Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is Arabe Unido the Dirtiest Team in the CONCACAF Champions League?

Over the last two years I've developed an overwhelming hatred of Panama's Arabe Unido. The strategy in their 2009-10 home leg against Houston consisted of two-footed tackles and overall hackery. This year's performance against Real Salt Lake alternated between thuggery and the worst display of "ow my spleen" time-wasting I've ever seen. If E/R was still running we might have seen a number of their players on gurneys as extras. With nine yellow and one red card in just two games this year, it made me wonder if they were the dirtiest team in the CONCACAF Champions League.

In order to study this I combed through last year's discipline stats. While Arabe Unido had the most red cards of any team in the 2009-2010 edition of the tournament, they weren't even in the top five as far as yellow cards per game. After factoring out the teams that only played twice, these teams rose to the top:
             YC/G  RC/G
Pachuca 3.70 0.00
Houston 3.17 0.17
Toluca 3.00 0.00
Cruz Azul 2.90 0.10
DC United 2.63 0.25
Columbus 2.38 0.13
Arabe Unido 2.30 0.30
So three Mexican teams, three American teams and then Arabe Unido. Perhaps there's something about playing American teams that brings out the worst in Arabe.

ReAL Epic Failure

Three stinking minutes. All Real Salt Lake had to do was hold out for another three minutes last night and they would have become the first American team to beat a Mexican team in Mexico during an official competition. Instead they managed to give up three goals from the 87th minute onward and go on to lose 5-4 to Cruz Azul. They even managed to score a goal of their own in there to level at 4-4 and managed to screw that up as well.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Well That Didn't Take Long

Less than 24 hours after I opined that a Mexican team had to lose at some point in the CONCACAF Champions League, Toronto FC managed to shock Cruz Azul 2-1 at BMO Field. By defeating last year's runners-up Toronto FC became the first MLS team to beat a Mexican team in the 2+ years of the Champions League. The last time an MLS team defeated a Mexican team in a CONCACAF tournament was April of 2008 when DC United beat Pachuca in the semifinals of the old Champions Cup.

Monday, August 16, 2010

2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League Results By Country

With the group stage about to kick off, it seems like a good time to recap the current results by country. Teams from Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama will join the survivors of the preliminary round, so these number may change drastically by the end of the group stage. I mean, Mexican teams have to lose at some point, right?

                   W  L  T  GF  GA  GD  Win %  PPG
Mexico 4 0 0 15 2 13 100.0 3.00
Canada 1 0 1 3 2 1 50.0 2.00
USA 2 1 1 5 6 -1 50.0 1.75
Puerto Rico 1 1 0 5 3 2 50.0 1.50
El Salvador 1 1 2 4 3 1 25.0 1.25
Honduras 1 2 1 6 5 1 25.0 1.00
Trinidad & Tobago 1 2 1 6 10 -4 25.0 1.00
Costa Rica 0 1 1 4 6 -2 0.0 0.50
Guatemala 0 1 1 1 3 -2 0.0 0.50
Panama 1 3 0 4 13 -9 25.0 0.00

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Houston's Seller's Remorse

If you're a Dynamo fan you have to feel slightly ill about your stable of forwards. Houston's leading scorer is Brad Davis - a midfielder by trade who's bagged just four goals this season. No forward on the roster (including Brian Ching) has scored more than two goals. To make matters worse, two players that were recently wearing the Houston orange are the leading scorers for other teams.

Last year the Dynamo dealt Chris Wondolowski and a draft pick to San Jose for Cam Weaver. Wondo leads the Earthquakes with six goals. Weaver has scored just one in 316 injury-plagued minutes. In 2009 the Dynamo also traded Kei Kamara, getting Abe Thompson and allocation money in return. Thus far Houston has gotten nothing from their end of the deal. Thompson did nothing significant and joined second division Miami FC this season. Including a tally at the end of last season, Kamara has scored seven goals for the Wizards.

Not long ago, it seemed like Houston had the golden touch when it came to forwards. Now it seems that King Midas has left town.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Ljungberg Trade

As a Fire fan, I was a little surprised that they acquired Freddie Ljungberg for the MLS equivalent of a bag of soccer balls (well, at least now that Supplemental Draft picks no longer exist.) He's certainly talented, and his contract only runs until the end of the year so it's a low-risk maneuver for the Men in Red, but Shawn Francis over at The Offside Rules captures the existential malaise surrounding the deal.

Donovan Joins the Centurions

With two penalty kick goals this weekend, Landon Donovan became just the sixth MLS player to top 100 career goals. As recently as 2008 there were only three players who had reached this plateau - Jaime Moreno, Ante Razov and Jason Kreis.

The next player with a decent chance of reaching 100 goals is Edson Buddle. If he keeps scoring at the rate he has the last two seasons, he should reach 100 goals next year.