Questions: Ranking, Crowds, HDC, LA, RBNY

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Mar 22, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In today's Questions, Tony discusses several ways to view MLS attendance, the number of games at the Home Depot Center, and the prognosis in New Jersey.

What is even sillier than 'Power Rankings' of MLS teams this early in the season?

Our old friend the Castrol Index are already rating players.  Coming as a surprise to nobody, David Estrada's hat trick has him top of the table, the only player over 2000 points.  With all respect to a player that can put together a standout performance in his club's opening game of the season, what does this really tell us?  About as much as those power rankings. 

Excluding Montreal, what was the average attendance in MLS this past weekend?

Approximately 19,300, topped of course by Seattle's 38,000+ attendance. But, with San Jose reporting 21,800 for their doubleheader with the Mexican National U-23 team, only Seattle, Kansas City, and Philadelphia topped 19,000 in attendance for MLS-only games (The Galaxy reported 18,500). For all of the Commissioner's talking up of about how great Dallas is doing in season-ticket sales and selling out their home opener, they announced about 12,200 for their home game.  Just like last season, a considerable drop off from the opener. 

Now Tony, you might be asking, is it really fair to start taking away entire games?  Maybe, but there are several stories the attendance figures can tell, not just the onwards and upwards trend the League likes to stress.  And just so we're on the same page, all figures are taken from MLSsoccer.com and rounded to the nearest hundred.

What are the drawbacks of sharing a stadium and opening on the West Coast in March?

Essentially doubleheaders, with Chivas and the Galaxy both at home on the weekend. We all understand there are an odd number of teams in the League and you want to schedule games in (what is likely to be) decent weather, but scheduling both Los Angeles teams at home is asking for problems with the field and with attendance. Chivas 'drew' 7,700 for their home opener against Vancouver.  Every other week is tough enough for the struggling club at the HDC, and it's worth pointing out that LA didn't sellout the next night. 

How many (or few, depending on how you look at it) players have started all four games the Galaxy has played in 2012?

Eight, according to this article. The Galaxy's biggest issue hasn't been fatigue (despite the headline) but rather playing together as a team. Even with Donovan and Keane coming back from loan and not being entirely healthy, Juninho a late re-signing, Omar Gonzalez' injury, and all, the Galaxy are a couple of Robbie Keane finishes (or better marking of late runners into the box) from having an entirely different perspective on their season.  With no League games scheduled until the end of March for Los Angeles, and a suddenly less-busy April, the Galaxy have plenty of opportunity to reassert themselves.

What is the prognosis in Harrison?

Not very good, according to the New York Times' Jack Bell.  “The Red Bulls do not have a creative clue in midfield....” is one of Bell's (all-too-accurate) assessments.  Unfortunately for New York, there's not a lot of pundits ready to offer a contrary viewpoint.  Once again, it's New York telling the wrong story.  Weren't they supposed to be past that by now?

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