Eastern Conference Round (13) Up
MLS ATTENDANCE STILL DOWN
Forbes recently reported having Major League Soccer’s overall attendance down 9% on the year over last year. My records show that it is down 7.7% over last year. Through thirteen weeks of the season that works out to be 170k fewer tickets.
Year : Reported Ticket Sales (source: ESPNFC)
2012 : 2,230,851
2013 : 2,060,016
At about $36 a head (spitballing; ticket, concession, merch, parking) that works out to be and estimated revenue loss of - $6.1 million already this year and will top over -$20 million by year end. With that, most should expect this story to become a much bigger deal as the year rolls on.
An important call out is obviously how many home games Seattle and Portland have had over last year. Well, for the Sounders I have 8 last year and 5 this year. Even taking into account for those three missing games you still come away short. Portland is only down one game over last year. In addition to that, if fans remember, Houston had not played any games at BBVA till around this time last year. To date, they have held seven total at BBVA already this year.
Enough of the year has passed now to tell us that this is what it is. Without any more major events (impact signing like David Beckham) MLS will see their first decrease in aggregate attendance since the early 2000’s. Again, a big deal for a vanity league that relies on expansion to show growth.
Final Note is on scheduling. MLS started a few weeks early this year but through May the league is on same number of completed games (120) over last year. It’s a lot of monkeying for no good reason. In fact, it may have hurt the league. Find the person that puts together the schedule and run him up the flagpole. Now.
‘ALL-STAR’ GAME ANNOUNCED
It is against Italian giant Roma. It will be played on July 31st, which happens to be right smack dab in the middle just about every transfer window in the world. Regardless, MLSsoccer.com is reporting that Roma “is promising to field a first-team lineup.”
Game will be held at Sporting Park. Formerly know as “Livestrong Sporting Park,” home of Sporting Kansas City, formerly known as the “Kansas City Wiz”.
The Columbus Crew haven’t fielded an all-star since 2010.
MLS BEST XI
Here is an updated MLSsoccer.com selected “Best XI” player mentions, as grouped by team.
Best XI Selections : Team
13 FC Dallas
12 New York Red Bulls
12 Portland Timbers
11 Sporting Kansas City
10 Seattle Sounders
9 Montreal Impact
8 LA Galaxy, New England Revolution
7 Colorado Rapids, San Jose Earthquakes, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake
6 Toronto FC, Houston Dynamo
5 Vancouver Whitecaps, Columbus Crew
4 Chivas USA
3 D.C. United, Chicago Fire
Cream seems to rise to the top, which is why it is good to track these types of things over time. New York’s Jámison Olave leads all the individual players with most ‘Best XI’ mentions with four. there are a gaggle that have three: Marco Di Vaio, Lamar Neagle, Aurélien Collin, Jack McInerney, Bill Hamid, José Gonçalves, Drew Moor, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Patrice Bernier, and Rodney Wallace.
Some good, underrated, players there for all you league (and not just club) watchers out there. All two of you.
HELLTOWN BEST XI
I’ve been tracking and rating all MLS players for three years now. Here is my best eleven, this year to date:
F : Marco Di Vaio (MTL)
F : Claudio Bieler (SKC)
M : Will Johnson (PDX)
M : Felipe Martins (MTL)
M : Marcelo Sarvas (LAG)
M : Jackson (FCD)
D : Michel (FCD)
D : Jeb Brovsky (MTL)
D : Zack Loyd (FCD)
D : AJ DeLaGarza (LAG)
G : Troy Perkins (MTL)
Things seem to be loosening up. Montreal, Dallas and LA a filling up the roster. The bench: Ryan Johnson (PDX), Grahm Zusi (SKC), Will Bruin (HOU), Darlington Nagbe (PDX), Patrice Bernier (MTL), Diego Chara (PDX).
GOALS + ASSISTS
Major League Soccer is well north of 30% complete now so there are a number of players topping the magical 10 game (90 min) played mark. With that, here are the players with the best Goals + Assists per 90 minutes (minimum 900 minutes played).
Goal + Assist per 90 min : Name
0.76 : Jack McInerney (PHI)
0.74 : Ryan Johnson (PDX)
0.72 : Will Bruin (HOU)
0.60 : Thierry Henry (NY)
0.60 : Brad Davis (HOU)
0.58 : Dominic Oduro (CLB)
0.55 : Tim Cahill (NY)
0.55 : Graham Zusi (SKC)
0.53 : Darlington Nagbe (PDX)
0.50 : Chris Wondolowski (SJE_
Whenever you look at these type of things it is important to keep in mind the formation / tactics the player’s team employs. Important note: Goals from Penalty Kick are not included.
WHERE THE EASTERN ARE
The Eastern Conference seems to be shaping up and clearly defining who will be in the playoff picture and who will be fighting to get in the playoffs. Four spots seem to be taken already:
Points Per Game : Team
2.09 : Montreal
1.67 : New York
1.62 : Houston
1.57 : Sporting KC
This next group is fighting to get in.
1.38 : Philadelphia
1.33 : Columbus
1.33 : New England
Out of this last group, Chicago has the best chance to get it. Originally pegged to fall out of the playoff race was Philly but considering the recent injury to Eddie Gaven the Crew might find themselves falling 7th.
0.73 : Chicago
0.58 : Toronto FC
0.42 : D.C.
FIRST MEMORY OF EDDIE GAVEN
It’s been reported that Eddie tore his ACL playing the Dayton Dutch Lions yesterday. My first memory of him is during this epic match 10 years ago. It was at RFK. Bob Bradley, Tim Howard, Mike Petke, Marco Etcheverry, wonky MLS substitution rules and a 16 year old who came in as a goalie, then scored. Eddie Gaven. Part of me see’s it as a much needed break for a kid who’s been at it on the pro level his whole adult life. Take a breather, Eddie. See you when you are all healed up.
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