By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (July 12, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday’s edition, Tony looks at styles of play in Major League Soccer from a few angles. What a coach won't accept, what stats really mean, and how long a team waits for plans to come into focus.
Which MLS head coach promises his team won’t be parking the bus to get a result?
The Rapids’ Oscar Pareja, who broadly criticized teams playing a conservative style in comments to the Denver Post. "They want to wait for the mistake and hold," he said. "If people are waiting for that from me, it's not going to happen."
Hey, credit at least one coach for putting words and his own reputation behind what we see week-after-week in this League, but there's a reason that approach is so popular. We've seen enough teams end up losing badly only to argue in the postgame comments that they were the ones playing better soccer. Ok, but there's no alternative standing for doing things right. You still have to come away with the points.
Which team in MLS has the fewest assists so far this season?
FC Dallas, with only 9 assists on their 17 goals. Forward Blas Perez has a third of those assists to lead the club. He also leads the club with 5 goals. If you're thinking what I was, that it has to be because of penalties, we're wrong. Dallas has only converted two.
While David Ferreira did play the entire game for Dallas this past weekend, they have only three wins this season, all at home, and have the second-worst goal difference in the League.
Who has the most offside calls per minutes played in MLS this season?
Ok, you got me. The way the question is asked means it's not an obvious answer. The Chicago Fire's Dominic Oduro leads the League in total offside calls with 25 in 18 games. Yet he's not the answer to our question. That would be Columbus Crew forward Olman Vargas. In only nine games and less than 650 minutes, he's drawn the attention of the linesman 17 times.
In fairness to Vargas, there's an established point of view that a forward seeing the flag is a forward doing his job. Well, at least part of it. It's the disruption aspect that throws off a defense flustered by the number of times the flag gets waved and waiting for that one time it doesn't. In Vargas's case, he has one goal in 14 attempts.
He's not the only one in the Crew lineup not putting the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis. They've only scored 17 goals, the lowest output in the Eastern Conference. But... they've also only let in 17 for a 0 goal difference. Should the flags stay down and those 50/50 chances break the Crew's way, that kind of defense combined with a potent offense could spell trouble for other teams.
With Philadelphia, Toronto, and Portland all recently changing their head coaches after less than two seasons in charge, what was Frank Yallop’s record during San Jose’s first two seasons back in MLS (2008 and 2009)?
A wonderful 15-27-18. Eight wins the first season back, seven the second. While it is fair to argue that one playoff appearance since 2008 and some dreadful soccer might not mean a coach should keep his job even in an expansion scenario, give San Jose management credit for sticking with the men they put in charge.
Interestingly, in 2009, San Jose only won one game away from home, but they did not have the worst road record in the League, as the Red Bulls went 0-13-2 on the road.
Which player has been fouled the most in MLS this season?
Surprisingly, US National Team player Davy Arnaud. Arnaud has been fouled 52 times this season, with his teammate Felipe Martins and Seattle’s Fredy Montero second with 45 fouls suffered.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.