By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Aug 16, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday’s column, Tony sees a US National Team player go down with a concussion and asks again how long it will take before MLS and FIFA put player health first.
How many concussions is it going to take before MLS and FIFA change their substitution rules?
When US National Team Player Jay DeMerit knocked heads with goalkeeper Brad Knighton on Saturday, he went back into the game afterwards. DeMerit played a little while longer, then had to be substituted with concussion symptoms.
There should have been no question, even though DeMerit “passed some sideline tests,” of him going back into the game. As I’ve proposed, when there is even suspicion of a concussion, the substitution should happen automatically and not count against the three allowed substitutions.
Is it fair to the team to have to bring in a substitute who might not have warmed up? Not entirely, but a short-term result is nothing compared with a player’s lifelong mental and physical health.
With Marco Pappa heading to the Netherlands after the season, how will the Fire replace his offense?
Arguably one of the League’s top offensive midfielders, Pappa has increased his scoring totals each year with the Fire, from 0 (in six games) to 5, 7, and 8. This season he has six goals in 20 games and leads the Fire with in total shots taken, with 68 of their 310. Though Chicago might benefit from knowing now, this is an issue that isn't likely to be solved through the current roster.
At this point in the season, which player has taken the highest percentage of his team’s shots?
That would be ‘MLS36’ subject Fredy Montero, with 84 total shots out of Seattle’s 296. That’s 28% of Seattle’s shots. Even more ‘impressive’ is that Montero has only played 22 games (starting 18 of those) and he has taken almost as many shots as he did in 2010, and he’s played about 700 fewer minutes so far this season than in 2010.
Which teams in the League have scored more goals on the road than at home?
Four, Kansas City, Toronto, the Galaxy, and Chivas USA. The Galaxy have scored an impressive 25 goals on the road this season with no other team in the League having scored 20 on the road.
Of course, the Galaxy’s road goal differential is only +1, suggesting that if the Galaxy want to avoid the ‘wild card’ game in the Western Conference, they need to improve their play on the road. Los Angeles is currently tied on points with Seattle for third-place in the Western Conference, but LA has played 26 games to the Sounders' 23.
Thus far, the North American Soccer League has stayed away from MLS markets. Is that going to change in the near future?
Besides the Cosmos coming to New York next season, investors want to place a team in suburban Washington, DC.
About the possible team in Northern Virginia. It would share an artificial turf, 5,000 seat stadium with an Atlantic League (independent minor league baseball) team and perhaps play in 2014. The stadium, and retail, housing, and hotel development, were approved in 2010, but ground has not yet been broken.
Why go into this particular suburban market? I’m all for maximizing your available dates in a stadium, but DC United isn’t exactly packing them in to RFK. Presuming there’s a large enough market that won’t travel to RFK but will travel to see the Atlanta Silverbacks is leap of faith.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.