By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Dec 11, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Tuesday’s column, Tony asks if the Revolution need to sign a free-kick specialist, wonders if Vancouver needs to sign a forward, and explains the differences between last week’s Re-Entry Draft and this week’s Re-Entry draft.
In the 2012 season, which team suffered the most fouls and which had the best ‘foul differential’ between fouls created and fouls suffered?
The Whitecaps suffered the most fouls, with 510 called against their opponents. However, the Revolution suffered a whopping 123 more fouls than they committed (360 committed to 483 suffered).
On average, that is between three and four additional fouls per game the Revolution suffered. But does it mean anything? Given the discrepancy, it doesn’t seem to be about the referees calling ‘play on’ more frequently or about New England needing to ‘get tougher,’ but it’s for Jay Heaps and Mike Burns to figure out if this data is repeatable and bringing in a player with dead ball skills. Interestingly, for all the talk on the West Coast about San Jose’s style of play, Seattle and Salt Lake were both whistled for more fouls than the Quakes, although admittedly not by much (440 to 442 to 444 [Salt Lake]).
Which teams were the Rapids happiest to see on the schedule in 2012?
There are no easy games, etc, etc, but the Rapids were 4-1-1 against Portland and Chivas USA this past season with 13 goals for and 2 against. For a team that went 11-19-4 overall (37 points, -6 goal difference), that’s a third of their points from those five games. Against the rest of the Western Conference, the Rapids were 2-14-2. If that record is changed to 5-8-5, say, in 2013, then 2012 will be looked at as a transitional season coach Oscar Pareja remade the team. If the song remains the same, Rapids fans are looking at yet another season of rebuilding.
This Friday is the second stage of the Re-Entry Draft. What’s the difference between stages 1 and 2 and why would a team draft a player in the second stage?
Money. Well, MLS money. According the rules on MLS’ website, if a team drafts a player in Stage 1, as Chicago did with Maicon Santos, they will have to pay him “at least” his 2012 salary in 2013 (if he makes the team). If a club picks a player in the Stage 2 Re-Entry Draft, clubs can “negotiate a new salary with the player.” Any of the players who are not eligible but not taken in the Stage 2 Re-entry Draft are available to any MLS club without regard to standings (that is, the Draft is reverse order of finish).
After the Re-Entry Draft, the offseason, as it were, continues with the college Combine in Florida January, with games on January 11, 13, and 15, followed by the SuperDraft on January 17 in sunny Indianapolis.
Which team went the longest in 2012 without scoring a goal?
For quite some time, it looked like Portland would occupy the top two slots on this list, with streaks of 369 (July and into August) and 339 minutes (April and May), but Chivas USA’s streak of 601 minutes without a goal (September 9 through October 7) is our winner.
Where do you start with that franchise? Chivas scored nine goals at home in 15 games last season. In 2012, over the entire 30-game season, they lead at the half 3 times.
In becoming the first Canadian team in MLS to make the playoffs, Vancouver made a number of moves in the midseason. Does Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi think the moves helped or hurt the team in the long run?
Probably hurt. "We certainly take responsibility for impacting the chemistry of the team because we made changes (mid-season) and we probably made one or two too many," Whitecaps' president Bob Lenarduzzi told the Vancouver Sun. "Everyone needs to be accountable, and so does management. Did we really help the situation? Probably not.”
There’s apparently a feeling in Vancouver that what went on last season won’t be good enough in 2013, as Lenarduzzi says later in the interview that while the team has “a good core of players,” but that as a second-year team, what they don’t want to do is go “backwards.”
Not to belabor the point, Vancouver benefitted greatly from the bottom of the Western Conference falling to pieces. Going into next season, Vancouver needs a forward who can stay on the field for more than 2000 minutes and score more than 7 goals. Last season, Sebastien Le Toux played the most minutes of any Whitecap forward at more than 1600.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.