The plot thickens as the weeks begin to shed away in Major League Soccer this year. A number of teams have consistently been at or near the top of my Composite PWP Index as much as a number of teams have consistently been near the bottom as well.
So two things this week:
- Checking the pulse on which teams are performing best so far, and
- What teams might decide to change managers and which might not.
To begin… The CPWP Index after Week 24:
Checking the pulse for the Playoffs:
Overall performance shows that the LA Galaxy, Sporting KC, Seattle, Columbus, DC United and FC Dallas lead the pack – the only team not named in the top 3 of either conference is Toronto – noted.
For me that’s okay – at this stage they have two games in hand and they also have a -1 in goal differential – it would be reasonable to offer that Ryan Nelson is doing a superb job managing a team that averages just 63.51% on completion of passes in the Final Third and only 73.92% on completion of passes across the entire pitch.
If the complete success of FC Dallas and Toronto have gone unnoticed, even with their poor passing characteristics, recognize it now – whether or not that catches up to them a bit later I guess we will see. However viewed, counter-attacking and playing for a quick transition against teams that like to possess the ball is working (getting results) – > whatever it takes!
For now the top tier teams (LA, Sporting, Seattle, Columbus, and DC United) all average > 77% passing accuracy. This lone statistic, at this time, is a more accurate soundbite than the percentage of possession…
In the middle of the pack (out west) there are three teams (Colorado, Vancouver, and Portland) most likely competing for the final spot in the Playoffs; the differences in the Indices are marginal – another four goals against this weekend at Vancouver is likely to see Portland drop below the raging Whitecaps.
With respect to Colorado – I’m not sure – Mastroeni has done a good job so far this year but their goal differential is no different than Portland’s (- 2).
If I had to offer a guess at this stage I’d offer either Portland (if they can learn to defend) or Vancouver have the better chance of making the Playoffs given the schedules of those three teams.
Then again – a dark horse remains in San Jose – they have some injuries but a pretty solid defense, like Vancouver (really?) – so who knows – especially since San Jose have six games against those three teams (plus) one against Chivas and one against Montreal…
At this stage I’m seeing LA Galaxy taking the Supporters Shield.
Potential Head Coach Movement?
If you recall last year 10teams either had their coach leave or get sacked – here’s the diagram as a reminder on how that played out last year.
So in considering potential changes this year:
Philadelphia Union – For this year we already know John Hackworth got sacked and Jim Curtin has been working as his temporary replacement – as noted by the Philadelphia Union front office earlier this year – it is likely they hire a brand new coach with extensive MLS experience.
Houston and Dominic Kinnear – I think there is simply too much front office support for this guy – and rightly so. To see him leave or get the sack has as much of a chance as Ben Olsen getting the sack last year.
He didn’t and it’s not likely Kinnear does either. Like DC United, Houston already know and are working to fix their weaknesses (the defensive back-four and a quality striker to replace Will Bruin). Yeh… sorry – some may disagree with that?
In looking at Montreal – what a complete balls-up that organization is. They probably sacked the wrong guy already and have already made a commitment to allow Frank Klopas to stay put at least one more year…
To improve they will certainly need to spend money on defenders as well as an upgrade in the midfield and in attack. I guess what that means is they probably need at least 10 new players… cleaning house in this case is probably not a bad idea since there probably isn’t any locker-room chemistry to damage with wholesale changes.
Chivas USA – or whatever their name will be. A complete embarrassment not only to LA but to MLS as a whole – what better example to exemplify the need exhume this team and excommunicate them from LA.
Move – for the sake of soccer in the United States of America —> move! Not only was the front office pathetic – the home crowds were not even crowds – at best they were sporadic gatherings.
Why on earth anyone would follow a group (note I don’t say organization) like Chivas USA is beyond belief when there is such a well organized team already in that city.
Anyhow – back to Wilmer Cabrera – hey I like the guy and he’s doing the best he can with what he has – no need to sack Wilmer. Besides it would be rude given a real soccer organization probably doesn’t have enough information to make a judgment that he should stay or go.
I don’t know how he finds the motivation to lead Chivas – what a great example for other Head Coaches to learn from when it comes to leading without having other leaders to support you! Bless him – don’t sack him…
San Jose – it’s unlikely Mark Watson gets the sack – San Jose is a pretty good defensive team and some player changes this year have improved things in attack – with a new stadium they could make a managerial change but I think and sense the San Jose front office continues to support Mark Watson.
Chicago Fire – what’s up with that team? Why on earth they would want to add Jermaine Jones to a team that already has four central midfielders I don’t know. But perhaps it reinforces just how little Frank Yallop recognizes what he actually needs to do to improve this team.
Defense! Their back four has been horrible for most of the season – adding Jones only makes sense if he changes his role and plays as a centerback as well as a fullback as well as a central midfielder; granted Jones is talented but can he really be ‘the’ answer when so many other gaps exist on this team? Not likely.
All told this team probably needs four Jermaine Jones clones to have any chance of competing. As for sacking Yallop? Probably won’t happen but I offer it should; if anything to appease the large supporter base, like Philadelphia did in sacking John Hackworth – a move I didn’t really agree with – but that’s just me.
At this stage I’m seeing Montreal taking the Wooden Spoon…
It’s getting near pucker time – when a team needs to win and take three points they really need to win…
Twenty seven points for the taking is a lot – with about half of each teams’ games probably coming at home it’s likely a more reasonable target is 15-18 points for those in the Playoff chase and perhaps 18-21 points for those in the Supporters Shield chase…
All set for this weekend?
Hope so… I’ll be taking in the Sporting match against Houston as well as the locally televised match between Vancouver and Portland; that one should be a knees-up, tight one, as both teams really need three points!
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