5 Questions: Backs, Pay, Pressure, Channels, Goals

5 questions, tony edwards, us soccer players, soccer discussion

By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (May 3, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday's edition, Tony looks at playmakers in MLS, average annual pay per player across sports, and a measuring of success for forwards.

Are fullbacks the new playmakers in MLS?

Look at almost any chalkboard from MLSsoccer, and for the most part, fullbacks are getting the most touches in a game. So, this is a tactical evolution and we should start funneling our most creative players out to fullback?

In a word, no. As many have written, this development is both logical and overrated. Logical in that with many MLS teams playing narrow 4-4-2s, there's room on the wing, so why not play the ball to the man with space?  Overrated because a good deal of those touches aren't in the offensive half of the field. Also overrated because, too often, what we get is a fullback getting the ball, looking up, and seeing forwards making useless runs, leading to the fullback sliding the ball back to a central defender.

Where on the list of world sports franchises “average annual per player pay” does an MLS franchise first appear?

The Galaxy, at 219 out of 278 with an annual per player of $550K. The 'least-bang for your buck' award goes to Toronto FC, which is third in MLS with an average player pay of more than $320K. And, of the major worldwide franchises analyzed, which team is 278 out of 278? Your Columbus Crew at an annual per player of less than $90K.

No one expects an MLS franchise to be Barcelona (number one in the world, with an average player's annual salary of more than $8.6M), but what too many MLS franchises are slow to realize is that they are in the entertainment business. They need to sell tickets. If you live in Columbus, what are you selling to your customers?

What might be the most “high-pressure” situation for players in MLS?

Playing for Portland, according to the Oregonian's Geoffrey C. Arnold.  He has a point about the atmosphere and exposure in the Portland market, but the same could be said about the MLS team three hours up the road or any of the three Canadian teams.  Whether or not you necessarily agree, it's an interesting idea that the real tests for MLS players comes from the expansion markets rather than the expected major markets of New York and Los Angeles. 

Where can you go to watch US National Team Player Stuart Holden's show 'No Holden Back?'

On KickTV, a YouTube channel. The channel also features former US National Team Player Jimmy Conrad, former Revolution coach Steve Nichol, and others.  The New York Times' article lists the investors in KickTV as Soccer United Marketing, Google, and Bedrocket Media Ventures. The aim of the site is to offer a “lighter voice,” than Major League Soccer's official site.

Who, among players with more than 600 minutes played this season, leads the League in goals per 90 minutes?

Thierry Henry of the Red Bulls at 1.24 goals per 90 minutes.  Why the arbitrary choice of 600 minutes? Because Emiliano Bonfigli of Salt Lake is 'averaging' 4.09 goals per 90 minutes, thanks to his one goal in 22 minutes of play.

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