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.
While Toronto and Seattle are preparing to face off in MLS Cup, the rest of the teams in Major League Soccer are turning their attention towards next season. Most immediately, teams are making decisions about which players should return and which should be let go.
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… Continue reading Players used in World Cup qualifying, 1998 – 2016
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… Continue reading Taking it seriously: MLS and the US Open Cup
In my last post, I introduced a visualization that illustrates how playing time evolves as a season progresses. The feedback for that post was compelling enough that I decided to produce similar plots for every team in Major League Soccer.
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… Continue reading Columbus – Dallas, and the question of lineup stability
How do you evaluate soccer players? Is there a way to examine a given player, in the context of his or her team, regardless of their position on the field? This is an issue that I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with this season, and the question has led me to put together a plot style that… Continue reading Experiments in plotting player performance
Toronto FC made a bit of history earlier this month when defender Ashtone Morgan reached 100 appearances for the Canadian club. This is noteworthy for several reasons, both good and bad.
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… Continue reading Lineup Continuity and Points Per Game