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"MLS Team of the Week(s)" - Year

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MLSsoccer.com dutifully picks a "Team of the Week" each round of the regular season. Selections can tell us a lot about who the best players might be and the league itself.

Throughout the the year I kept tabs on Major League Soccer's "Team of the Week" (TotW) feature on their website MLSsoccer.com. How it works is that their staff selects a team of 11 players each week that they feel played the best over the previous week. On top of those eleven, they also pick another seven "bench" players.

This method works out to be about 10% or so of all players any given MLS round being selected for TotW or "bench". Armed with that knowledge I felt it might be interesting to sift through all the selections.

Here is how the Crew looked:

Mentions NAME Best XI Bench
9 Federico Higuaín 5 4
5 Dominic Oduro 2 3
3 Andy Gruenebaum 3
3 Josh Williams 1 2
2 Ben Speas 2
2 Brian Bliss 2
2 Chad Marshall 2
2 Danny O'Rourke 2
2 Gláuber 2
1 Bernardo Añor 1
1 Chad Barson 1
1 Eric Gehrig 1
1 Jairo Arrieta 1
1 Justin Meram 1
1 Matías Sánchez 1
1 Matt Lampson 1
1 Robert Warzycha 1
1 Tony Tchani 1

Higuain is the only Crew player that shows up alongside the rest. Actually, he's in the top eleven most mentioned players in this MLSsoccer.com feature.

MENTIONS NAME Team BEST XI BENCH
11 Mike Magee (CHI) 4 7
10 Clint Irwin (COL) 4 6
9 Jamison Olave (NY) 7 2
9 Tim Cahill (NY) 5 4
9 Federico Higuain (CREW) 5 4
8 Diego Valeri (PDX) 7 1
8 Camilo (VAN) 7 1
8 Jose Goncalves (NE) 7 1
8 Nick Rimando (RSL) 4 4
8 Dax McCarty (NY) 4 4
8 Deshorn Brown (COL) 2 6

A LITTLE DEEPER

Digging down a little deeper into this weekly list of best players tells me that 51% of all minute gaining players got a least a mention. 40% of those same players got a least one "Best XI" mention.

Perhaps this is a product of parity, maybe a dash of it hype... the remaining just right place right time. Either way, somebody has to make a selection.

The eleven players listed above are the top 2% of mentions. There is a lot to be said for that.

BY TEAM

TOTAL TEAM BEST XI BENCH
47 Portland Timbers 33 14
51 New York Red Bulls 29 22
46 Colorado Rapids 27 19
43 New England Revolution 27 16
41 LA Galaxy 25 16
40 Sporting Kansas City 24 16
43 Montreal Impact 23 20
40 FC Dallas 21 19
38 Real Salt Lake 21 17
30 San Jose Earthquakes 21 9
39 Columbus Crew 20 19
32 Chicago Fire 20 12
38 Vancouver Whitecaps 19 19
35 Seattle Sounders 18 17
35 Philadelphia Union 17 18
27 Houston Dynamo 16 11
23 Toronto FC 16 7
21 Chivas USA 10 11
19 D.C. United 9 10

When looking at this by team you see that it mirrors the final table pretty well save for Houston and Seattle. Both of whom are a couple franchises that don't value the regular season as much as many might like.

Playoffs though, right? Houston anyway.

There is enough here to tell me that the folks that select this list do a pretty good job at picking the best performers week in / week out.

TO THE DEEP END

Having made the determination that this feature does an alright job at picking good players I decided to take a closer look efficiencies.

Like; If you were to just look Mentions per 90 minutes played (>900 league mins) it'd be Tim Cahill, Mike Magee, Jamison Olave, Deshorn Brown and Ike Opera in the top five. But that is "mentions".

A classy way to look at it is to just pull out Best XI per 90 minutes played.

Best XI per 90 NAME Team
0.32 Diego Valeri (PDX)
0.34 Jamison Olave (NY)
0.30 Camilo (VAN)
0.24 Landon Donovan (LA)
0.32 Robbie Keane (LA)
0.24 Jose Goncalves (NE)
0.36 Tim Cahill (NY)
0.23 Marco Di Vaio (MTL)
0.23 Rodney Wallace (PDX)
0.23 Shea Salinas (SJ)
0.18 Kei Kamara (KC)

I'm guessing I could break this down further by matching up more advanced metrics but this is probably enough for now.

Are features like Best XI of the week something to take with a grain of salt? Yeah, probably. But take the selections over the course of a year and you get a really great idea of who the best are.