Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crew Gameday

Columbus Crew take on the Vancouver Whitecaps tonight. It is very important for the Crew to start scoring goals this year and this game is a good opportunity for them. They only have 5 goals in 6 games putting them at the bottom with Chivas. Defensively they are at the top only allowing 4 goals in 6.

Statistically, the Crew should get a couple goals tonight and if Heinemann gets significant minutes he will finally score one. I'm not thrilled with the way the are using him putting him in later in games. I'm hoping they get him a couple starts.

Here are my power rankings by team going into a busy Saturday of games.

1 Houston Dynamo
2 Real Salt Lake
3 New York Red Bulls
4 Philadelphia Union
5 Columbus Crew
6 LA Galaxy
7 Seattle Sounders FC
8 Colorado Rapids
9 Chivas USA
10 San Jose Earthquakes
11 FC Dallas
12 New England Revolution
13 Chicago Fire
14 Toronto FC
15 Vancouver Whitecaps
16 Portland Timbers
17 Sporting Kansas City
18 D.C. United


A hat trick for rookie Will Bruin down in Houston last night. The Dynamo is looking very good this year. Their opposition, DC United, is not looking so good.

I'll looked up how frequent a hat trick is in the MLS. It is rare, happening at something like 3% of the time (Climbing the Ladder).

So how good is young Mr. Bruin in his first season? Very. It doesn't hurt that he has a bunch of good mid-fielders like Brad Davis on your team. In watching the Dynamo last night I felt like they could take on the USMNT.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's Not Madden, It's Americana

Madden 12. Ugh.

I've been keeping an eye on the labor situation between the NFL owners and players. In a word? Dumb. On both sides. Players union decertifying. Owners wanting more out of the richest league in the world. Then... on top of that? Electronic Arts football game. The game has stunk for a while. I recently saw a video of the half time presentation of 2k's game from half a decade ago and was reminded that Madden is still a ways off from even that.

What has gotten my attention is a little trailer that EA put out for Madden 12. Yeah, the game will still stink. But what it captures is a little bit of why football is so popular an what developers always miss. It's inclusion in the game is important. Will it make the gameplay better? No. Will it make the game experience better? Yes.

American Football is not the beautiful game. But it involves the best athletes in the world that sometimes get maimed and even killed. While I dislike anyone using war term references in sports... football is the sport that almost warrants them. In a way it frightens the rest of the world. In a progressive world it is out of place. A relic. In a way, it is in danger of slipping away.

I'm not defending it or promoting it. It is what it is. I'll leave this with a quote from my grandmother: "I'll never understand why they wear all that armor."

There's a connection to make in there somewhere.

It's taken a few folks from the EA FIFA franchise to realize what makes the NFL unique and their take is evident in the promo. I donno. It just stuck a chord.

**Note: when the Seahawks take the field; the "Earn Everything" sign behind them.

**Note: the lady riding the bronco out on the field. Snowy entrance Pittsburgh. The lack of the souless Redskins. Doubly note: a poor boy from Arkansas cut once and plays on a perennial looser in Cleveland getting voted on to the cover of the finished game product.

With all the glamor and so called glitz that we see on the TV networks... how does that happen?

It's not the game I'm interested in. It's something else I just can't put my finger on.

And, man... don't even get me started on if US Soccer could pull some of these future NFL stars and get them on the pitch. We would rule the world.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 MLS MVP Rankings

I ran across today and their MVP race in the MLS. Shane Evans put it together. While, as of this moment, I haven't found any other MVP rankings for the MLS I decided to match it up against my own Player rankings.

His list is as follows. My Overall Player Ranking in parentheses.

1. Javier Morales (2)
2. Faryd Mondragon (A GK, I don't rank... yet)
3. Landon Donovan (120)
4. Thierry Henry (1)
5. Davide Chiumiento (169)

I hit on two of them (or should I say; HE hit on two of them). Donovan is an interesting choice. He been solid but really only had one stand out week offensively. I do expect him to move up though. Chiumiento is low partly because of the team he is on because I take into account that each player is responsible for keeping the little spherical thing out of the net thing. Especially in the rough and tumble MLS. The other part is... well, I don't know. He is the league leader in assists with 5 in 5 games but Collen Warner for RSL has 2 in 2 games played, with less minutes played p/GM. Too early to tell (statistically) on 2 or even 5 games. A lot of season left. Well see if Chiumiento can keep it up.

Nicholas Rosano, also over at keeps up with the best XI each week (even if he did spell Heath Pearce's name wrong, it is a good list). I was happy to see some of my highest rated players there too.

Gives me hope with the crazy I have going on for figuring player ratings in the MLS.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Look Forward, OSU

The letters went out and the date has been set for Ohio State University to go before the NCAA Violations Committee. August 12.

Copies of the letters can be found HERE over at the Columbus Dispatch.

Speaking of the Dispatch... they are all over this. I know this has to divide the office up there. In the sports pages they consistently play this whole thing off, which is frustrating. Those writers are the only ones left with their head in the sand.

Even ESPN Analyst Kick Herbstreit left town already. He said it was because he was getting hassled by Buckeye fans (which, yes, I'm sure he was) but what I feel was more of a move to get away from one of the largest of all football institution falls. He has to distance him self from that. And all the buck-nutholes.

Most think there are no more allegations left to come out, including Sports Illustrated. But I think there are. It wasn't just tattoo's the players were getting in exchange for awards, rings and whatnot. Regardless, Jim Tressel is the one on the hot seat right now. That is made clear in the NCAA's letters to the school.

What is also clear in the letters is the type of penalty that is coming OSU's way. Which is basically this: the 2010 season does not exist and scholarships are going to be taken away.

So what now? What sayeth the future on this matter?

The school and it's traditions are bigger then a coach. To try and protect them Jim will probably go before August 12.

On a recent visit home I asked my father, who once headed a world wide organization, what he thought of all this. His comment? "The coach sounds immature."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Brian Mullan and Steve Zakuani

Nasty tackle yesterday. Mullan snapped Steve Zakuani's leg in half in one of the worst I've seen. Definitely the worst this year.

So who is Brian Mullan? My MLS player score for him is 1.08 which puts him at 143rd out of 344 players to see minutes this season.

Steve Zakuani? 55th with a player score of 2.39. He had 2 goals and 2 assist already this year. Ranked only behind O'Brian White and Osvaldo Alonso on his team. Big loss for the Sounders.

This sets up a pretty big administrative moment for the MLS. I've seen the salaries of their players. A big fine is out of the question.

We'll see what they do.

Here are my Overall Player Scores for the Seattle Sounders:

2.80 O'Brian White
2.41 Osvaldo Alonso
2.39 Steve Zakuani
1.80 Jeff Parke
1.80 James Riley
1.70 Leo Gonzalez
1.68 Erik Friberg
1.55 Brad Evans
1.41 Fredy Montero
1.23 Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
1.09 Mauro Rosales
0.60 Alvaro Fernandez
0.22 Patrick Ianni
-0.58 Nate Jaqua
-0.63 Zach Scott
-0.63 Tyson Wahl
-0.64 Servando Carrasco
-0.83 Roger Levesque
-0.91 Lamar Neagle
-0.97 David Estrada
-0.98 Miguel Montano

MLS Productivity Update pt. 2

I'm still messing about the Offensive Productivity. Now that the season is a few weeks in it was easy for me to see the effect of playing time and injuries. I'm going to call this the Omar Bravo change. He ripped it up before he got injured and if he were to not play another game this season he would probably stay on top of my list on the right.

So to reward players that continue to play and play more minutes I added that into the equation. It takes the total number of games a particular player plays (in minutes) against how many games that player's team has played in total. Doing this lowered everybody's overall score, especially Forwards, but it rewards Mid-Fielders.

It's an injury rule.

I'm still working on a why to add a factor to reward Defenders. Real Salt Lake, Philadelphia and New York Redbulls are very stingy this year in regards to allowing goals.

The best players in the league list looks like this when taking into account a player's team Goal Difference, Minutes Played and Individual Offensive Productivity.

4.14 Thierry Henry
4.12 Javier Morales
3.85 Carlos Ruiz
3.75 Bobby Boswell
3.61 Danny Califf
3.58 Chris Wondolowski
3.58 Jan Gunnar Solli
3.53 Joel Lindpere
3.34 Paulo Junior
3.30 David Ferreira

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Richard Eckersley vs. The Crew

Not sure what else to title this post in regards to the Toronto FC vs. Crew game today. So, there you go. It makes about as much sense as the game played today.

This was the 2nd worst refereed soccer game I've ever seen. The worst? Last week, when the Crew played SPORTING KC (referee: Juan Guzman).

A circus this game was. We had a fight (scrum) and a yellow for excessive celebration. All totaled: Six Yellow Cards, One Red on 29 fouls and it could have been more. In the end the game ended in a draw. 1-1.

The Crew moved Gaven back to mid-field and had Heinemann and Renteria up front in the second half. I think this is for the best. I'm hoping to see it again next week.

Dilly Duka was all over the field today but his touches were often out of control. I liked is effort though.

Seb Miranda was my player of the match. He was the most consistent throughout and served up an assist to Renteria.

My scrub of the game was Julius James. I feel he cost the Crew complaining to the ref early in the match setting the stage for multiple yellows.

Oh, Richard Eckersely played. Who is that? Played a short stint with Manchester United. He is currently "owned" by Burnley and on loan to Toronto. I guess I'm just looking for some sense in what I saw today.

The draw today extends the not loosing to Toronto streak to, well, since the rivalry started. There is a Cup associated with is rivalry called the Trillium. Toronto has never won it.

One word to sum up the whole experience today with the Crew and Toronto?


Friday, April 22, 2011

Dominic Oduro

Ahhh, Dominic. You're poking holes in my stats. You and four others in the MLS have already changed teams this year during the season and have me questioning my Productivity rating over there. Plus the fact that you have only played 39 minutes with Chicago and 29 with Houston. HOWEVER! You are packing a punch in that short time. I think this will sort itself out.

Who is Dominic Oduro? He is from Ghana. Played at VCU! If somebody is willing... please update his Wiki page. ??? ??? Poor fella.

While I'm at it... - Please fix your Monterrey v. Real Salt Lake score. 4 - nothing is a tad bit different then 2-2.


Thursday, April 21, 2011


A few weeks ago I somehow found myself looking up the history of Boudicca. That path somehow led me to the movie Centurion which is about a lost Roman regimen in Scotland around 117 A.D.

You wouldn't know this is a movie on a budget by watching it. I was absolutely star struck with Imogen Poots and Olga Kurylenko in this movie. The way they were written, photographed (Sam McCurdy. Get away from horror, you can do more) and acted was excellent. That said, the real star of this movie was the setting in the Scottish Highlands. Stunning.

The movie is brisk and entertaining. Wish there were more like it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MLS Mid-Week Update

Trying to stay committed here. Should be updated on the right as well. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Offensive Productivity

An explanation of my Offensive Productivity rating on the right. provides me with total minutes played so I can track players productivity per 90 minutes. So if a player has played 180 minutes this year and has 1 goal, that is 0.5 goals per game. Same for assists. I reward goals with 3 pts. Assists are worth 1 pt.

Another way to separate a players offense is Goals per Shot. If a player has taken 10 shots and has 2 goals that = 0.2

To use Charlie Davies as an example:

210 minutes played = 2.3 games
5 Goals = 2.14 Goals p/Game
0 Assists = 0 Assists p/Game
5 Goals / 8 Shots = 0.63 Goals p/Shot

Goal Total: 2.1*3 = 6.42
Assist Total: 0.0*1 = 0.0
G p/SH Bonus: 0.63

Add them together and you get 7.05 for Charlie Davies.

There is debate about the Goals per Shot bonus. I was looking for a way to further separate productivity for scoring players. I'll stick with it for now because it is about productivity during time on the pitch, not quantity. Quality not Quantity.

I'm also working on a total player score which uses Goals against and total minutes played to get an overall player score because offensive production is a poor indicator of team success. I'll get to that later.

(something) Columbus Crew (something)

Crew won last night.

Trying to figure out a good way to title my Crew posts. We have a station here in Columbus called ONN HD of which allows me to see games at home. I should have gone to the game last night. It was cold, windy and rainy. AKA; storming. I like those kind of games in Columbus. Wanna come play against the Crew before June? Bring your freakin' long johns, raincoat and stern constitution.

So last night. The Crew played against the wind, cold, rain and Sporting KC. The wind was clearly blowing one direction and was seriously impeding the team facing it. I checked the match stats this morning and that played out.

Shots against the wind - Crew: 4 KC: 3

Shots with the wind - Crew: 10 KC: 6

Robbie Rodgers ended up having a goal in the second half with the wind.

Tom Heinemann came on early in the second half (after the goal) and played like a man possessed. I also like the way Ekpo played the game. Gaven had a couple great chances in the second half that didn't pan out, but even with his sort of 'stoop to the shoulders' attitude I think he played well. I contend that he is probably the best player on the pitch most nights and he knows it.


I have a lot of bones to pick with the MLS and the way the show league tables. My biggest bone is the break between Eastern and Western Conferences. They all play each other twice (double round robin system) so that's 34 league games. I understand have two conferences keeps most of the country geographically involved for the playoffs. I get that. But if you want to do that change it to 3 games against own conf and 1 out.

What I have at the top of this post is what the crazy people in the rest of the world call a "true table". It is based on Points earned per game since at anytime teams could have played a different number of games.

Next bone to pick is that it is a Draw not a Tie. And when referring to team records it is not W-L-T. It is W-D-L. This ain't hockey MLS.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

TSA Affinity Diagram

I just read the news about the 6 year old girl that received a pat down in an airport. No need to search the video if you haven't seen it. It is what I've described.

Did you know the TSA has a blog? Well, they do... and they responded to all the attention the video has gotten. For my Affinity Diagram exercise I'm not concerned with what the TSA blogger had to say. More; I was interested in what the public had to say in response to this event. Which is: Video Posted, TSA responds.

What is an Affinity Diagram?

It is a way to organize thoughts simply. Take the comments that people make and put them into categories. What you find is that most people are saying the same thing and by grouping them you take your own feelings out of the equation and really drill down to what the problem may be or find what is really bothering people or what is working.

An Affinity Diagram can help in many ways. For example: if you work in HR and have a tight budget and are not sure what to put in the break room to improve things then an Affinity Diagram may help prioritize. You (the HR person) may think a larger coffee maker is important and think that that will satisfy most. But if you were to listen to employees use it daily you may find that an air conditioned area might be better. Or maybe a window so folks could see outside.

In any case, Affinity Diagrams should be done quickly and without to much analysis or arguing.

SO. How did American's respond to the video of the 6 year old and the follow up blog post?

28%: Reasonably Against.
When I say reasonably, it doesn't necessarily mean "smart". Just means the poster was against the action taken on the 6 year old.

"It's unfathomable that TSA can continue to miss the point over and over and over again. Nobody is questioning if the TSA agent in question disregarded the rules and went rouge in her assault on that child. People are furious that TSA rules allow and even mandate this sort of action in the first place."

17%: Sarcastically Against.
Commenter just dropped by to say "FAIL". Or "I flew on a flight, you guys suck".

16%: Vile / Obscene / Disgusting.

10%: Against Societal Norms.
"Putting your hand down the pants of a 6 year old violates societal norms."

09%: General Comment on Posting or other issue.

06%: FREEDOM!!!
The patriotic response or ones with quotes by founding fathers.
"Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

<5%: Terrorist's Have Won.

<5%: Abolish the TSA.
Yes, a few used the term "Abolish" so I gave it a category.

<5%: Support for TSA.

Finally; Sympathy for the TSA Employee. 1%


To get the percentages I ran through 135 comments.


If I were in Congress or a PR employee in the TSA (do they have them?) I would look long and hard at working to change things. The public clearly does not approve what happened here. After throwing out the sarcastic comments you can still see that over half the people here (55%) disapprove of what happened and only a small percentage approve. The argument that the TSA makes is that it helps protect our skies. But what I've noticed is that Americans don't think it's being gone about the right way.

It's muddy water to try and determine if current security measures are preventing acts, so to argue for or against "pat downs" is futile. Look to the concerns of the people and try and resolve them while maintaining security. Taking a blind stance against the concerns of the public (as in the TSA blog post) and supporting an action that is overwhelmingly disliked is misguided and unfortunate.

Better can be done. This is America after all, and last I checked "we, the people" were in charge. Not the TSA.

(Chalk that one up under: FREEDOM!!!!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Danger Man

Or Front Man, Striker, Forward. Whatever you like. For them things can be measured a bit easier. Soccer is more then just scoring goals but for the danger man it is mainly just that. "Get it in the back of the net."

Fernando Torres is not doing so. Well, at least that's what we are being told. So for about an hour this evening I pulled the numbers from this year to see if that is indeed the case.

In doing so I looked at EPL games of which he started only. Here's what I got.

His Accuracy (Shots on Goal / All shots): 32%
Goals per Shot: 9%
Goals + Assists p/Game: .41

In the 27 games this year he has started 55% have left him with no goals or assists. Which almost matches his G+A p/GM at .41

But what does this mean? Is he good? Is he bad? Well, for that lets look at one of my favorite Stoke players... Jon Walters!

Accuracy: 44%
Goals p/SH: 12%
G+A p/GM: .24

Jon has him on two of the three. However, Jon misses out on any goals or assists 80% of the time. The Stoke gameplan has a lot to do with that. We are talking the same competition here though. All Prem teams.

Let's look at a couple other players... Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney.


Accuracy: 36%
Goals p/SH: 15%
G+A p/GM: .76

Likelihood of not scoring any goals or assisting in such? 40%


Accuracy: 41%
Goals p/SH: 14%
G+A p/GM: 1.05

Likelihood of not producing anything? 40%. Same as Carrol.

Just thoughts, I guess. It's interesting that Rooney is averaging a goal or an assist in every game.

The conclusion here is that Torres is not have a 50 million type of year. If he is worth that... then what is Rooney worth?

Oh, and Fabio? Start Rooney and Carroll up front in your 4-4-2.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crew Notes: Early Season

The Crew has started the season on a bumpy road at 1-2-1. Shawn Mitchell is the Columbus Dispatch beat writer for the Crew. You can check in on him HERE. One of the frustrating things about MLS soccer is its coverage in the news (paper and online) but Mr. Mitchell does a good job and so does the Dispatch in general.

The local sports radio stations and TV news outlets spend more time on the awful local NHL team Blue Jackets. It sticks in craw that the Jackets get so much coverage. I think Nationwide Insurance (HQ here in Columbus and owns the arena) has a lot to do with it. 10 years on one playoff series in a league where half the teams make it each year. While it's great to have a pro hockey team in town nobody see's it as much more then just something to do in town.

Anyway. For official Crew stuff; check out Mitchell's blog I linked to.

For cool unofficial Crew stuff keep the dial locked here! Lock it! Okay, well I don't know too much BUT I got a couple things:

1. A little birdie told me that the Crew organization (Hunt family) is looking to move away from the Fair Grounds and into the Arena District. Same place where the Blue Jackets and the Minor League baseball team Clippers are. I think it would be a great move. Nice area down there and only a few blocks from me. It'd be cool if it happened soon, but my birdie says it's not imminent.

2. Crew must be (still?) training out in Obetz, right near where I work. I saw a trainer in the Subway across the street from the facility ordering a bunch of food. He was a jerk, sad to say. Guess they weren't making his subs fast enough. But it's fitting because I get the feeling that is representative of the team's staff right now.

Robert Warzycha called out disgruntled Robbie Rodgers last week for some of his comments about not starting. Robert... Robbie is one of your best players. Take off your jock strap and cool it. You're not wearing a captain's arm band, your are the Manager of the team.

3. It's clear the Crew is in a transition year.

4. Crew is hosting Newcastle in July. Crewcastle? Anybody?

5. MLS needs to provide better stat tracking. The Dispatch tracks YCPG. Seriously. Yellow Cards p/gm. Oh, and Goals. Goals per game... good. No assists? And yes, RCPG.

I'm thinking about tracking stats for the crew myself. To do so I'd have to combine a few sites info together. does a pretty good job though. GWG (game winning goals) is a nice touch. Hey maybe the Dispatch and calculate GWG per game?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Liverpool LeBron

Or LeBron "Red" Liverpool is now a minority owner of the team. I don't like LeBron. Booooo. But... this is a good thing. I'll get to that in a minute.

The Reds have won 18 division championships in the club's 119-year history. And on that: To quoteth "The King" LeBron on his new minority ownership of a silly English football team:

"Eighteen championships, I see myself trying to do the same things they have."

What an egotistical jackasshole.

What am I even suppose to think of that statement. I mean... to assume that LeBron has any comprehension of how long 119 years is would be a stretch and... oh, why bother.

LeBron's high school buddy (LRMR Chief Exec, Maverick Carter) help close this deal.

Now. Why this is a good thing? LeBron brings attention and loves attention. Just the mere fact that soccer is on this dudes radar means that the sport has made massive inroads around the USA.

While Liverpool just gained a million jerks as fans, the sport as a hole just moved the popularity needle. Sorry Liverpool, but it may be for the greater good. Even if it means that I might get FSC in HD out here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cleveland Rocks, Hello?

Major League Baseball's season started the other day to fanfare across the country! Most ballparks sold out their opening games, including the Cleveland Indians! What happened next only happens in Cleveland.

The next game? Record low attendance (something in the neighborhood of 9500) for Progressive Field. For all of those saying it was the weather... it's not. This is Cleveland we are talking about. A brisk 40 degree day is like a warm 60 degree day in NC.

The game that followed that record low? Yet another record low of eight thousand something. For. the. 3rd. game. of. the. season. And it was a weekend series. One of the things that makes this crazy is that the Indians set a record not that long ago for a streak of most sold out games. It went on for a few years man. Years!

I love Cleveland fans. You put a crappy product out on the field and the fans know and they won't go. This ain't Chicago where the Cubs can draw a crowd for anything.

Now, if only Redskin fans would take note.

There was even a show that featured the Indians around the time the sell out record was happening. GM's take note: don't underestimate the power of such things. OHIO!

If I were to ever make an opening to a show it would be done just like that.

But wait...

Good news fans!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

EPL Notes; Stoke Early Goal!

I'm writing as the game goes on which has become customary for me because FSC is not in HD where I am. If I watch from an angle sitting at my computer I can pretend it is. Watching it straight on is migraine inducing. I actually talked with a Time Warner rep about it on the phone (lack of HD for FSC not the migraine). She said she has no clue and she didn't even know about the TW iPhone app till the day it came out. So, if you are one of those trying to get info on when you are getting a specific channel? Don't waste your time.

Chelsea puring on the pressure against Stoke now.

In other news I found the Holy Grail Excel file for EA's FIFA 11. It has all 14,463 players and all info on each player (stats from start of the season). That's correct; fourteen thousand players and all traits, nationalities and ratings. Turns out that each player has 53 unique traits. I'm using it to create more depth to the career mode I'm deep into. Talk about a huge file and, needless to say, has a ton of fascinating info for me to dig into.

Ever wonder what percentage of players in the EPL are English born? 38% Lower then I expected. Add in the players from the British Isles and you get 52%. I checked out the Bundesliga for comparison; surprisingly almost exactly the same percentage of native born; 51.7%.

The EPL has players from 66 different countries across the globe. Bundesliga? 62. Remarkably similar.

And Chelsea levels. Booooo.

EPL has 10 US players, Bundesliga; 6.

The way I look at the similar nature between the two leagues comes in two forms:

1. Happened naturally.
2. Planned occurrence.

I can't think of what else it could be. Another surprising data point is that there are no, none, nil, zilch, English born players in the Bundesliga and Germans only have four in the EPL.

My own team in the fake world of FIFA 11 is mostly made up of foreign born players. I have added 3 from the US. Hesmer, Agudelo and a guy named Seb Harris who was part of the Cobblers when I started.