Category: MLS All Star Week

@MLS Total Soccer Index Power Rankings and More

The all star game happens this week so what better time to review where teams compare in the Total Soccer Index.

After every team had played 17 games; (halfway through the season).

Top team with 17 games in, points wise, was not Atlanta it was FC Dallas; Red Bulls of New York showed most consistency in quality across the pitch.

  • With Jesse Marsch departing it will be interesting to see if Red Bulls can continue that run of quality – if they do they could be a great bet to win it all if the pundits stick with Atlanta given their edge in points earned.
  • I also feel vindicated, as a pundit, as I recognized Jesse Marsch as the best ‘domestic’ MLS Head Coach option for the US Men’s National Team last year; read it here:.
  • Of additional interest; my second choice to coach the US Men’s National Team would be Oscar Pareja… not Gregg Berhalter.

Oscar Pareja, like Jesse Marsch, shows greater consistency of purpose in earning points when his team plays with OR without the ball.

Worst were Orlando, Colorado, and Montreal…  more to follow on just how bad Orlando and Colorado are; even compared to Chivas USA!

Here’s how the teams stack up (in one big conference) for total games played.   The Eastern Conference rules the roost.

Best and worst playing at home; the Eastern Conference rules the roost:

Best and worst playing away from home; only LA Galaxy,, of the Western Conference, squeeze into the top 3:

The elite teams at home are pretty much the elite teams on the road; some of the worst teams on the road are also in the bottom third at home.

When you’re good, you’re good, when you’re bad you’re bad.

In closing:

I don’t live in Orlando and I don’t follow their team, but it seems to me there’s some significant issues with that club at ALL levels.

  • In any other league in any other country they’d be relegated.
  • Instead they’ll get extra money to make them ‘appear’ to be more competitive.
  • When you’ve got a bad front office and ownership group you’ll consistently have a bad team.

To give you an idea what I mean; here’s the Total Soccer Index for every team that’s played in MLS since 2014 (all games included in this analysis). 

Only one team (not Chivas USA) has shown worse overall (combined) team performance (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and now 2018) than Orlando…. San Jose!

As much as folks might blast Orlando City ownership there should be equal, if not more, attention sent the way of Colorado and San Jose, as well as Chicago (maybe?).

  • Relegation would have seen these teams probably sink to division 3 if US Soccer ran a proper organization.
  • Ironic that Chivas USA has actually shown better in team performance than Montreal, Chicago, Colorado, Orlando, and San Jose…
  • When is the last time you heard soccer pundits calling out those organizations like they did Chivas USA?
  • If ever an organization needed to hire a forward-thinking, team-performance statistical analyst it’s Orlando, San Jose, Colorado, or Chicago.  Give me a call. 🙂

While Atlanta have shown well their first two season, the two most consistent teams (across 5 years’ measurement) are Red Bulls and FC Dallas.

  • Just another piece of team performance data for US Soccer to analyze that confirms both Jesse Marsch and Oscar Pareja are far more consistent in having their teams ‘earn points’, while also showing consistent quality across the entire pitch, than Gregg Berhalter.
  • Oooh, that’s likely to be a snarky comment for some and a front loaded criticism of US Soccer if they decide to hire Gregg.  Note this isn’t me saying he’s not a good coach – he is – but is he a better selection than Pareja or some other guy who coaches domestic soccer in Europe?

Best, Chris

Bayern Munich – Training in Portland – Efficient

You know when you watch a game and you think to yourself or mention to your friend sitting close by one of these phrases…

“just a tad off”

“a nice back heel would have been good there”

“oh-my; he spooned it”

“if he’d only played that ball just a wee bit slower”

Well, in the short period of time I got to witness a Bayern Munich training session today none of those phrases came to mind…  It was more like…

“lovely back-heel”

“superb touch”

“wow – look at the pace and location of that shot”

“the weight on that pass was superb”

I didn’t take many pictures of the session – I’m not very good at that.

But if you asked me to describe what I saw I’d say one word… “efficient”.

And perhaps the best example is this picture taken during the Goal Keeper training session…

Water - hah...  nothing stops us from training...

Water – hah… nothing stops us from training…

Yes, that is a sprinkler system operating during the goal keeper training session – jets of water hitting the coach and the players alike and not once did they stop – not even for a water break ;).

After the goalie session the team moved onto to three wide movement drills with dodging/weaving leading into dribble drives and a wall pass to a teammate who set the player up for a quick strike.

Three separate lines were going on at the same time – left, middle and right.

And even while that was going on the players who weren’t actively engaged were on the sidelines doing stretching and other aerobic exercises to keep them busy waiting in the queue… as I said “efficient”.

When that session was complete the players were split up into three short sided teams and they played six/seven aside on a short pitch.

All told the pace, strength and sheer speed of the game was brutal – and yes… when the third team wasn’t playing – guess where they were?

On the sideline stretching and doing light aerobics…. did I mention their training session was “efficient”?

In thinking about that training session it reminded me of a joke I use to hear living in England – …play the full 90 minutes and when the game is over the Germans win…

In closing…

I did get to watch Julian Green – and no I’m not convinced yet.

He did look quick but he was not aggressive and he simply didn’t get stuck in – I’m not sure that’s because he’s quite diminutive compared to the other players or not.

But for me I remain unconvinced he will come anywhere near the starting 18 for Bayern.

There was simply too much quality on that pitch elsewhere – and at least 4-5 guys were probably missing to include Robben and others…

However viewed it should be exciting to see him on Wednesday night.

When someone local asked him about the Timbers Army and about playing in front of them he didn’t have a clue who they were…

But to be fair, should he know about them?  Probably not… yet…  but I’m sure the build-up over the next few days may help him understand just how huge soccer is in this City.

But for now I’d think his primary concern is competing for a spot on the first team for Bayern Munich.

Best, Chris