By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Oct 23, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Tuesday’s column, Tony studies the gap in MLS between the Supporter’s Shield and 19th-place, salutes Chad Marshall’s achievement in Columbus, and reminds us that Taylor Twellman was an exceptional soccer player.
With one game to play, the difference between the Supporter’s Shield winners and the 19th-placed team in the League is 42 points. Is this the largest goal differential in League history?
While the gap between San Jose’s 65 points and Toronto’s 23 points is considerable, it’s not first. In 2005, the last time San Jose won the Supporter’s Shield, Chivas USA finished with 18 points, while San Jose had 64, for a difference of 46 points. There’s another example of a 42-point difference. In 1999, DC United won the Shield with 57 points, while the MetroStars finished with 15. As always when talking about this sort of thing, it’s worth remembering the number of teams and length of the schedule from season-to-season.
This weekend, Houston completed its home schedule unbeaten, running their home-undefeated streak to 25. Is this the longest streak in MLS history?
While Houston becomes only the fourth team in MLS history to complete its home schedule without losing (they are the second Dominic Kinnear team to do so after San Jose in 2005), Salt Lake holds the League record for longest home-unbeaten streak with 29. Salt Lake’s run ended in 2010.
Now that Vancouver has become the first Canadian team to qualify for the MLS playoffs, everything is looking great for the Whitecaps, right?
Not according to their coach. "The team doesn't quite have the culture that it needs," Martin Rennie told the Province.
Rennie compared his team’s performance against Portland last weekend with its lackluster performance against Toronto in the Canadian Cup game where a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League was at stake.
As the article notes, Rennie left Dane Richards, possibly playing his last MLS home game, on the bench to start, and the team’s best chance against Portland came from a potential own-goal.
None of that matters. Rennie now has time to prepare his team for a trip to the Home Depot Center and to find a way to get his best eleven on the field.
Alvaro Saborio of Salt Lake has scored 17 goals this season, which would have won the Golden Boot award in many seasons. Is his total, with one game remaining, the most ever by a second-place finisher?
Former US National Team forward Taylor Twellman in 2002, and Raul Diaz Arce in 1996, both finished second in most goals scored with 23. Diaz Arce trailed Roy Lassiter’s league-record 27 in 1996 and Twellman finished one behind Carlos Ruiz in 2002.
In a classy move, Lassiter was at San Jose’s game this past weekend in case US National Team player Chris Wondolowski tied or broke Lassiter’s record. My 13-year-old son asked me if Lassiter was fast when he played. “They didn’t call him Rocket Roy for nothing,” I replied.
Which player has played the most games for the Crew?
US National Team player Chad Marshall, who has now played 223 times for Columbus, passing Mike Clark on the team’s list. Marshall, only 28, has also played the most minutes for the Crew.
Looking at the list of most games played for the team, Columbus’ list can stand with any teams’ all-time roster, as US National team players and alums Frankie Hejduk, Brian McBride, Eddie Gaven, Brian Maisonneuve, and Jeff Cunningham all feature prominently.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.