Monday, July 4, 2011

Crew Candle Part 1: MLS Eras and Most Successful Franchise in History

The players participating in this year’s U17 World Cup were born after the formation of Major League Soccer on December 17th, 1993.

In 1996 Major League Soccer held its first game. This is the sixteenth year of competition.

There have only been a brave few that have tried to make sense of MLS history. Some say that it is the first step down towards insanity so before I jumped in I looked for others that made attempts at classifying it. The best I’ve found is Dave Clark’s piece titled The Eras of MLS (Sounder at Heart, August 13, 2009). In it he divided up MLS history into 3 parts, aptly labeling them 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. A good read.

After spending some time with the MLS history I found that it might be served better with the inclusion of two additional eras. With Respect, they happen during Mr. Clark’s 2.0 Stable State years.

You can click on each era below to see each team and its average rank in the table for those years. I've combined the conferences and for the early years I excluded “shoot out” wins and losses and turned them in to Draws so as to compare seasons as apples to apples and not cheese to chalk.

1996-1999: League Inception, (North) Americanization

2000, 2001: Dark Age, Failed Table Changes and Expansion

2002, 2003: Middle Age, Contraction and Stability

2004-2006: Donavan Dempsey, Birth of United States Soccer

2007-Present: Modern Era, Designated Player

Between Dave Clark’s post and Wikipedia you can get a good understanding of league history. If you would like my thoughts and argument on MLS Eras you can click HERE and read descriptions under each table. Just click the "next" button on the upper right to travel through history.

If you click on the Modern Era link, you'll notice that the Crew are the winningest franchise since 2007 and have the most hardware. In that time the team has not only racked up the most points but also made the playoffs 3 times (2008, 2009, 2010), won a MLS Cup (2008) and the Supporters' Shield (2008, 2009) trophy twice.

One of the things I looked at in cracking up MLS history into parts was average league attendance per game. Maybe it's a good topic for a post another day. I've only got one day off work here! One note, 2011 attendance is projected with 50% of the season in the books already.

“Crew Candle” refers to my frustration with Crew fans as of late. They’ve turned their back on the team this year to the tune of -28% less fans attending games this year over last. I’m burning a candle for this year’s team in hopes that other fans might see it and realize that they are watching a good team on a historic run.


David Burgin said...

And now a message from "The Land of the Mutual Admiration Society" You break it down better than anybody covering the black and gold. There are numbers and trends in the beautiful game, but the important ones exist between goals and assists, minutes and miles, personalities and chemistry. You seem to be searching for "real" stats when you break it down. Tip of the hat, for that is where the substance lives.


Larry W Johnson II said...

Count me in that LOTMA Society. Wonderfully put. Thank you.

smitty said...

wow, crew candle. brings a tear to my eye as much as nagbe's goal.

so surprised attendance has gone down so much, in light of the team being so high in the table. our attendance has been sloping up all year, especially after being bottom of the barrel last year, and picking up some primetime players. though, davies is not showing his worth as much as i'd like.

Larry W Johnson II said...

I'm tellin' ya. DC will be right there come playoff time. Too many good players. Too many dedicated fans. Dare I say... too much history!

Mac said...

When you say the word 'Franchise', most people immediately think of business-based franchises like those that are top listed in popular business magazines every year. But, it is important to remember that there are hundreds and thousands of franchises out there, some that are spectacularly successful, others that are total failures. Obviously, you want to avoid the latter.

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Larry W Johnson II said...

It's clear that it is a Major League Soccer franchise ... oh. you've got your link down there, i see. let's turn this into a teaching moment, then... our top division in North America for soccer is a franchisee. like former nba start, Magic Johnson and his burger kings.. mls owns the crew, galaxy and all that. mls teams are like burger kings - you see. and magic johnson. they are all the same like them as well. similar jersey sponsors and financial caps - except for the 'important' ones in LA and NY. which complicates things. creates a planned competitive imbalance, really. i mean how would a pizza franchise do if the same fanchisee set up the same pizza place right down the block but gave it more money to work with. like lots for money. a shit ton more really. how would that work out?

It wouldn't, that's how.