Examining a few relevant or intriguing MLS statistics

1 Comment

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.

Pique says Neymar “does not know what to do”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has spoken out about the Neymar saga, stating that he and his fellow teammates are trying to lend their comrade a hand as he looks to sort out his future between Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain.

Speaking ahead of the El Clasico preseason match in Miami, Pique told reporters, “Neymar and I we are very close and I want him to stay and I know the situation. Right now he doesn’t know what to do and we are trying to help him, the ones [on the team] that are more close to him to take the right decision.”

[ MORE: Miazga loaned back to Vitesse ]

Pique was the source of intrigue a five days ago when he posted a Tweet with picture of himself and Neymar and the caption “He stays.” The defender was forced to clarify later saying that his post was only a hopeful prediction of the future rather than a bit of breaking news.

“It depends on what he wants,” Pique said at the pre-match press conference. “He can be in all the clubs in all the world. He can be in Paris, Barcelona, Chelsea or City. All the clubs will want him. It’s about your priorities. What do you want? Do you want more money? Do you want to win titles?”

Then, Pique used his knowledge of American sports to make a comparison, perhaps indirectly referencing Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. “It’s happening here and it’s happening in the NBA as well. There are some players that are not earning all the money that they deserve to win titles. So sometimes you have to take decisions in life and it’s all about priorities.”

Meanwhile, club captain Iniesta was also asked about Neymar, and he said he just wants a decision soon. “We [as players] just want peace which will benefit everyone – the players, the club and everything surrounding it.”

Former Barcelona defender Carles Puyol also spoke out about Neymar’s situation, telling Spanish publication Marca that he thinks Neymar should make his decision soon to erase the uncertainty.

Cheers! Czech soccer club shapes dugouts like beer cans

2 Comments

PRAGUE (AP) Czech club Viktoria Plzen has come up with innovative beer-can shaped dugouts that truly represent the city.

The club from Plzen, or Pilsen in English, is known as the Czech capital of beer which gave the world the golden “pilsner” lager in 1842.

This week, it unveiled the new dugouts at its Doosan Arena that look exactly like beer cans.

Plzen manager general Adolf Sadek said it was a joint idea from the club and the nearby Gambrinus brewery.

“Such dugouts are unique and I daresay no other club has them,” Sadek said.

Added Gambrinus brewer Zdenek Polak, “Beer and football belong to each other.”

Players welcomed the novelty, particularly with leather heated seats.

The dugouts will first be tested in Viktoria’s season opener against Dukla Prague on Saturday.

Report: USMNT’s Paul Arriola attracting MLS, European interest

Twitter/@USSoccer
Leave a comment

Several U.S. Men’s National Team players made strong impressions on Bruce Arena and Co. at this month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup — which resulted in a Stars and Stripes title.

[ MORE: NYCFC continues push to top in latest MLS Power Rankings ]

One of those players is Club Tijuana attacker Paul Arriola, whose performance for the USMNT and in Mexico have drawn him significant interest from MLS, Portugal and the Netherlands, according to Goal USA.

The report from Goal states that a “half dozen” sides in MLS have shown interest in Arriola, including Real Salt Lake.

Arriola, 22, has played for Xolos in Liga MX since 2013 after finishing up his academy career with the LA Galaxy.

The Galaxy would hold the rights to Arriola if he were to join MLS due to a Homegrown claim, despite the forward only spending one season with the club’s academy from 2012 to 2013.

Chanot, Wallace among missing for NYCFC’s clash at Toronto

Twitter/@MagaraStarFC
Leave a comment

Patrick Vieira’s men have been flying high as of late, but New York City FC’s difficult schedule continues over the weekend north of the border.

[ MORE: NYCFC continues push towards top of PST MLS Power Rankings ]

NYCFC will take on Toronto FC on Sunday afternoon at BMO Field, but the third-place side in the Eastern Conference will have to do so without six first-team players.

[ MORE: MLS Week 22 preview — Sigi makes LA debut against Sounders ]

A number of injuries will keep out regulars like center back Maxime Chanot, winger Rodney Wallace and Ronald Matarrita, while Miguel Camargo, Khiry Shelton and 16-year-old midfielder/defender James Sands are also sidelined ahead of the Toronto clash.

Wallace and Camargo each sustained injuries during the CONCACAF Gold Cup while on duty with Costa Rica and Panama, respectively.

The two sides settled for a 2-2 draw when they last met on July 19 at Yankee Stadium, but an NYCFC victory could mean a strong push for Vieira and Co. towards the top of the East.

As the table stands, NYCFC currently sits just three points Toronto at the top of the Eastern Conference through 21 matches, while the Chicago Fire are lumped in between the two clubs on 38 points.

Meanwhile, TFC will continue to deal with a couple injuries of its own as Steven Beitashour and Benoit Cheyrou remain out with abdominal and calf ailments, respectively.