MLS Eastern Conference Round (9) Up

USA Today

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

ARRIETA, O’ROURKE

Team of the Week voting over at MLSsoccer.com was posted up this afternoon and Jairo Arrieta and Danny O’Rourke find themselves on it. After nine weeks they are the first Columbus Crew players to make the league’s chosen best of the previous weekend. A 3:0 win over DC did it.

Here are the players and teams with the most mentions on this feature:

Total Mentions : Name : Best XI

4 : Jack McInerney : 3

4 : Patrice Bernier : 3

4 : Aurelien Collin : 2

4 : Nick Rimando : 1

(by Team)

19 : Montreal Impact : 9

16 : FC Dallas : 10

16 : Columbus Crew : 2

13 : Portland Timbers : 10

13 : NY Red Bulls : 7

(While week to week picks might not always jive with what actually happened, adding up picks over time can be an informative tool in gauging player performance and value.)

NEW YORK TWO AND OR ORLANDO

More news last week about upcoming expansion in MLS, this time it comes via New York Times. In the piece Jere Longman and Ken Belson update readers on the current state of New York City F.C. and the league’s plans to build in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Things seem to be marching towards some sort of definitive league announcement around when Manchester City comes to NY to play Chelsea on May 25th. Reason being, Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan (member of the Abu Dhabi royal family) is the billionaire owner of Manchester City and the person willing to pay the $100 million MLS entrance fee.

Meanwhile, down in Orlando, Florida, there is also a group pushing to bring MLS action that way. Senate Bill 306 seems to be working its way through the Florida House of Representatives at this very moment. From what I understand, it paves the way for a stadium through tax revenues.

Orlando City SC has an honest to goodness team that actually exists and very dedicated group of supporters but looking for some help to get a place to play. NY has a rich royal (estimated family worth of half a trillion dollars) who has benefited the fact that he sits on a tenth of the world’s oil supply. Look up pictures of Abu Dhabi if you haven’t already (or go, if you have the means).

If you step back from this process you sort of realize that what is going on here, right now, paints a picture of the current sports landscape in the United States. It’s not a good picture. Why not let competition decide who is in North America’s top division? Why not let teams spend as much as the pull in through ticket sales, media deals and other revenue streams?

The way MLS is going about it right now only benefits MLS. What’s strange is that this top down corporate structure approach is fiercely disliked by over half the US populace yet accepted practice in US soccer. Organic, autonomous growth of the sport can work and can be profitable. It also benefits all levels of play from professionals to youth teams.

Were either Orlando City or NYCFC to join MLS they would be in the Eastern Conference.

NEW ENGLAND IS BACK!

They won last weekend 2:0 over an in-form Philadelphia Union. The Revs’ team stats are fascinating. They now have two wins, two draws off just four goals and and carry four clean sheets on the year. What that works out to be is 2 pts earned for each goal scored.

New England is best in the league. Here is the full league list:

Pts Earned per Goal Scored : Team

2.0 : New England

1.8 : Montreal

1.7 : Seattle

1.6 : Real Salt Lake

1.4 : Sporting KC

1.3 : FC Dallas

1.3 : Colorado

1.3 : San Jose

1.2 : Los Angeles

1.2 : Houston

1.2 : Chicago

1.1 : Philadelphia

1.0 : Columbus

1.0 : Vancouver

1.0 : D.C.

0.9 : New York

0.9 : Portland

0.9 : Chivas USA

0.7 : Toronto FC

New England putting a real premium one each goal. What is interesting is that Columbus is down the list. Reason for this is that the club has two 3:0 scorelines. Good, but you only need one. We’ll go ahead and file this efficiency as one that Crew coach Robert Warzycha values most. Is that good? Somewhere in the top half is probably an indicator of a good team playing balanced soccer.

HELLTOWN BEST XI

Montreal Impact, FC Dallas and LA Galaxy are still dominating my team. As they probably should, all those teams are getting positive results.

GK: Troy Perkins (MTL)

D: Hassoun Camara (MTL)

D: Matt Hedges (FCD)

D: Jeb Brovsky (MTL)

D: Michel (FCD)

MF: Mike Magee (LAG)

MF: David Ferreira (FCD)

MF: Davy Arnaud (MTL)

MF: Jackson (FCD)

F: Marco Di Vaio (MTL)

F: Ryan Johnson (PDX)

Guys just missing the cut: Marcelo Sarvas (LAG) and Patrice Bernier (MTL). The Crew’s Josh Williams, Dominic Oduro and Federico Higuain are all in the top 30.

Montreal Impact leads my team with five players. Their win last week against an improving Chicago Fire was one of those MLS games. Questionable officiating.

PLAYOFF CHANCES

Too early? Sports Club Stats tracks this sort of thing. Since the measurement of success in MLS is making the playoffs it’s good to always keep track. Right now they’ve got Sporting KC, Impact, Dynamo, Crew and NY as odds on to make it in. With 20% of the MLS season already gone, that is a good thing for fans of those clubs.

EAST POWERS STRUGGLE

Houston Dynamo and Sporting KC took on out of conference Colorado and Portland. Houston somewhat surprisingly came out of theirs with a draw at home against a Rapids team not many were high on. Rookie, Dillon Powers picked up an assist in the 1:1 draw. Powers, a Plano, Texas native, has played in 93% of possible minutes for Colorado and was picked two spots below the Crew’s Ryan Finley. The two were teammates at Notre Dame last year. Powers is having a standout year thus far.

Sporting outright lost to Portland in Kansas City. Many are saying this is some sort of statement game or arrival of Timber’s coach Caleb Porter. It possibly could be and this could possibly be the best win Portland has ever had. No question Porter knows how to coach, he proved that at Akron. The other two important ingredients a good club needs is fan support and good ownership. They seem to have all three. Frankly, Portland deserves a winner right now.

MLS ATTENDANCE UPDATE

It’s still down over last year about, oh.. in the -5% neighborhood. That works out to be about -73k tickets or, what I estimate to be, four Seattle games down. Last year Seattle had five home games up to this point, this year a couple less with three. So, all in all, MLS is still down on the year which might explain part of the urgency to get another club lined up for expansion. I understand the long term league goals and the fact that MLS hasn’t seen an aggregate dip in attendance for over a decade, but 5% is nothing to lose sleep over. Now, if Seattle struggles this year and their attendance dips? Different story.

CONOR CASEY?

Casey might not yet be to 450 minutes in league play but he is getting close. Too close. In his 336 he has two goals and two assists, which puts him at 1.07 Goals + Assists per 90 minutes. Pretty dang good. We’ll see if he can keep it up but his rate does as some questions as to what is driving Jack McInerney this year. Speaking of which, here are the league leaders in G+A per 90 minutes played. Minimum is 450 mins and penalties don’t count.

G+Ap90 : Name : Team

0.87 : Jack McInerney (PHI)

0.79 : Ryan Johnson (PDX)

0.72 : Mike Magee (LAG)

0.67 : Alvaro Saborio (RSL)

0.64 : Brad Davis (HOU)

0.63 : Graham Zusi (SKC)

0.61 : Sebastien Le Toux (PHI)

0.60 : Marco Di Vaio (MTL)

Crew notables:

0.64 : Dominic Oduro (11th in MLS)

0.50 : Eddie Gaven (13th)

0.38 : Federico Higuain (31st)

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


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