¡Eastern Conference Round (6) Up!

Photo Credit: Sam Fahmi, Massive Report

Results, news and notables from MLS Round Six with focus on the Eastern Conference through the kaleidoscope of Crew.

MLS ATTENDANCE, POP. GROWTH

On aggregate, MLS attendance is down nearly 10% through as many games over last year. It can be frustrating for fans to hear, but it is a story because of how much MLS pushes attendance as an indicator of league success.

Also, an interesting note to pass along is something found during (old) NASL attendance research; US population has increased from 226 million in 1980 to 309 million in 2010. That’s a healthy +37% uptick. No shocking news there but NASL averaged around 10-11k a game back in late 1970s. Apply that same growth increase to their attendance numbers and it takes you to 15k a game (similar to current MLS levels). Think of it like inflation, only for population and attendance.

The NY Cosmos were the “Seattle” of the day and actually took average NASL attendance to around 14k for a few years when the moved to Giants Stadium and were pulling +40k a game. If you were to apply the “Cosmos Effect” to old NASL data you could argue more people paid attention as % of population back then.

Sort of a quirky way to look at it but certainly something to consider next time comparisons between leagues comes up (past/present).

Back in the the old days the press might hold MLS accountable for statements like the one made about being a top league in 9 years by trotting out attendance figures. Unfortunately, these days, the sport press answers to the leagues they follow and not the other way around.


CRAZY FOR RYAN JOHNSON, NASR

The National Association of Soccer Reporters voted Portland’s Ryan Johnson this weeks best player. Fair enough. Chicago’s Maicon Santos and Daniel Paladini also jumped in this week. ‘Tis just a week, though.

Here’s how the total player NASR Player of the Week voting looks thus far, to date (4 of the top 5 eastern conf.):

Votes : Player

31 : Patrice Bernier

29 : Mike Magee

23 : Graham Zusi

20 : Bill Hamid

20 : Robert Earnshaw

More: Three players have been mentioned by at least one writer in 3 of the 6 weeks. Clint Irwin (COL), Patrice Bernier (MTL) and Dan Kennedy (CHV).

And More: Here is number of PotW votes grouped by team:

Votes : Team

47 : POR

46 : MTL

40 : SKC

32 : CHV

30 : LA

24 : CHI

21 : TOR

20 : DC

15 : COL

11 : RSL

11 : SJ

10 : DAL

7 : VAN

6 : Columbus Crew

6 : NY

4 : SEA

4 : HOU

3 : PHI

2 : NE

Interesting to note that voting is 50/50 between East and West teams.

Here’s how the Crew looks on the year with their six; 4 votes for Andy Gruenebaum and one each for Higuain and Speas.


CREW LOSE TWICE

The Columbus Crew draw Philly home this past weekend -- one goal to one, and only pull in around ten thousand fans in the process. This is a loss on multiple levels. I might be telling tales outside of school here but I had discussion with Justin Bell (Massive City FFC) about the lack of fan support here in town whilst the mics were off during this past weeks MR podcast; Yes, a Crew draw to this Union team at home is a loss of two critical points. It’s also completely unacceptable and an organizational failure that a meager 10k fans show up. Get butts in seats or be honest about the situation. End of story.

MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK - CHANGE

After a couple years of doing it the same way, MLS Soccer decides to change up the way they do Team of the Week honors six weeks in this year. Use to be they picked a top eleven (Best XI) and then included another 20 dudes in the “honorable mention” category. This past week they only included 7 players in the “honorable” cat. Now they call it “bench”. Whatever or however they do it, still a measurement of quality. Ben Speas and Dominic Oduro made it to the list -- but still... no Crew player has made it to the “Best XI” of the year according to whomever compiles this thing.

This past week there was a pretty gross omission of Portland’s Diego Chara. NASR also missed him (save for Jonathan Tannenwald and Michael Orr, good job guys).

Crew TotW totals

Mentions (“Bench”) : Name : Best XI

3 : Federico Higuain : 0

2 : Ben Speas : 0

2 : Glauber : 0

2 : Josh Williams : 0

2 : Andy Gruenebaum : 0

1 : Dominic Oduro : 0


STADE 40 AND RAIN

Major League Soccer’s best team has determined that this weekend is the best weekend to finally play a home game outside, on grass, which should generate a great atmosphere for cooped up Impact fans. Just so happens it is against this fan blog’s club; the Columbus Crew. Did this fan’s writer’s blogger’s writer’s blogger get all the apostrophes and commas correct there? Probably not. Promises to do better next time... promise.

Montreal was off last weekend but will be pretty stoked to play outside for the first time this year. Wunderground is telling me it’s going to be on the chilly side with rain. For me? Good soccer weather.


CHICAGO WON

Any result the Fire record is notable as they are the joker in the MLS East this year. Their slow start was cute and fun and all - but there are some harsh realities here; First of all being; the Fire have some really good players. Any glimmer of hope they manage to find is bad news for any other Eastern Conf club looking to finish around the middle of the table. AKA: Columbus and DC.


DC and CHI, ON 4 PTS

DC’s plan (summed up? United GK Bill Hamid got a card for time wasting with 20 minutes left in the match) to pull a draw against Sporting KC didn’t work as Claudio Bieler put one into Hamid’s goal in the 89th minute. United has NY this weekend, at home. Then Philly in the same place. If they want to stay with things they need to get positive results here. We’ll see.

For as much as Chicago’s struggles have been publicised thus far this season - DC has the same number of Pts... 4.


MY TEAM OF THE YEAR (to date):

GK: TROY PERKINS (MTL)

D: HASSOUN CAMARA (MTL)

D: TODD DUNIVANT (LA)

D: JEB BROVSKY (MTL)

D: MICHEL (DAL)

MF: MIKE MAGEE (LA)

MF: PATRICE BENIER (MTL)

MF: DAVID FERRIRA (DAL)

MF: JACKSON (DAL)

F: CLAUDIO BIELER (SKC)

F: MARCO DI VAIO (MTL)


COALMINE CANARY, HEINEMANN

Tommy Heinemann (2011-2012 Crew player) was awkwardly nominated for a save of the week this past weekend. Tommy was a favorite. It might be just some petty ‘save of the week’ but it comes in the form of an outfield player clearing his line during his meager 8 minutes of playing time thus far this year.

This is exactly the type of thing Tom brought to Columbus. Something different. Something special. Something worth cheering for. I valued each app he made for the Crew. We all knew he wasn’t going to be changing the world; scoring endless goals and all of that. But I did feel like he was a special type of energy. A “somebody”. One of those rare players that change the completion of the proceedings just because he’s there. One of those rare players on your team where you think; if he is ok, I’m OKAY. A canary in the coalmine.

Thanks for reading, have a great rest of the week.


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