Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Droppin' Science on Re-Entry Draft

Ratings are Zero to 100. Higher the better. Some players have 0 which means he didn't play any minutes with the team last year.

Outside of the top few, Kevin Burns is one of the better players in the re-entry draft. When considering age and experience I also like Leathers, Phelan and Santos as well.

I don't think it would be all bad if Cristman fell to Columbus at 9th pick. Match his work rate up with Tommy or Emilio and you have a dangerous front two (without having to spend DP money).

Pretty sure Boswell will go before Columbus gets a chance at him.

Draft starts on Dec. 5th. Sharpen that pencil McCullers!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Burns Out, Mendoza Too

Actually, a bunch of contract options were not picked up. Cunningham and Burns were the bigger names outside of Mendoza. Backup, backup GK Alex Riggs and never seen Ben Sippola were let go as well.

Ekpo and Rogers are under contract until the end of the year but the Crew has only made "minimum offers" to them in order to retain rights. It is not a stretch to think Columbus wants something for them, but if they are not careful they will get nothing.

In the matter of a few days the club has freed up $1.5 million (Rogers and Ekpo included). $2.06 million is still on the books. In theory, Columbus could afford the weekly salary of a Micheal Ballack, but not the transfer fee (unless the league helps; Rogers and Ekpo are not enough). As crazy as it seems, the thought of Ballack to Columbus is achievable, but it just doesn't seem like there is enough front office talent/resources here in town to make it happen.

Outside of a couple scouts and positional coaches, the picture above includes most of the brain trust. Seriously.

One thing sticking out to me right now is Duka now becomes the 2nd highest paid player on the team (only behind Marshall). The other Generation Adidas player; Tchani is now 4th.

Their salaries directly replace Ekpo ($222k) and Rogers ($140k). This indicates that General Manager Mark McCullers has a sort of base philosophy in regards to wages. A good thing. Elsewise you become NY or Toronto with rosters the size of phone books. Only problem is... I don't think McCullers was expecting them (Duka and Tchani) to graduate till 2013. Since they did, their salaries count towards the cap. This is probably the one big miscalculation the franchise has made this year.

Stepping back, the Adidas thing is one of the things that hurts more then helps in our country. Duka and Tchani are now thought more of burdens than good players because of an already unnecessary/arbitrary/obsolete program. Not fair to them or the Crew.

If you take a look at the list below you can see where things get sort of pear shaped. However, I am very impressed when comparatively evaluating against other teams in MLS.

The Columbus Crew's Current Roster, salaries as of last fall:

Guaranteed Compensation : Name
320,000 : Chad Marshall
223,000 : Dilly Duka
209,633 : Eddie Gaven
194,000 : Tony Tchani
163,500 : William Hesmer
133,500 : Danny O'Rourke
121,875 : Emilio Rentería
115,000 : Sebastian Miranda
72,169 : Julius James
66,667 : Andy Gruenebaum
66,375 : Justin Meram
58,875 : Rich Balchan
42,000 : Aaron Horton
42,000 : Bernardo Anor
42,000 : Cole Grossman
42,000 : Josh Williams
42,000 : Shaun Francis
42,000 : Tom Heinemann
34,475 : Korey Veeder
32,600 : Eric Gehrig

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Luke's Report

The only losing seasons the Ohio State football team has had in the past fifty (that's 5-0) years happened in 1988 and 1966. Insanity.

Right now the team is sitting on a 6-6 record, which qualifies them for a bowl game.

This season is far from the worst season the team has had in it's 122 year history (17 have been worse percentage wise), but a 7 loss season would mark the only time it's happened since David Farragut Edwards 1897 team.

Unless you are over the age of 114 yrs, you've never felt the sting of a 7 loss Buckeye season.

It'll be interesting to see what the NCAA and OSU Administration do. Will they let Coach Luke Fickell coach one more game or will they just call it a season.

File this post under; Most successful sports institution in the history of planet Earth.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rusmir and Prim dropped, Ben Olsen on the Cover of FIFA 2001

Dejan Rusmir was the 6th highest paid player on the team ($170k). He made 13 starts in the middle and team posted a record of 5 wins, 3 draws, 5 loses in those starts. Based in the Serbian's performance with the team last season, I had him valued at 35% less then his actual salary. Rusmir has heavy feet but excellent vision and good ball placement. He was the only player on the team left from Europe or the UK.

Santiago Prim's release leaves unanswered questions($32k) because I'm not sure it hurt too much to have him aboard. He didn't see time on the senior squad but seemed to be a regular on the reserve team later in the year. I never saw him play.

Pretty sure Rusmir might pop back up in MLS, but my thoughts go out to both guys.

Complete list of players dropped.

Received a copy of FIFA 2001 in the mail yesterday. Goes with my MLS Extratime I got on Monday. Ben Olsen is on the cover with some glorious hair.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MLS House of Ill Repute

Josh Gardner was chosen by Impact Montreal during the 10 round MLS expansion draft.

It's weird for me right now. I'm fidgeting.

Quite a few words have been deleted before leaving this. The format for the Major League Soccer draft is imprudent. An archaic hold over from a league that can't shed old/bad habits. The reason the Expansion Draft feels dirty is because it IS dirty.

Too similar to the world's oldest profession, the MLS Expansion Draft is.

Columbus is the only city in our domestic soccer league to have lost a player in each of the expansion drafts since the league's founding.

What MLS doesn't seem to get is that it isn't the NFL or the NBA. You can't have your 'superstars' starting each game. Soccer as a sport, is the superstar. The very arbitrary nature of the 'protect 11 players' suggests that there may be fundamental problems in the minds of the stewards of the league.

MLS is a league of clubs fighting to build a foundation of talent. Reserves. Part-time college players, etc. To have a draft system that undermines that grassroots work boggles my mind.

And no, the argument stating that it is only 10 people, max one player from each team doesn't work. Did they monitor player comments? Tweets? Fan/Supporter feelings towards it? These are things that keep the league from gaining respect of fans and major news outlets.

The format also suggests that pulling from other teams is the only way to get expansion teams competitive, faster. What about players looking for a chance that aren't currently with a club? Loads of players that have played in MLS looking to get back in. How about NASL players or USL players? Foreign players looking for a change? Just south of here holds some of the best talent pools in the world. Hell, one of the writers for this blog could most definitively help Montreal.

I'm still fidgeting over this. Last year was frustrating, but now that I know more about the league I realize that this draft process hurts the league more then it helps Montreal. In fact it hurts soccer as a whole in North America.

I ordered the only MLS licensed video game ever to be published. MLS Extratime. It came out in 2001. Fun playing the game. Lapper is on there. McBride and Warzycha too. Crew Stadium! Fun to play, but dark days those were for Major League Soccer. This 'adoption draft' feels very much like a part of that time.

Josh Gardner had a great, great season with the Columbus Crew. I spent a spell, spinning a thread on one of his goals. It came during the Seattle thrashing. For me, reaction after the goal helped reaffirm why I am a fan of the Columbus Crew. Not only because they are my local team, or because of where it is located in the country, but because of the character of some of the players on the team and how they, and the club itself operate within the deus ex machina that is Major League Soccer.

Gardner was one of those guys you like having out there. A pro. Good luck up there in Montreal.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Protected Crew XI. Quick, Everyone! Retire!

Hesmer, Balchan, Anor, Gaven, Marshall, Rogers, Renteria, Miranda, James, Tchani, and Duka are protected from the evils of Montreal.

Aaron Horton is a "Homegrown Player" and is automatically protected.

Tchani and Dilly Duka were Generation Adidas players so they would have been automatically protected, but they declared themselves Graduated recently. Therefore are considered "Been Graduated" (in MLS faux legal talk) and not protected.

It's interesting they graduated recently. Now they count towards the cap and have to be protected. Oh, by the way; A G.A. player, themselves, determine when they graduate. Hm.

Each Major League Soccer franchise had to turn in their Protected Player list to MLS offices by 5 PM today for the planned Expansion Draft on November 23rd.

The 10 bullet points and official league language is amusingly short. I will shorten it even further here and put comments next to points relevant to Columbus.

AKA; your friendly neighborhood HELLTOWN translation.

1. Protect 11 players

2. Protected 11 aren't guaranteed contract next year
Rogers was probably retained in off chance of getting cash from "Europe"

3. Retired player sent adrift, team can reclaim
That's nice MLS. Loophole. Quick, Everyone on draft list retire!

4. Off-Roster players are part of draft
Those two Costa Rican dudes, I guess.

5. Generation Adidas players don't need protection
Not a problem in Crewtown now. Uh, thanks?

6. International in US includes Canadians and vice verse
Not an issue for Columbus. Beauty, eh?

7. Clubs can't dump all international players
but they can dump three less then total.

8. DP's must be protected, not exempt
Poor Mendoza.

9. Only one person from each team can be picked
Whew! So my heart can only be broken once. fffffyou MLS.

10. Ten Rounds.

It's time like this I wish I had brother James L. Esquire writing for Helltown. 1st question? What if more then 11 players on team had "no trade" clause?

Here are the guys not protected:

Burns, Cunningham, Ekpo, Francis, Gardner, Gehrig, Grossman, Gruenebaum, Heinemann, Mendoza, Meram, O'Rourke, Owieri, Prim, Riggs, Rusmir, Sippola, Veeder and Williams

Gotta say most of the Crew players are prime for the pickin'. Surprising Ekpo wasn't protected. The club (or MLS, I guess) could have gotten good money for the Nigerian international.

My guess is Montreal Impact Fonts will go for experienced to be competitive and mostly bargains to stay under cap. I do think they will try and snag a big name though, because, let's be honest here... nobody of quality will ever. I MEAN EVER want to willfully go to Montreal (why oh why, MLS).

Experienced Bargains: Ekpo, Burns, Gardner. Maybe paper thin Francis.

My heart will be broken if Heinemann, Meram, Gehrig, or Gruenebaum get picked. So, count on one of them getting taken on Wednesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I'm sort of at a loss for words with this game. Bethesda literally plucks out part of the imagination and makes it a remarkable gaming experience.

Maybe I'll go on about the game later, but the greatness of the game is settled. At least for me.

Let this separate those who will like it and those who will not.After a 48 hr Skyrim session; A 12 year old Dave, Russ, Jim and Larry stood in frozen silence as that song played.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Information on Crew Reserves

The Columbus Crew Reserve Team won the Eastern Table this year. Looks like they only lost one all year and had a +18 GD over those te... wait. Is that right? +18?

Not a lot of information out there on MLS Reserve League. In a league hellbent on parity, this reserve team league seems like a really good place to tuck money and effort in to. Especially since the spotlight isn't on it and some teams don't really support it well.

The reason the Reserves are being brought up here is because the they just beat the DC United team today. I'm not real familiar with Reserve League rules but I see some pretty big names in the game for both sides. Notably; Emilio Renteria for the Crew. Also, Kevin Burns was out there. Sigh. Not looking good for him returning to the team (scratching head). But, you know what? He did what he always does. Help get a win for the team.

DC had a couple bigger names out there too. Jakovic, King and Brettschneider played. Also Chris Korb, though don't know much about him (1020 mins with sr. team though. Smitty?)

The Crew worked out a couple new guys today as well. Non-roster guys. Both from Costa Rican team Orión FC Desamparados. That team isn't very good. Lost last three by a combined 11 goals to 3. The top league in Costa Rica is the PRIMERA DIVISIÓN.

The intrepid reporters around here leaving Crew fans a little empty handed so, courtesy of Google and Soccer Way:

25 yr. old, first year with Orion and looks like it's a good fit for the team. 4 goals from the MF, but on a bad team.

26 Mid from the same team. Seems to be collecting Yellows.

I reckon the bigger question is why these guys? Are they at the bottom of the table and want out? The team they play for are in the middle of their season and these guys are playing in over half the minutes. Interesting to me that they were brought up here for a workout. How did they find them. More importantly, how did they get them up here.

Sharing more information here as a bonus to the folks sticking around. Kevin Burns is valued decently (and increasingly) over at TransferMarkt. Also interesting that he his represented by the same folks that handle the greatest goal scorer in Crew (and possibly MLS) history, Stern John.

The site ain't perfect, but good enough.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Crew Player Value Analysis

Based on what all 504 players that saw minutes in Major League Soccer this year, the above is how I value each Crew player based on their performance. In light gray is how much each player makes now.

Overall, the Columbus Crew did well with player salaries. I valued all current players at $ 3.5 million and the team spent 3.2 million.

It is a weighted system that values overall team play and an individual's minutes on that team. After that are player efficiencies like goals/assists/shots/etc per 90 mins.

These player values are rooted strictly within crucible of MLS. I'm not valuing them against players in the rest of the world. I'm hoping to get to the Premier League here soon, but I'll never compare dollars to pounds, as it were. It is fruitless for me to do that right now. Let the market figure that out. As it will. Especially with more American ownership in England and the marketability of the American sports star.

The goal I set for myself at the start of the season was to understand talent in my domestic league. Not on a ridiculously statistically driven way, but in one where I could clearly state if a player was having an excellent, average or poor year. Or; if they contributed to a good season.

Why? No way I could watch (stomach) every game and evaluate each player. I spent some time with the Castrol Rank, yes. But it was time wasted because the only ranked players with the ball at their feet. What a deal breaker. I noticed it sort of faded away as they year went on anyway.

As much as I criticized Brian Bliss, I am today in a praising mood. His evaluation of certain players might be off but his overall valuation is good.

The Crew have won the Reserve League East Division Title and have a load of talent up and coming (EA's FIFA 12 and Football Manager 12 even say so). The future is bright for the Columbus Crew. But like Everton or Aston Villa, they need to be careful they just don't become a talent conduit for other teams.

Funny little time approaching for the Crew. It is one I'm watching closely because I want to see if they follow through on the team reshaping they started this time last year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss, an Outdoor Cat

Brian Bliss, Technical Director, Columbus Crew (reportedly) was talking today about 'long time' Crew mid-fielders.

“For as many years as they’ve been in the league and for the amount of money – not that they’re getting rich, they’re getting paid – there’s got to be a better division of statistics among those three guys, and that’s going back to 2010 as well.”

What? Really? This is our technical director speaking? My goodness.

What the Hell is having a "better division of statistics"? What statistics exactly are they looking at here?

I really hope it isn't goals and assists, as Mr. Craig Merz alludes to in his article today. If it is then he is driving the team off a cliff. Specifically if he is speaking of the Mid-Field. Heck, even if he is speaking on Forwards - he shouldn't.

Major League Soccer is single entity. Meaning the ultimate goal of the league is to make money through parity. It's not hard to generate that parity when talent is fairly negligible in this corner of the hemisphere.

Shake a tree and you'll get a 3 goal 2 assist mid-fielder in MLS. Actually, want to know how many in 2011 achieved that feat? 31 MFs did (that's mids only). It ain't the players the Crew have, it is how they were used. Too many changes. It was like there were trying to pick a lock in Splinter Cell and they never got it.

Bliss is already being linked to other teams around the league now. Most notably the NE Revolution.

I'm really worked up over his comments today. I know I shouldn't be but he has gotten to me. Ignorance shouldn't be tolerated in regards to personnel, though.

If Bliss is interviewing for other positions then he should remove himself from making comments on the future makeup of the Columbus Crew.

Instead (among other posturing comments earlier this month) we get this:

“[Kevin] Burns played some significant minutes, too. He’s a core guy. He’s been around for four years. Maybe you expect a little more out of that whole area of the field.”

Burns was one of the winningest players on the team (if not THE winningest).

Leave the technical decisions to someone more capable. If none more capable are available then keep your paws off the carpet and don't eat all the food in the bowl. psst!

On a note; The Crew are worth less than most of the companies readers stumbling here might work for. Heck, most fans of MLS might manage more people and larger budgets (accounts) than the entire Crew franchise. I understand this. There are good people working hard in the Crew franchise. Even better supporters holding the team up. It's just frustrating when there seems to be 'change for change sake' (with Burns) at the moment.

Monday, November 7, 2011

USA (+UK) Domestic League: Valuable Things

Major League Soccer is doing things right. Some things. The 9 PM start last night wasn't the right thing. Decent game but too late. WHY? Curious England watches MLS. Twitter says so. 9 PM start means 2 AM in jolly. Not exactly gin o'clock.

All those crazy, self hating Brits were watching the games last weekend. On too late this weekend. Move it up just a few hours and you have the largest soccer loving country watching. What is complicated about that math?

That said. MLS announced categories and nominated things of the year today.

Most are just to stir up interest and fan involvement from blogs and what not. Sheesh, so shallow (wait, umm).

Not a bad list of things. Cutting straight to the chase... MVP. De Ro, Shea, Brad Davis. Of the three I'd go with Brad Davis. I've already said Todd Dunivant was the outstanding performer of the year, but nobody listens. Look on the right for the others up there.

I have Davis at 7th. Shea at 12th. DeRo is all over. Three teams in the same year? If he stays with United next year, he will win it. He has enough passion for entire divisions, man.

Rookie of the Year warms my heart. C.J. Sapong. A NoVA born kid and Perry Kitchen (mid-west but on DC's squad) are nominated. Farfan the third guy on there. Hm. He should be under the Newcomer category.

All in all, fun to think about. Crew awards? In the most ill timed event of the season, the one that happened the weekend before the playoffs? Yeah. Please move they 'year end' event to after the playoffs next year, ya short sighted fools.

Here are my Crew awards:

Crew Rookie? Don't like the award because soccer players bounce around alot before getting into MLS, but I like Benardo Anor. If nothing else, because I got to meet him at Jimmy V's. Writers note: Heinemann isn't a rookie.

Newcomer? Tom Heinemann. 'nuff said already.

Crew MVP? Sebastian Miranda. Reckon he should win newcomer as well by default. But, whatever.

Best North Carolinian from a town named the same as half my family and my middle name on top of that? William Hesmer.

Wilson, NC. Great town. Good people. Hesmer. Long way from home cousin. You are one of the best in the league, work on that quickness and footwork and we'll see you next year.

That is all.

Last thing here; MASSIVE CITY FOOTBALL FAN CORPS has Helltown listed under their Crew List and I have to say; From one Impact font lovin' (yet, self depreciating) designer to another... honored. I know Bleeno and Smitty would say the same.

Honored. Truly.
Final Valuable Thing. Of the most valuable kind. Poppies and Remembrance Day. Will be thinking of my Nana (RAF, WWII) at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. I don't care if FIFA refs can pin a poppy on or not.

Look around you. Are your lights on? No bombs falling then?


Spare a moment on 11-11-11.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

XV. Only Interesting to Me

1. "I'm a great believer in the future of the game in this country. It has to be led by Americans." - Bruce Arena. Good piece in the LA Times yesterday where Arena talks about Major League Soccer's role in developing the sport and why he starts 9 US born players (NY started 9 foreign born against him). Got me thinking of how the Galaxy would do against our USMNT (Donovan wearing national colors even).

2. The Columbus Blue Jackets are Bad.
Very bad. Getting close to historically bad. Aaron Portzline writes: "The season from hell descended further into the depths last night..."

Jackets lost 9-2. It was 5-0 in the first period. The team is nowhere even close to crawling out of being the worst team in the 30 team league.

Columbus (the city) has really fouled this one up. Taking potential tax dollars earmarked for education to 'bail out' the team right before this season is one of the worst decisions I've ever experienced a city making.

IF THE TEAM CAN'T SELL TICKETS, IT CAN'T SELL TICKETS. Now change the word tickets to "cars".

The Jackets also convinced the local paper to get in on the deal to save the team. Thus the strong Portzline quote (he also dropped the word "massacre" in his article, which I never like in any sports article). Always love when a beat writer just loses it on his team.

2a. Crew Moving, rumors
More birds chirping about the team getting sold by the Hunt family. It's all but confirmed that they want to sell. MLS wants teams to be owned by different groups as well. I'd like to think that the Hunt family would sell to someone who wants to keep the team in Columbus but I don't see that happening.

Ohio, as a whole, isn't doing well. Population was statistically flat over the last 10 years (and it's not because it's an exclusive club keeping people out). Lots of weirdness going on (politically) because tax dollars are drying up. It'll only get weirder when the nation turns the spotlight on it next national election.

To the highest bidder, the team will go.

3. The first freeze.
Happened last week. A few days before the snow in the East (for the record). It has been nice since then though. 60s in November? Woohoo!

4. Pro-sports in Columbus
Not doing so hot. Sheesh.

5. Gears of War 3
Entertaining, but there are only so many bugs I can kill. The 2nd one was excellent in terms of gameplay and story. This one sort of goes off the rails story wise. Gameplay is still excellent though. Fluid and fast.

6. NHT
The Cobblers are struggling mightily this year. Lost a 3-2 one yesterday to the Gillingham. Gills had 2 PKs. Ugh. Not exactly champagne football being played in Northants. 20th on the table.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More Crew Talk...

Mid-November is quickly approaching and players are starting to talk about contracts. The always on it Graig Merz gave us our first gems of future Crew makeup, today.

He must have been down the street from today at the Obetz training facility talking with players. Great stuff... and I'll start with the best of it.

"I was really disappointed. I thought I had a really good season then I got a little sick before the Chicago game. I don’t know why I didn’t play in the playoffs."

"I think I had a pretty successful season. I only lost something like three games (out of his 15 starts) on the year."

My note here is the starter stat Mr. Burns threw out. It was pointed out a couple days ago on this site. I'm sure players watch it, but to use it in an interview was cool to see. He wasn't correct on his 3 game thing though. He lost 4 (won 7, drawn 4). Still the best record on the team.

ROBBIE ROGERS on playing "overseas":
"If the opportunity is right and the situation is right I would like to do it but I’m not going to just go overseas to go overseas. It doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve done that before."

Billy's Scouting Report: Mr. Rogers is a athletic kid, good build, super star looks and stays away from injury. 7 assists this year for the Crew. Not bad. But as a USMNT player looking for a contract? He should have done better. He also seems timid around goal. Frustrating thing is; he has the speed and size to be a great poacher. He has some chances coming up with the national team playing in Europe to impress. We'll see.

"I'm very optimistic. Nothing’s been signed yet but it’s moving along. Hopefully, something will happen soon."

In related news... the earth is still spinning.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Major League Soccer Needs The Charleston Battery

Throwing my hat in the ring for the 20th MLS team here. Major League Soccer needs to be careful of being too heartless. Too demographics driven. Too Florida has to work right? conclusions.

I heard a giant price tag was put on the 20th MLS team. Something like 100 mil. To the highest bidder? Massive mistake.

The rumors about Columbus leaving need to stop. You want to rip one of the beating hearts of the league out of the league? Go for it. This state has been conditioned for that type of disappointment.

The most passionate fans I've ever met are Browns fans.

I now go to "Browns Backers" games at a bar down the street on Sundays. Not so much because I'm a huge Browns fan, but because their fans are the best I've ever met. The fathers of Crew supporters (if I may).

Cleveland lost their beloved team for years for Christ sake. Yet there they are; the fans, in their work clothes, walking in from the extra weekend 12 hr shift at the foundry, to sit down, take a load off, have a beer and cheer the goddamn Browns.

The Browns make the NFL better. The Crew make MLS better.

Bring on Charleston. Bring on magical sea swept evenings. Humid nights. Bring on a team in the South. Bring on some of that mythology.

Handbags can go to NY and LA. Yield to the educated in Seattle, soccer mad in Portland / Vancouver and hand over the fools gold to the rest of the Great White North.

Let the real work happen in other cities.

More heart, please.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You Play, Team Wins

Kevin Burns, Tommy Heinemann, Joshua Gardner and Eddie Gaven.

These are the guys who played above team averages when starting. Burns was a little surprising to me as the team had a negative goal diff with him starting (-0.07). Tommy had the best goal differential (+0.33, team was -0.09).

I've put the full stat compile HERE that includes goals, % starts, pts earned while starting, and all that good stuff.

Below is the nitty gritty. Average Points earned by Crew Players whilst starting. () show total games started.

3.00 : Andy Gruenebaum (2)
2.25 : Justin Meram (4)
1.67 : Bernardo Anor (6)

1.67 : Kevin Burns (15)
1.50 : Andy Iro (2)
1.50 : Jeff Cunningham (4)

1.50 : Tom Heinemann (12)
1.50 : Joshua Gardner (22)
1.48 : Eddie Gaven (27)
1.38 : Dejan Rusmir (13)
1.38 : Emmanuel Ekpo (29)
1.38 : Julius James(32)
1.34 : Sebastián Miranda (35)
1.33 : Chad Marshall (33)
1.29 : Emilio Renteria (14)
1.24 : Will Hesmer (33)
1.24 : Robbie Rogers (25)
1.23 : Andrés Mendoza (26)

1.17 : Danny O´Rourke (6)
1.17 : Rich Balchan (18)
1.00 : Eric Gehrig (4)
0.94 : Dilly Duka (17)
0.80 : Shaun Francis (5)
0.00 : Tony Tchani (1)

Men playing more then 10 games got bold lettering. I consider this to be one of the more important KPIs for a player on a team. And with contracts coming up I want to be sure there isn't another Brian Carroll moment. Meaning; I rate Brian Carroll as the best Crew player of all time and he got away.

Call it the good luck charm. Call it the albatross number. It is just one way to look at it but, essentially, it means; Team wins when you start.

Or in the case of Dilly Duka, team loses.

Things are never clean cut. Maybe a player was subbed out and his sub went on to win the game or perhaps a start then a quick injury. It happens, but over the course of 10-35 games it washes out.

I also looked at total appearances and not just starts. Dramatic changes, for example; Heinemann was inserted in more then a handful of goal down games late in the year.

Last note; during the Crew's abysmal final third of the season Gardner and Burns were out of the starting line up.

Brian Carroll has won 4 Supporter's Shields, 2 MLS Cups and 2 Conf Championships in his 8 years playing.