 3 spots. Of course, we all know that it's foolish to write anyone off in MLS. A hot finish can sneak you into the postseason, and from there your chances are as good as anyone's.

Here is the remaining strength of schedule for each team, ranked by the average points per game of their opponents. The number of home/away games remaining for each team is listed in the other column.

Remaining SOS - Opponents' Overall PPG

1 HOU 1.214 5-5
2 LA 1.291 6-4
3 SJ 1.293 6-6
4 TOR 1.303 5-6
5 SEA 1.324 4-5
6 CHV 1.326 6-5
7 PHI 1.327 6-5
8 KC 1.346 5-6
9 NE 1.347 5-7
10 CHI 1.349 7-7
11 CLB 1.353 5-5
12 DC 1.386 5-5
13 COL 1.424 6-5
14 RSL 1.446 4-5
15 DAL 1.475 6-5
16 NY 1.500 5-5

With two more home games than away and the second easiest schedule, the Galaxy are in great shape. They really don't need the help, but with this kind of finish they can make a run at the record books. They probably should be even bigger favorites for the Supporters Shield than they already are.

The Red Bulls, on the other hand, have the toughest schedule. The last couple games could give them momentum going into the playoffs, but the next six are all against contenders with four on the road. Despite this, me and everyone else still expects them to qualify given their added talent.

The Dynamo have by far the easiest schedule, but it appears to be too little, too late. They need 6-7 wins in their last ten games, and that's a bit much to expect. I do think they should finish strong, though.

The Revs have been hot a few weeks now, but they have two more away matches and it's hard to see them getting the large haul of points necessary.

Now, whenever I post something like this, a lot of people always want to see a more detailed analysis where you use the home and away PPG rather than just overall. So I've also done that, here:

Remaining SOS - Opponents' Home/Away PPG

1 LA 1.173
2 HOU 1.183
3 TOR 1.250
4 CHV 1.254
5 DC 1.265
6 CHI 1.308
7 NE 1.317
8 PHI 1.332
9 KC 1.343
10 SEA 1.352
11 COL 1.352
12 CLB 1.371
13 SJ 1.405
14 DAL 1.423
15 NY 1.511
16 RSL 1.600

Four teams moved up/down by more than two places. DC United & Chicago move up by 7 and 4 places respectively, while Seattle moves down 5 spots and San Jose goes all the way from 3rd to 13th, 10 spots.

However, in terms of the actual average PPG, Chicago and Seattle had little movement. RSL's PPG moved up the most, followed by SJ. DC's moved down the most, followed by LA.