By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Oct 15, 2013) US Soccer Players - In Tuesday’s column, Tony counts how many US National Team players have consistently scored more than 10 goals in an MLS season, takes up the scheduling debate for North American soccer, and asks if the NASL might be onto something.
How many Major League Soccer players eligible for the US National Team have scored 10 or more goals in four consecutive seasons?
With his game winning goal last Wednesday, US National Team player Chris Wondolowski become the second American player to score 10 or more goals in four consecutive seasons, again joining Roy Lassiter (1996-1999) on the top of the list. Wondolowski could be the first to have 10 or more goals five consecutive seasons in 2014. Lassiter scored 73 goals in those four seasons. Wondolowski has 71, with a couple of games remaining in the 2013 season.
Eddie Johnson could make it three consecutive years of 10 or more goals this season. On the three consecutive seasons of 10 or more list are Ante Razov and Taylor Twellman, both of whom had three in a row and five seasons out of six of 10 or more goals.
Would MLS seriously consider a 'traditional' schedule?
By now you should've seen the report (scroll down) that MLS might be moving to a European-style schedule and the boatload of responses. The way I worded the question should tip you off to one of the key problems with playing soccer over a North American winter. The 'traditional' schedule isn't traditional here. Right now, the NASL plays the most traditional schedule for this part of the world. Two seasons, one in the Spring and the other in the Fall. That setup avoids the worst of the Summer and Winter, sections of the calendar that's tough on outdoor soccer.
Other than the rumors about Toronto, Montreal using Olympic Stadium when necessary, and the sort of roof at BC Place, MLS lacks the facilities to play in the Winter even with a break. That's not likely to change anytime soon in the United States.
The NFL might be doing MLS a favor by playing a cold weather Super Bowl this February. Should the weather do what it normally does that time of year in the New York area, it might serve as an unnecessary reminder that North America doesn't lend itself to regularly scheduled outdoor sports in winter.
What is one advantage of a split season?
The NASL went to a split season (Spring and Fall) this year, and determined that the winner of the Spring season (Atlanta as it turned out) would host Soccer Bowl at the end of the Fall season (Soccer Bowl is November 9). Well, that turned out even better because not only does the Silverbacks organization get some time to plan the event, they are apparently going to have the Cosmos as an opponent.
The Cosmos dominated the Carolina Railhawks last Saturday, winning 4-0. The Cosmos are now one win from clinching a berth in, yes, Soccer Bowl. Beyond the ridiculousness of calling the second division championship Soccer Bowl, just because that was how they did it back in the day, two major markets for the NASL and the Cosmos in good form is a great advertisement for the league. Of course, the Cosmos and the Silverbacks are scheduled to play on November 2nd Atlanta in the last game of the regular season.
What great achievement happens tomorrow night in MLS?
After the Galaxy - Montreal game, every team in MLS will be level on 32 games played. You might want to keep the cork in the champagne though, since it won’t last through the weekend. We’ve consistently questioned the scheduling this season, but why Montreal has to turn around and fly home for a Saturday game, while the Galaxy don’t play until Sunday evening at home is still a legitimate question.
In its 18th season, MLS has ironed out the quirks, right?
If two or more teams are tied in points at the end of the season, the first four tie-breakers are wins, goals for, goal difference, and fewest disciplinary points. But is the disciplinary points standings available on the league’s website? Not that I could find. Seriously, fewest disciplinary points? Hopefully, it never comes to Major League Soccer’s odd interpretation of the fair play table UEFA uses to grant additional Europa League places. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense over there, either.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.