Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Schelotto Stalls at 19 Assists

At the beginning of September, I commented that Guillermo Barros Schelotto had a good chance of becoming just the second MLS player to ever tally 20 assists. While Schelotto had an MVP-caliber season he came up just short, tying Marco Etcheverry, Carlos Valderrama and Steve Ralston for the second highest total in league history.

Player TM GM A Year
1 Carlos Valderrama TB 32 26 2000
2 **Schelotto** CLB 27 19 2008
Marco Etcheverry DC 26 19 1996
Carlos Valderrama TB 20 19 1997
Marco Etcheverry DC 29 19 1998
Steve Ralston NE 27 19 2002
6 Steve Ralston TB 32 18 1999
7 Carlos Valderrama TB 23 17 1996
Preki KC 27 17 1997
Marco Etcheverry DC 22 17 1999
Mauricio Cienfuegos LA 30 17 1999
Steve Ralston TB 30 17 2000
Preki KC 30 17 2003

Schelotto's season also ranks him third in margin of victory for the assists title.

1 Carlos Valderrama 9 2000
2 Preki 6 2003
3 **Schelotto** 4 2008
Jaime Moreno 4 2004
5 Marco Etcheverry 3 1998
Steve Ralston 3 2002
7 Marco Etcheverry 2 1996
Carlos Valderrama 2 1997

What really did him in was the fact that he missed a couple of games down the stretch. In some ways it puts the skill of Carlos Valderrama into perspective. Not only does he top both of these lists, he also averaged 0.95 assists per game in 1997 when he recorded 19 assists in 20 games.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Donovan Joins the 20 Goal Club

With his penalty kick goal against Dario Sala this weekend, Landon Donovan became just the ninth player in MLS history to score 20 or more goals in a season. His 20 goals tied him for the eighth-best season total in history.

Player TM GM G Year
1 Roy Lassiter TB 30 27 1996
2 Stern John CLB 27 26 1998
Mamadou Diallo TB 28 26 2000
4 Carlos Ruiz LA 26 24 2002
5 Taylor Twellman NE 28 23 2002
Raul Diaz Arce DC 28 23 1996
7 Eduardo Hurtado LA 26 21 1996
8 Luciano Emilio DC 29 20 2007
Landon Donovan LA 25 20 2008

A couple of random notes about this feat:
  • Donovan is the first player to do so in a season other than his first in the league.
  • This is the first time the league has had 20-goal scorers in consecutive years, as Luciano Emilio did it last year.

Sadly my guess is that this will be his last season in Major League Soccer. Europe awaits...

Monday, October 20, 2008

MLS Hits the Big Time

Mark it down - 2008 was the year that Major League Soccer became truly major league. Was it due to the influx of major stars like Beckham and Blanco? Of course not. Was it the fact that Forbes analyzed the financial worth of MLS franchises for the first time? Certainly not.

We've finally got ourselves a drug scandal! Red Bulls defender Jeff Parke and goalkeeper Jon Conway were hit with a ten game ban for performance enhancing drugs. I know many folks were shocked, but if you look at Conway's team pictures from the last two years, we really should have seen this coming...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trinidad & Tobago's MLS Players

A number of players on the Trinidad and Tobago roster for tonight's game with the United States have played in Major League Soccer. The most notable is Stern John. Fondly remembered by fans of the Columbus Crew, he scored 52 goals in just 65 appearances for the team.

Other MLS alums on the roster include:
  • Cornell Glen, who played for five teams in just three years. From 2004-2006 he appeared in 45 games, scoring 12 goals.
  • Toronto FC rookie Julius James who has made 12 league appearances for John Carver's side this season.
  • Avery John who played 6,500 minutes in 75 appearances for the New England Revolution.
  • Keyeno Thomas, whose lackluster MLS career consisted of 12 appearances for the Colorado Rapids in 2000.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

XBOX 360 Achievements

Someone involved with the XBOX 360 is a stinking genius. It's certainly not the person that was responsible for the overheating problem that killed a goodly number of the first generation of XBOX 360 hardware. I'm talking about the person who came up with the idea of achievement points.

The achievement points concept brings an entire "game within a game" concept into play, allowing players to chase goals that really have nothing to do with the main thrust of the game. The absolute worst achievement I've collected has to be from The Simpsons Game which rewarded me for pressing the start button. Lame....

My favorite achievement comes from Crackdown which rewarded me for killing five criminals while in mid-air. Normally I wouldn't recommend jumping while using a rocket launcher, but man alive was that fun.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cuban Defectors Redux

Another tournament, another defection. The Washington Post is reporting that two members of the Cuban National Team defected prior to Saturday's World Cup qualifier. That brings this year's grand total to nine.

Seeing as how you could almost field an entire team with this year's defections, it seemed like a good time to give a full list of those who have wandered away from their hotels to try their luck in MLS/USL. Here's the list as I understand it, annotated with where these players ended up.

Full national team: Reinier Alcantara and Pedro Faife

Under-23 team: Yordany Alvarez and Yenier Bermudez signed with Guaynabo Fluminese FC in Puerto Rico. As near as I can tell their teammates Erlys Garcia Baro, Yendry Diaz, Jose Manuel Miranda, Loanni Prieto and Eder Roldan have not signed contracts with any teams.

Lester More and Osvaldo Alonso both signed with the USL1 Charleston Battery. More made 12 appearances for the Battery in 2008, while Alonso scooped up this year's USL1 Rookie of the Year award.

Maykel Galindo walked away from the team during the Gold Cup. I wrote about him in a previous post.

Alberto Delgado and Rey Angel Martinez defected during the 2002 Gold Cup in Los Angeles. Both of them have had pretty decent careers. The pair signed with the Colorado Rapids, making 14 and eight appearances respectively in 2004. Delgado moved on to the USL1 Puerto Rico Islanders where he has featured over 30 times. Martinez latched on with the Rochester Raging Rhinos where he appeared in 60 games before switching to his current team, the USL1 Carolina Railhawks.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Learning About Cuba... and Having Some Food

Being the coach of the Cuban national team comes with an added challenge -- every so often players defect and you never get to select them again. Since 2005 no less than ten players have defected from either the senior or Olympic teams. While it's too soon to know if any of the seven Olympic team members who defected this year will amount to anything, there are two previous defectors that many teams in CONCACAF would love to have.

Osvaldo Alonso defected during the 2007 Gold Cup tournament. After being low-balled by Chivas USA he signed with the Charleston Battery, who also signed defector Lester More. Alonso had a huge year for the Battery, scoring a total of seven goals while patrolling the midfield. His standout play led to him being named a finalist for the USL1 Rookie of the Year award.

Maykel Galindo defected after the 2005 Gold Cup and signed with the Seattle Sounders. After slightly less than two seasons in the land of Starbucks Galindo signed with Chivas USA. Although he's been injured for large swatches of this season, his blistering pace helped him score 12 goals in 28 regular-season matches last year.

Would adding these players back into the Cuban national team make them locks for a World Cup berth? Probably not, but it would certainly make games against them more difficult and add some spice to the qualifying process.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The House That Checketts Built

With Real Salt Lake's brand new Rio Tinto stadium set to open, I was planning on blogging about how teams had fared in their opening game at their new stadiums. However Michael C. Lewis at the Salt Lake Tribune already compiled the list I was going to create. The home teams in inaugural games at their new stadiums are 3-1-2, with the only loss belonging to expansion franchise Toronto FC.

When the game kicks off Thursday, the Red Bulls will become the third franchise to participate in two such games -- the former Metrostars were also the visitors when FC Dallas opened Pizza Hut Park. The other teams to play in more than one inaugural game are New England, who helped open Crew Stadium way back in 1999 and Toyota Park, and Colorado who lost to the Galaxy at the opening of the Home Depot Center before opening their own digs last year.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Houston, We Don't Have a Problem

With their thrilling 4-4 tie against Pumas earlier this week, the Houston Dynamo became the first American team to play an official game in Mexico and not lose... ever.

Congrats! Too bad the rest of the league has been a horrifying cesspool of suck in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Updated CCL Results By Country

Now that the group stage is half-completed (well, aside from the game in Houston that was postponed due to the hurricane) it seems like a good time to update the results table. On the whole USL1 fans must be pretty darn happy with Canada and Puerto Rico's entrants first and second in the charts.

Canada 3 0 2 5 1 4 60.0% 2.20
Puerto Rico 3 0 2 10 6 4 60.0% 2.20
Mexico 8 4 3 33 15 18 53.3% 1.80
Trinidad & Tobago 3 2 0 8 6 2 60.0% 1.80
Panama 4 3 3 14 7 7 40.0% 1.50
Costa Rica 2 2 1 6 8 -2 40.0% 1.40
Honduras 3 3 2 13 10 3 37.5% 1.38
El Salvador 1 2 1 4 7 -3 25.0% 1.00
Guatemala 1 3 1 6 12 -6 20.0% 0.80
Nicaragua 0 1 1 0 1 -1 0.0% 0.50
USA 0 6 3 6 18 -12 0.0% 0.33
Jamaica 0 1 0 0 3 -3 0.0% 0.00
Belize 0 2 0 0 12 -12 0.0% 0.00