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.
- 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.