I recently shared on Twitter an updated visualization that summarizes the outcome of all the expansion drafts in MLS history. Particularly now that the league has 20+ years of history, and has more than doubled in size since its inception, it seems worth preserving the history of events like the expansion draft. Continue reading Expansion Draft Outcomes
Every so often I go back and refresh this chart – one of the first I ever tried – that plots players used in World Cup cycles (both qualifying and tournament finals) by the US men’s national team from 1998 through the present. With the 2018 Hexagonal set to begin next month, this seems like a good time for the latest iteration.
With the final weekend of the season coming up – dramatically branded Decision Day by the league office – this seems an appropriate time to update the Playing Time Evolution plots that I first published about a month ago.
The US Open Cup Final will be played tonight in Philadelphia. The game, between the hosting Union and Sporting Kansas City, will hopefully be an exciting finale to the 102nd edition of the tournament. This year’s event was the biggest in recent history, with 91 teams entering – including every American team from the three professional divisions.
For devotees of the tournament, the Open Cup is one of the uniquely attractive elements of soccer. In theory, any group of players could enter and see how they match up all comers. The cinderella runs of underdogs like the San Francisco Bay Seals, Cal FC, and the Rochester Rhinos (champions in 1999) are the sorts of plots that Hollywood screenwriters long for.
Columbus Crew SC will play host to FC Dallas this weekend in a game that will be nationally televised on Fox Sports 1. While the game is still several days away, and will feature two clubs in third place in their conferences and fighting for playoff seeding, much of the conversation ahead of the game has instead focused on absences.
Several years ago, I wrote about the importance of continuity in a team’s lineup over the course of the season. The piece has since been taken down (it will soon be republished on this site), but the thrust of the argument was that the most successful teams in Major League Soccer were able to identify a core group of players who played a significant amount of a given season together. Teams that couldn’t, or didn’t, coalesce around such a core were less likely to be successful.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been re-visiting that thesis using some alternate strategies to see if they continue to hold true.