EASTERN CONFERENCE FORM
The first handful of games in any league can be more about finding chemistry than earning results. With that, here are things look in terms of Points Per Game (PPG) if you take out the first five games of each Eastern Conf club.
PPG : TEAM
2.00 : l’Impact de Montreal
1.82 : New York Red Bulls
1.67 : New England Revolution
1.44 : Houston Dynamo
1.40 : Philadelphia Union
1.40 : Sporting KC
1.00 : Chicago Fire
1.00 : Columbus Crew
0.38 : Toronto FC
0.22 : DC United
What to expect is for Columbus to hold current spot and Chicago and Philly swap places. Not expecting much change from the rest.
HALF EAST IDLE
Half of the Eastern Conference is idle this weekend. Outside of the Columbus Crew / Montreal Impact match, fans will get to see bottom feeders DC United and Toronto FC face off. Neither of those two have won a match since March 9th. I expect it to be very ugly. Only other Eastern Conf team playing is NE Revs (vs. Vancouver).
The MLS schedule has gotten swiss cheese-y while in the midst of World Cup Qualifying.
The North American Soccer Reporter site stopped listing how their members voted. Looks like it happened around week ten of the MLS season. I rather liked this feature because it gave fans an inside look at which beat writer voted for who. Anyhow, not much value in it for me now. MLSsoccer.com still lists the winner. Here they are, week to week.
Week 15: Olmes Garcia (Real Salt Lake)
Week 14: Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution)
Week 13: Marco Di Vaio (Montreal Impact)
Week 12: Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)
Week 11: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo)
Week 10: Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Week 9: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls)
Week 8: Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union)
Week 7: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo)
Week 6: Ryan Johnson (Portland Timbers)
Week 5: Will Johnson (Portland Timbers)
Week 4: Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA)
Week 3: Bill Hamid (D.C. United)
Week 2: Robert Earnshaw (Toronto FC)
Week 1: Mike Magee (LA Galaxy)
Only two East teams not to have a player earn this award are the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew.
USL Pro is about 13 weeks into their season and MLS Reserve sides have yet to really make their mark. All in all, they have only earned 3 wins out of 12 total matches.
With the way the schedule works out (each of the 13 USL Pro clubs play a MLS team twice) one could neatly add in a 14th USL Pro side called ‘MLS Reserves’. Here is how the table would look (as of June 13th) :
PPG : TEAM
2.46 : Orlando City
2.20 : Richmond Kickers
2.08 : Harrisburg City Islanders
2.00 : VSI Tampa Bay FC
1.92 : Charleston Battery
1.67 : Dayton Dutch Lions
1.40 : Charlotte Eagles
1.36 : Los Angeles Blues
1.17 : Pittsburgh Riverhounds
1.17 : MLS Reserves
0.83 : Wilmington Hammerheads
0.64 : Phoenix FC Wolves
0.58 : Rochester Rhinos
0.00 : Antigua Barracuda FC
CREW LOSE TWO IN US OPEN CUP
In trying to stave off another loss and early exit for the third time in four years the Columbus Crew fielded a strong lineup against the Dayton Dutch Lions on May 29th. Late in the game, up 2:1, Eddie Gaven was chopped down on the edge of the box on in a manner that tore his ACL.
Fifteen days later, in the 4th round of the same tournament, the Crew lose their starting left Center Back Glauber to the same injury. Bad luck? Injuries happen to every club, but the Crew are looking down the barrel of a long 2nd half of the season.
Chicago, New England and DC United are the Eastern clubs still alive in the tournament. For a complete listing of US Open Cup results, go HERE.
CHICAGO WITH PLAYOFF SHOT?
Robbie Rogers re-entry into Major League Soccer sent a very good Mike Magee to the Fire where he joined another recent acquisition in Chicago defender Bakary Soumare who had previously played with the club back in 2009.
After not so much as being able to earn points in two consecutive games through the first 10 games the Fire have strung three results in a row... A draw away at Rio Tinto, win against DC at home and a hard earned draw against a good Portland Timbers team. Ironically, the only other teams to carry a three game points streak right now are two of those opponents (RSL, Portland) plus the Fire.
That said, the hole the Fire find themselves in after the first third of the season might prove to be too much to overcome, but I do expect them to join the playoff hunt by the end of the year.
DATA RICH BUT WHO SCORED
A few weeks ago a site called WhoScored.com started pulling together all of the Opta data out there in a readable way recently. Unfortunately, they don’t appear to be updating it fully and some of the basic individual player stats are incorrect. Many out there are looking for stuff like this but more often than not, it’s too much to pull together. Appears that it’s not a sustainable endeavor, which leaves MLS sort of where it’s always been. Data rich, information poor.
MLS ATTENDANCE UPDATE
Last count has aggregate down 7% year over year. From what I can tell, it seems to be bouncing between -6% and -9% from last year. No change should be expected, just not the way the market works.
Through 137 Games : Tickets Sold
2012 : 2.23 Million
2013 : 2.07 Million
This is an odd year for Major League Soccer. They have been in expansion mode for so long they might have forgotten what the sting of a no growth in attendance year feels like. Which is why, after touting attendance numbers for the past few years, league watchers have noticed that MLS has gone dark with it. Next year is an important one for the league with the World Cup being played in prime time. Lots of overlap since MLS plays a Spring/Fall schedule.
What was once a team I was explaining with riddles upon riddles is now a very dangerous team with a mountain of young talent. Diego Fagundez is leading that charge but also Kelyn Rowe with league leading five assists in less than 900 minutes.
The Revs also tore apart a strong NY Red Bulls side in the US Open Cup this week in Boston. They are already in a playoff spot, would not be surprising to see them climb further up the table.
CASTROL INDEX UPDATE
Here’s how the Crew players look according to the Castrol Index (in top 100):
Castrol Rank : Columbus Crew Player
34 : Dominic Oduro
38 : Josh Williams
41 : Chad Marshall
60 : Andy Gruenebaum
65 : Federico Higuain
79 : Jairo Arrieta
87 : Glauber
Next up are Ben Speas (157) and Agustin Viana (158). At one point this year Josh Williams was in the top 10. Fair enough.
All I’ve got for now, thanks for reading.