#MLS Mediocre League Soccer

Have you started to take in MLS this year – surprised by what you see?

With but a few exceptions, and those about 7 to 10 years ago, no team in Mediocre League Soccer shows any patience and possession with purpose – it’s all flash and dash and get the ball forward based on IMPECT – a statistical system originated in Germany, created by defensive midfielders, to help them better ‘sell’ their value to a team in the transfer market.

Yes – 95% to 100% of every team in MLS operates to this standard – they do it because they simply can’t get good players who think and make their own decisions on the pitch as they do in La Liga, the Bundeslige, Serie A, or the English Premier League.

And yes, that should also kind of remind you of what we see from our US Men’s National Team… As someone who has coached footy for over 20 years I can safely say our developmental program does not teach ‘independent’ thinking and decision making by players starting at the age of 6 all the way through the entire US Academy.

What is the most frequent activity taken by a player on a football pitch? Running, Ball Touches, Passes, Tackles, … NO – the most frequent activity a player does on a football pitch is “MAKE DECISIONS” – in every instance, in every touch of the ball, in every opportunity to move or actual movement every single player on the pitch makes a singular decision that can make or break a game.

So when just one single player touches a ball with their foot – every other player on the pitch will have to make a decision – so for every touch of the ball that’s 21 other ‘decisions’.

Have you ever heard a football coach tell you that? How about an Academy coach or even the US MNT Head Coach?

If the United States wants to WIN the World Cup in 2026 then the bottom of the pyramid MUST start teaching decision making – and for effs sake – let the players know that mistakes NOW and far better than mistakes later.

Berhalter should have never been hired to begin with – that decision was more about nepotism than anything else – if you want the most winningest American to head coach our team hire Jesse Marsch – over a four year period of time when he coached New York Red Bulls NO other American had earned more points across all four measured areas of possession: (40%-45%; 45%-50%, 50%-55%, and 55%-60%)

I’ll say that again, slightly differently – across all major categories of possession with the intent to penetrate and score (as a method of controlling the game) no other American has surpassed Jesse Marsch in earning points in all four of those categories.

Best, Chris


Marsch Sacked, Marsch Hired?

I offered 6 years ago Jesse Marsch should have been hired by the USMNT back in 2017, we’re six years on from that article (here).

Gregg Berhalter, over the four year time measured, averaged the lowest points per season – while Marsch averaged the highest per season AND the best ‘average spread of earning points’ given 4 different categories of possession!

But DUE to ‘nepotism’ Berhalter got hired.

Yeah – he’s done okay but there remains no conclusive identity with our country’s team – under Marsch there will be a clear identity.

He has shown a propensity to win in a number of extremely competitive leagues – AND – (this does not include Major League Soccer). While Marsch operates a negative possession type game – he had to with Leeds given his budget – he has shown he can win.

I wonder if Jesse Marsch has ever kicked his wife?

Best, Chris

For Hire: Football Analyst

If you’re in the market for a football analyst that will help identify positional weaknesses based on the concepts of building platforms for possession and penetration, within and into the attacking final third, leading to shot creation and shots taken, please contact me at the earliest opportunity.

I perform video analyses as well as statistical analyses on team as well as individual players; and am willing sign an NDA.

While I’m not going to list every personal accomplishment here I would offer my greatest achievement has been having my own work presented, twice, at the World Conference on Science and Soccer – both in 2014 (Oral Presentation) as well as 2017 (Poster Presentation).

No other private analyst, in the United States, has ever developed a Total Team Performance Soccer Index that has greater correlation to points earned and possession/non-possession based soccer; that can also be used to predict future performance.

Kind regards, Chris Gluck

World Cup 2022: Why did US Men’s National Team Fail?

Awhile ago – like 4 years ago I wrote this article and made a list as to why the US Soccer team didn’t qualify for WC 2018; here’s my short list of ‘on-pitch’ reasons to refresh your memory:

  • They lack on field leadership.
  • They lack the ability to possess the ball with any sense of conviction.
  • They lack the ability to penetrate with any sense of continuity in possession leading to that penetration.
  • They are predictable.
  • They lack “controlled aggression”.
  • Their team passing statistics are horrible.
  • They lack a pure #9, #8, #7, and #6 in the traditional sense of soccer.
  • They lack ‘shut-down’ fullbacks.
  • They lack center-backs who can not only possess the ball, but control space in and around their own 18 yard box with pace and fortitude.
  • They have a great goalkeeper.
  • Some of the players are really-really fast, many are slow or really slow.
  • Some of the players have a great first touch, many don’t.
  • Both Head Coaches have shown an inability to use the right tactics against opponents.

I’ll revisit each of them as an update ‘four years later’:

  • On field leadership – there’s no question Pulisic provides this leadership – as does Adams – so tick this box as fixed.
  • Possessing the ball with conviction – yes, this too appears fixed to some extent – but NO – the Men’s National Team does not CONTROL the game through possession – they continue to rely more on counter-attacking than in ‘controlling’ the game through possession. I see this as a function of coaching weakness not only with the current head coach but also within the overall development of players in our country.
  • Possessing with the intent to penetrate – yes, as much as you can associate the intent behind ‘breaking the lines’ with penetrating passes and/or dribble drives based upon the talent of some individual players – this is more a function of the players and their individual development playing in Europe it is not a function of players playing in Major League Soccer.
  • Predictability – this remains an issue – as long as the Americans cannot control a game through possession they will always be predictable. This fault lies directly with the head coach.
  • Controlled aggression – yes, this has been fixed to a degree – no-one was issued a red card and opposing players, were, to a good extent, pressured, physically, by the midfielders. But for the most part the central defenders lacked considerable presence – lest we forget the penalty awarded for Zimmerman’s ignorance in leaving his feet inside his own 18 yard box – a tackle that led to a penalty – a reminder for all that players who play in MLS simply don’t have the appropriate nous to play at the very highest levels of competition.
  • Passing – overall the team passed the ball better – at times – but what remains the major weakness – “not being able to control a game through possession with purpose” remains. This, again, is the fault of the head coach.
  • Pure #9, etc – while the midfielders and ‘outside forwards’ add great value to this team their REMAINS a considerable weakness in having a dominating #9. WHY? Well the reason is simple, there remains absolutely no proper coaching, at any level, in our country, where a #9 can learn how to play the game. This is the fault of the head coach and every other head coach in our country. Somewhere, anywhere, there MUST be at least 10 or 20 young players who have the nous to be a dominating #9 – most likely those types of players are playing a different sport than soccer. OR, they simply aren’t ‘rich’ enough to play at the very highest levels, in America, within the youth soccer programs. Bottom line here, this is down to poor head coaching and poor organizational leadership.
  • Shut down fullbacks – For the most part, yes – both Dest and Robinson did well at times – but as pure, pedigree – shut down fullbacks – no. And when you consider Yedlin was still in the team squad there remains a considerable weakness in that area.
  • Center-backs – NO – THIS area remains as much of a weakness as our #9 situation – and, again, I put the force force of blame on this down to the head coach and the entire
    US soccer organization. Surely there are faster and stronger lads who can learn to play the game of soccer that are currently playing other sports in our country – look at all the wide receivers and tight ends playing youth American Football” that could be playing, learning to play, center-back in our country – oddly enough the same caliber of player who could play as a #9 is the very same caliber of player who could be playing as a center-back.
  • Goalkeeper – Not an issue – never has been and likely never will be.
  • Speed of players – as noticed by any non-educated’ watcher – the Center-backs are slow – very slow – otherwise the majority of other field players have good to great foot speed.
  • First touch – apart from our center-backs and our center forwards the rest of the players on the pitch have a good first and second touch (for the most part). I don’t see this as a weakness outside of those two general areas.. I don’t see this as a strength of American coaching – I see it as a strength of players who are learning how to be successful in Europe – as for MLS, no way – this league remains a pedantic, pedestrian league for American plyers to ‘survive’ in alongside imported players who actually create the nous we don’t see with Americans. I blame this on American coaching and the general US Soccer organization.
  • Tactics – outside of the game against England – where it appeared Southgate was just as much afraid of the US as Berhalter was afraid of the English I’d offer the tactical nous of Berhalter lacked. I said it back in 2017 – Jesse Marsch should have been selected as the US Men’s National Team Head Coach. I remain STUBBORNLY STEADFAST and STEADFASTLY STUBBORN Jesse Marsch should be leading our Country. Oh, wait, Marsch is now a head coach for Leeds United, a position likely never to be held by Gregg Berhalter!

So, on pitch, the reason why the US Men’s National Team failed is strictly down to poor coaching and poor player development within the overall US Soccer Organization. Every positional weakness we see is down to the Coach and the US Soccer Organization in player position development. The fault of our team is not, I repeat, not down to the players.


Finally – perhaps the greatest culprit in why Soccer simply doesn’t get better in our country is down to our media and, in particular, the absolute bollocks offered up by FOX Sports and the likes of Alexi Lalas, Clint Dempsey, Rob Stone, Stu Holden, Landon Donovan, John Strong, Chad Ocho-Cinco (who the fuck is this guy?) and the rest of the (not named) crew.

I have never heard a more condescending, pedantic, over-hyped group of hyperbole (bullshit and bollocks) in my life. What was gratifying was reading Aaron Timms article in the Guardian offering the same views.

While it may not make sense to many I put at least 50% of the blame on our nation’s failure, in the World Cup, down to the absolute bullshit (offered year in, year out) by our media. And a good portion of that bullshit media starts with Twitter and the ‘click-bait’ environment it has created.

Best, Chris

Does Major League Soccer facilitate people like Merritt Paulson?

I won’t offer a whole lot here today – just this little nugget.

How many articles has MLS.Soccer.com written about Merritt Paulson that address the latest issues: NONE…

In case you missed it here’s the most recent list of articles written about Merritt Paulson by MLS writers:

And, again, in case you missed it here’s the most recent list of articles written about Gavin Wilkinson by MLS writers.

Huh, is it unreasonable to believe www.mls.soccer.com is condoning his behavior?

I think so, Major League Soccer is nothing but minor league in every shape; from it’s analytics to it’s operational construct. What a joke!

Kind regards, Chris

Merritt Paulson, Gavin Wilkinson, Portland Timbers, and Portland Thorns Organizations Embarrass Portland Oregon

Well, I won’t say I told everyone so but beginning in 2012, when I first started covering the Portland Timbers, I always figured Paulson, Wilkinson, Golub, and others (to remain nameless) offered timely lip service, always with the intent to get what they wanted regardless of who it impacted.

In case you missed it – here’s what I’m referring to: Portland Thorns dismiss…

I really do hope the Timbers get their arse kicked this next weekend in Salt Lake – couldn’t happen to a better organization.

Later… Chris

2022 US Open Cup

Well, the new tournament has started and already some upsets in the mix:

CHICAGO (April 7, 2022) – The final matchday of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Second Round brought three more cupsets and was capped off by an explosion of goals (11 in total) in the last two games of the evening. In all, eight final teams punched their ticket to the Third Round, which will see the entrance of 17 lower seeded U.S. based Division I (MLS) clubs when play takes place from April 19-21 on ESPN+.

  • The match between Charleston Battery (USLC) and South Georgia Tormenta FC (USLL1) originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 6 was postponed to Thursday morning due to inclement weather. Tormenta FC won the match 1-0 at Patriots Point Soccer Stadium in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. to kick off the final Second Round matchday with a cupset. They were followed by impressive upsets from Chattanooga FC (NISA), who dispatched Memphis 901 FC (USLC) 3-1, and Greenville Triumph SC (USLL1) who slipped past Oakland Roots (USLC) 2-0.
  • Elsewhere, Rochester New York FC (MLSNP), Hartford Athletic (USLC) and Birmingham Legion FC (USLC) all cruised to victory before the fireworks began out west where Sacramento Republic FC (USLC) scored a 6-0 rout of Portland Timbers U23 with all the goals coming in the first half — and California United Strikers FC (NISA) blanking local qualifiers San Fernando Valley FC (Calif.) 5-0.
  • Besides the 17 MLS squads, the Third Round will feature 15 clubs from Div. II (USL Championship), 14 from Div. III: USL League One – 8, NISA – 4, MLS NEXT Pro – 2, and two Open Division amateurs: USL League Two – 1, NPSL – 1.

All that offered above is pure information about the US Open Cup as things stand today – now for some editorial opinion.

This tournament approach is the biggest ripoff of an “Open” soccer tournament in the world – since when does geographic location have anything to do with how a tournament is organized – oops – there’s the Men’s and Women’s World Cup I guess…

Okay, I’m convinced the idea is a good one, but the United States is NOT the size of the entire world – it’s fifty states all pretty much located within a reasonable geographical boundary where it’s usually no more than a five hour flight between the east and west coast.

So WHY it is that EVERY YEAR this tournament is played small/medium/large teams from the northeastern coast of the United States never-ever face their counterparts from the southeastern US, middle America or the West Coast until much later in the competition?

Every year we usually see the bigger MLS teams make a run for the cup no differently than they do in a geographically organized MLS. Meaning the US Open Cup is really no different that MLS Playoffs. (Boring)….

If it’s a true Open Cup then the geographical boundaries need to be removed. It’s just not proper cricket that we, as a nation of growing soccer supporters, have to put up with this bollocks.

Isn’t it ironic that a mostly purely capitalistic country has the MOST socialistically developed soccer league – while the primarily socialistically developed continent of Europe (the big land across the Atlantic pond that Donald Trump was trying to abandon as part of NATO) has the most purely capitalistic soccer leagues in the World.

And we wonder why the United States Men’s National Team gets routinely thrashed by most European football teams… As for the Women’s team – well it’s likely, given league development in Europe, the dominance of ‘athleticism’ by our great female athletes will be surpassed by a large margin in 2023.

US Soccer is a pathetically rich organization that sustains the status quo…

Maybe NEXT year we will see a true Open Cup that drops geographical boundaries and completely opens up the game.

Best, Chris

Total Soccer Index Returns

Well the last few years have been quite a disappointment with MLS changing their soccer statistics format and other public sites no longer offering the key statistics I need in order to provide the United States soccer supporters a worthy Index that rates teams based upon controlled possession, penetration, creation, and shot taking.

But that’s changed, after a considerable review of publicly made available soccer statistics I’ll now be able to provide some cutting edge team performance analyses; to include the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, at least for the United States.

What does this mean? Well, for those who’ve previously followed my analyses I’ll now be able to provide you a good forecasting tool to help you with betting. And, likely, some good team performance info that will help you determine what individual players may help you on your fantasy teams.

I wish you all good luck and good fortune next year.

Best regards, Chris

Portland Timbers defeat Colorado Rapids 1 – Nil

Ever since their thrashing at the hands of Seattle Sounders around mid-season this year the Portland Timbers have been a team on a mission. Win, Win, and then Win again.

No team in MLS has done better since August 21st than Portland… No one.

Why is this and how, exactly, did that manifest itself in Colorado Thanksgiving day yesterday?

Well, it WASN’T down to Expected Goals (like www.mlssoccer.com Charles Boehm offers) just exactly how ignorant does he think the American soccer supporter really is, lest I forget about all you “full kit wankers”? Nor was it down to failed progression in penetrating possession by Colorado (based off statistics).

In case you didn’t know “Expected Goals” is NOT a statistical forecasting tool. Sorry, I just can’t NOT diss any writer who uses a statistical tool that has absolutely NO CORRELATION to points earned/lost…

In short……….. It was down to grist, grit, and nous knowing that set-pieces can win games. And with their star player taking a fall from a hamstring injury it was clear that grist was their avenue to victory.So what’s next for Portland? Well, to be honest, the opponent doesn’t matter – Savarese will take the same approach but use a few different players. I’ll not comment about Dairon Asprilla, just say I told you so.

Here’s what I hope – Diego Valeri gets a start and offers his magic for at least 60 minutes of play – what better way to end a swan song of a season than to go out with his boots on and a sweaty man-bun.

Good luck to Portland.

Best, Chris Gluck

Getting Better as a Youth Soccer Coach

When I was a Soccer Youth Head Coach, in England and America, I sometimes struggled with how to manage the well-intentioned, high level of energy, that parents and/or guardians brought to the Soccer pitch.

At that time I hadn’t concieved my Possession with Purpose analytical approach, but if I had, I would certainly have followed it.

Why, because I think and feel there is great value in understanding some of the basic activities of soccer, mesauring those activities, and using those results to drive improvement.  And the earlier in the development of soccer the better in understanding that while this game is measured by wins, draws, and losses, it isn’t just about scoring goals – it’s about preventing them too.

If you’re an aspiring soccer Head Coach, new or old, I think this approach in leveraging parents/guardians to help you help the team is a great step towards getting better.

If that resonates with you, or even if it doesn’t, I think it’s worthy you take a few minutes to consider what I offer.

Before digging in, you should know up front, this entire approach works from my Strategic Possession with Purpose Family of Indices; the same analysis offered up at the 2014 World Conference on Science and Soccer.

And the same analysis used to evalute professional team performances within Major League Soccer, the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga, World Cup 2014 and the UEFA Champions League.

The End State is to measure team performance – ignoring results (points in the league table) in order to track and trend (analyze) individual and team performance with the intent of driving towards improvement.

In statistical terms the relationship (correlation) of my analyses (the Composite PWP Index to Points in the League Table) without counting points is (R2) .86.

In other words 86% of the time my own Index reflects the outputs in the League Table without counting points.

AND…. 86% of the time the winning teams execute the steps within PWP better than the losing team!

With that said here’s what to do.

  1. Split the pitch into thirds and place one parent at the entry point into your own defending final third and one at the entry point into your opponent’s defending final third.
  2. Next, place two parents at the middle of the pitch.
  3. Then place one parent at or near the end line on your defending side of the pitch and then one parent at the same position on the opponent’s defending side of the pitch.
  4. Give each parent a clipboard and pen (waterproof if necessary) and have them begin to count and keep track of certain ‘team’ data points.
  5. The two parents in the center of the pitch are to count and document (all) passes attempted and passes completed for each team (throw-ins and free kicks included) across the entire pitch.  If you have four parents then have two track passes attempted and two track passes completed, one for each team.
  6. The two parents at the entry to the defending final third are to count and document passes attempted and completed (within and into) the defending final third for each team. This also includes all throw-ins, crosses, corners and free kicks that are not specific shots taken on goal.  If you have four parents/guardians then have one each track passes attempted and passes completed separately for each team.
  7. Finally, the two parents on the end lines are to count and document shots taken, shots on goal, and goals scored for each team.

At the end of the game you will have a complete data base (by volume and percentage) that gives you the information to identify your team’s possession percentage, passing accuracy, penetration per possession, ability to generate shots per penetrating possession, what percentage of those shots taken were on goal and what percentage of those shots on goal that scored goals (your team attacking).

And since you collected data on your opponent you will also have all the data on how well your opponent did in those same categories against you (your team defending).

Pretty much meaning you’ve just captured the ENTIRE bell curve of activities I use to measure team performance at the very highest level in the World.

With that data you can now determine, analyze, and document/chart/track ways to improve your attacking as well as defending team performances.  And as each game occurs you continue to build a data.

This information is then used to help you develop new training plans that look to help the team improve where weaknesses exist.

I do not recommend keeping track of individual performance unless you have enough parents and players who are mature enough to deal with individual weaknesses.

This approach should have application at any level of soccer – to include premier, as well as select, recreational, ODP or elsewhere.  As a matter of opinion, I’d offer the closer you are to a higher level of play the more important this approach becomes.

Outcomes from this approach give data to set targets for improvement and the ability to measure the success in that improvement.

In addition, this approach also reinforces that Youth Soccer Development is not all about winning, it’s about getting better while trying to do the things teams need to do in order to win.

If any team wishes to take on this challenge, as a youth club, anywhere in America, send me your data and I will give you one month of analysis that includes preparing products I develop in my analysis of professional football clubs.

I may even publish those products, as examples, for others to learn from in future articles.

And if you are located in the Portland or Beaverton area send me a note and I will make every effort to visit a training session, and or game, to help better explain this approach.

Finally, my general analysis may also include some recommendations on what training plans/programs may help focus your team on key areas to improve.

Bottom line at the bottom:

There is value in understanding and tracking the basic activities that occur in a game of soccer.  It not only helps the players understand their larger role in this team game it also helps the parents understand the greater detail and responsibility you have as a coach to help others get better as a ‘team’.

In case you missed it; this year four Head Coaches from teams who finished near or bottom on the CPWP Strategic Index have already been sacked in MLS:

CPWP Strategic Index Week 31 MLS

And last year five of the six worst teams in performing the PWP steps had the Head Coaches sacked!

End of Season 2013 MLS Coaching Changes

Pretty compelling evidence that teams who perform better have Head Coaches who last longer… if you want to have success as a Youth Head Coach then I strongly suggest you adopt the measurement methods and analysis associated with PWP; with or without using Parents/Guardians.

If there are every any questions please feel free to contact me through Linked-in or through twitter; my twitter is @chrisgluckpwp.

Best, Chris

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