Examining a few relevant or intriguing MLS statistics

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Statistics are hardly the straw the stirs soccer the way it does so many other American sports. But there are certainly numbers the rise above others in significance.

Periodically, I like to pour carefully through the stack of stats and draw a circle around a few of them.

From Major League Soccer’s latest stats pack, here are some potentially talkers, and what makes them so.

  • San Jose bully-boy center back Victor Bernardez will miss Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier versus the United States for a yellow card accumulation (well, “accumulation” being two when it comes to World Cup qualifying). A surprise? Nah … not if you consider than Bernardez is tied atop the leaders with six cautions.
  • A big difference in FC Dallas this year and FC Dallas’ version of 2012: the ability to see out the results, to properly manage matches in late minutes. Result: Dallas is a league-best 6-0-0 in one-goal games.
  • Bruce Arena and the Galaxy may be correct to complain about the alleged foul that led to Marcelo Sarvas’ dodgy yellow card late in last week’s match against Real Salt Lake. (We went over that one here.) But! … Sarvas does foul a lot. And he has probably deserved another card or two along the way for persistent fouling. So, karmic justice? Either way, he leads the league in fouls committed with 42.
  • Dallas’ David Ferreira (pictured) leads the league in fouls suffered with 43. But Columbus’ Eddie Gaven is second with 38, and he has played in two or three fewer matches than the leaders around him.  That just helps underscore how much the Crew will miss that guy; Gaven recently suffered an ACL tear.

(MORE: MLS Preview — Portland hosting Dallas)

  • Most eye-popping stat out there: There have been 12 own goals in MLS this year. Vancouver has four of them! Man, they should kick one to start the match just to get the damn thing over with.
  • You know how everybody kept expecting this big goalkeeper battle in New York once Ryan Meara got past his injury, and how we thought he was almost ready in preseason? Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles has started more matches (16) than any other player in the league.
  • New England’s Bobby Shuttleworth has the league’s top saves percentage, 80.4. Tough to say, but longtime Revs backstopper Matt Reis is going to have a tough, tough time ever getting that job back.
  • D.C. United has gone 295 minutes without a goal in league matches. Not to worry; they’ve got some time before matching New England’s 394-minute scoreless skid earlier this year.

Premier League vet Kenwyne Jones retires at age 33

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It wasn’t the season that Kenwyne Jones had expected in his first Major League Soccer season, but the veteran Trinidad & Tobago striker had himself quite the career.

[ MORE: Miguel Almiron wins MLS Newcomer of the Year ]

Jones, 33, announced his retirement on Monday after boasting an extensive career in England prior to finishing up his playing with Atlanta United.

Atlanta opted not to renew Jones’ contract with the club after scoring twice in 17 appearances this season for the expansion side.

The Trinidadian posted the following message to supporters on Twitter this afternoon.

Jones spent nine seasons in the Premier League, including stints with Southampton, Stoke City and Sunderland.

Additionally, the forward played for Al Jazira from UAE in 2016 before moving on loan to Central in his native Trinidad prior to his arrival in Atlanta’s debut MLS season.

Eibar routs Betis 5-0 to snap 8-game winless streak in Spain

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MADRID (AP) Eibar routed 10-man Real Betis 5-0 in the Spanish league on Monday, ending an eight-match winless streak in all competitions.

Eibar hadn’t won since Sept. 15. It had lost six of its eight matches since then.

[ MORE: Brighton, Stoke finish level after Izquierdo’s second-half finish ]

The hosts got on the board with an own goal by Betis defender Jordi Amat just six minutes in, and midfielder Gonzalo Escalante scored with a header near halftime.

Striker Charles Dias scored twice in the second half, and Sergi Enrich closed the scoring in front of less than 5,000 fans at Ipurua Stadium.

“We deserved a victory like this to help us regain our confidence,” Enrich said.

Betis played with 10 men from the 55th as Aissa Mandi was red-carded for the foul that prompted a penalty kick converted by Dias.

“It was difficult to recover after we went a man down and they scored the third goal,” Betis midfielder Joaquin Sanchez said.

Eibar remained 17th in the 20-team standings, just outside the relegation zone.

Betis, winless in three matches, dropped to ninth place.

Barcelona leads by four points over second-place Valencia.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Pogba believes Man United can win Premier League if squad stays fit

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There’s no doubt that on paper Manchester United has all the workings of a Premier League contender, and Paul Pogba certainly agrees.

[ MORE: Brighton, Stoke settle for draw in back-and-forth affair ]

The influential midfielder made his return to the Red Devils lineup this weekend in United’s 4-1 beatdown of Newcastle, along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo.

With Jose Mourinho’s squad finally getting healthy, Pogba believes that the sky is the limit for his side as they look to chase down league leaders and cross-town rivals Manchester City.

“To win the league we need all our players,” Pogba told MUTV. “When you have one injured here, one injured there, it doesn’t help. It’s always better to have a full team.

“Zlatan’s back and Marcos after a long injury. It was hard for them but they kept believing and worked hard to come back. We need them to win the league and we’re really glad they’re here.”

Pogba’s presence was certainly missed in his absence, and he wasted no time in making an impact upon his return, scoring a goal and adding an assist against the Magpies.

The French international also spoke about his struggles last season with several minor injuries, but he’s hoping to remain in his United side for the rest of the 2017/18 campaign.

“Most of last season I had injuries but small ones. You just have to recover well because the Premier League is different to Italy — it’s more intense and you just have to think about recovery, then you have more games. Otherwise, I just feel good, just to come back.

“I’ve trained very hard to come back fit. The season is really long so we have to be fit — not only me but all the players. To come back, to play again, to see Old Trafford, to see the fans again, to score at Old Trafford on my comeback, I feel blessed. But we had to win — that was the most important thing.”

Red Bulls freestyler shows off dribbling skills… on a treadmill (Video)

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Players from around the world display their skills on social media on a regular basis, but they’re usually on a soccer field or blacktop when they do so.

[ MORE: Almiron wins MLS Newcomer of the Year, beats out Nikolic, Martinez ]

This New York Red Bulls freestyler had a different interpretation of how he’d show off his ball control on Monday.

DJ Diveny (@djdiveny on Twitter) posted this video — below — across his social media platforms today dribbling a soccer ball on a treadmill, while his colleagues appear to introduce cones at random points as obstacles.

In addition to his talents as a freestyler, Diveny is also a youth coach with Student Athlete Coaching & Consulting, based out of New Jersey.

Again… he’s on a treadmill while doing this. Pretty cool stuff.

Watch below.