Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Meet the Menace / Beat the Menace

A few quick words prior to tonight's game (I almost never do this).

One : The Menace are in the middle of a crazy scheduele Here's what their road trip looks like.

Six games on the road in 15 days. Ouch.

Two : Surely their team name is a play on Dennis the Menace, right?

Three : Weather looks to be... interesting. I was going to bring my daughter tonight as this may be the last time her and I get to do anything together before the wife pops out the new daughter, but long walks to and from the car in rain and hail with a two year old don't sound fun at all... for her, at least. Personally I like it. But to make matters worse, tornado watch until 10 PM...

Four : If you can't make it out, or don't want to, SKC apparently has a YouTube stream prepared.

US Open Cup: Sporting KC v Des Moines Menace

Five : Given the unavailability of some of the guys you would think would normally play in this match, namely forwards Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad, and Teal Bunbury, I think SKC will almost be forced to use some "top-tier" forwards in this match. I'm thinking we see Jacob Peterson, CJ Sapong and Kei Kamara. Here's a wild guess at the starting XI.

Six : Gonna have to run home to grab my parking pass and scarf :( Ah well, should be a fun game, assuming it actually happens. Would be a real shame to need to postpone it.

M^3 (May Man of the Month)

I debated whether or not I wanted to do this now or after the USOC match tonight, but I think I'll drop it now and not consider the USOC match since there's generally no stats to cull from it and at this stage it might get a little lopsided. Plus lots of guys are out on international duty and such and it may not be fair.

Here's the inter-team player ratings for May. Note that this isn't baselined against other players or other teams, just how much each poayer played in May and what their contributions were (statistically speaking). So a guy rated below five wasn't neccessarily bad, just had below average contribution to team success this month.

With that said, here we go.

Ike Opara nearly steals it from Zusi, but Graham comes out on top, playing in 427 minutes and notching a goal and two assists and generally playing exceptionally well, earning an unsuurprising callup for the USMNT. Congrats, Graham. I really need to get a better photo...

We Meet Again, at Last

I think that game went pretty much as anticipated for everyone. Some heated moments, a few moments of individual brilliance, from Houston, especially, on the Davis goal (killer angle to score from, though Jimmy has to do better on his near post) and Tally Hall's saves more than made up for his god awful distribution.

Lots of talk about the refereeing, but I thought he had an okay enough match. Called fouls in the middle of the field lighter than I like to see, but generally let players play while in the attacking third, and got the PK non-call correct after consulting with the AR. I don't think he was too terribly inconsisent... well, maybe I take that back. Like I said, I think he was calling stuff in the midfield he wasn't calling in the attacking third/penalty area, but I don't think that was too bad, and no single call stood out to me as a game changer.

Also mad props to the Cauldron for their rainbow tifo on this one. Couldn't be prouder.

Photo from Sodagraphics, be sure to give him some love and check out the full match gallery.

Now, player ratings. Yes. Here we go.

Houston goal scorer Brad Davis gets man-of-the-match for his performance. Graham Zusi and Kei Kamara share the honors for SKC. All in all ap retty good and even match. Budding rivalry? Perhaps...

Lucky Week 13?

So not a lot of movement in this weeks rankings, which may be a good thing. I like it when teams settle down and trends get less violent. Of course that doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of action happening. Portland making some noise, a reality check for Seattle, Chivas has, perhaps, bottomed out, and Kansas City very luckily manages to creep up a notch to #6.

Here's the full table.

And now the handy graphy-graph. Dallas on top once more, but Portland has very nearly caught them... Click to embiggen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

DC Who?

Instead of talking about that game, I'm just gonna post this image.

There. Now that that's out of the way, here's the player rankings. I actually don't really like them, as SKC dominated the stat line, but still, it could be argued that DC did enough bunkering to disrupt SKC, and got the only run of play goal (well, you know what I mean) as opposed to the unfortunate own goal. So here we are.

Kyle Porter with man of the match. Zusi as SKCs best player. Feel bad for Opara, but what can you do, I guess. Onward towards a big game with Houston.

Monday, May 20, 2013

6 hours of no power!? Eat the children first.

Actually, no, I didn't lose power in the storm last night, though it sounds like a lot of people in the area did. We'll see how we fare tonight though...

Speaking of faring well, how about those Sounders, eh? Not too shabby.

The two midweek games threw this off a bit. Kansas City actually drops a little bit, despite picking up two road results (well, you can argue the DC one I guess). Mostly RSL's domination helped them up. LA moves up despite losing, again, helped by crushing Philadelphia midweek. Dallas still holding on to the top spot, Chivas droppping like a rock. With three Ps. How's that for not caring about spelling or typos?

Overall rankings look pretty good to me. SKC perhaps a bit low.

Here's the table.

And here's the graph. starting to see some real movement and trends here. Next week should be interesting for some teams.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Houston, we have 3 points

Well, it definitely feels nice to come away with 3 points from that 2 game stretch... we may have gotten it backwards, of course, but a road win in Houston was huge. Collin making up for his late game lapse against Seattle in a big way. I'd love to make the trek down there some year, and much love to all the SKC fans who did, looked and sounded great.

Let's check the player ratings, shall we?

As I said, no surprise there, big game for Collin with the game winning goal and the clean sheet. Seth gets credit for the clean sheet and assist as well. Plus Collin is a fantasy stud. Mancrush. Etc.

Boom. Headshot.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I did what I swore I wouldn't...

So I told myself this season I was going to stick with the same methodology that I started with. And I thought I really meant it. But then I came up with something better. So I'm changing. I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me. Or something.

While the system had been working pretty well so far, it still didn't seem to capture 'momentum' shifts all that well. However, Itried to compensate that with adding a Flavor of the Week ranking syste. I've ultimatly decided that the 'mashup' system, using both systems and then combining the rankings, was probably the best, and when comparing it to how other sites rank teams, it looks like it's doing a better job.

Remember, these are still purely numerical, data driven rankings, that don't hvae any input from me other than results. I think it's become a very good way to creating "power rankings" that mirror what "experts" are saying and is backed up by results and not just hand waving mumbo jumbo.

Anyway, enough exposition. Let's check the numbers.

I'd note that I also did back calculate "mashup" rankings for each team over the course of the season. This will do away with the need for some of the extraneous info I had been providing earlier. From now on it'll just be teams rankings and movemnet form the last week and a chart showing ranking position over the course of the season.

Numbers. Yes. Here.

Dallas still at the top, New York with a big jump, and both LA teams with big falls (poor Chivas ;/ ).

Here's the graph for the full season. Check out Vancouver. What a crazy poor season they've had... Click to embiggen, I'm trying to go with a .png to see if that makes it prettier.

 Annnnd... that's all I have to say about that. More fun next week. Until then... courage.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The less said the better

I'm a bit late to the party, but I think anything I could/would say has probably already been said anyway, and I don't really want to talk about it. Seattle is just really good at killing us at the end of the game, and it was really frustrating to watch that play unfold. You could almost see it coming.

Anyway, here's some player ratings for the Seattle game. Collin had an awful match. Josh Gardner actually with the big points for SKC, and it's because he gets credit for a clean sheet as he played 75 minutes and kept Seattle score-less. I don't entirely disagree, but a good talking point may be whether bringing on Sinovic for Gardner was the right move?

Anyway, Djimi Traore man of the match, for the goal and the clean sheet. Oi.

 And now, some photos. Nothing spectacular this week. Or any week, really...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


So all aboard the "omg omg salary numbers!" train now, huh?

Well, because I love spreadsheets, let's take a look at one. Here's an estimate of player value, based on current "fantasy points" (i.e. collected Opta stats, each assigned values, like 5 points for a goal, 3 points for an assist, 4 points for a defender keeping a clean sheet, 0.33 points for a key pass, etc.), adjusted for games played, and then compared to the log of a player salary (under the assumption that it takes a ten fold increase in pay for a two fold increase in play, i.e. a guy making $1,000,000 is twice as good as a guy making $100,000).

Perhaps not surprisingly, Graham Zusi is one of the best values in MLS right now, though not THE best. That honor goes to Matt Hedges, making $64,000 while anchoring the FC Dallas defense. Aurelien Collin also comes in as the 3rd best value in the league, which I found a little surprising, but maybe it's not that much of a stretch.

Here's the table of the first bunch of players. Click to embiggen.

It's harder to say who the worst value in MLS is, as things like injuries/loans/etc. knock some guys to the bottom who may not have had a chance yet.

All said, it's early in the season, but I think it's interesting to see how some guys seem to be performing above their pay grade so far.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Magic Bonus Update!

Magic bonus update!

For awhile I've thought about making a tweak to the formula to make it a little more sensitive to short term performance. I've sort of tried to account for that with the Flavor of the Week rankings, but today I thought I'd try to go ahead and combine the two and see how the average looks. i.e. the "mashup" system would be equally weighted between season long performance as well as last five game performance. I don't know if I like it more or less but I'll track it for a few weeks and see how it looks.

Edit - 
Huh. You know, after comparing the mashup numbers, I think I might like them more. They compare really well with what ESPN and MLS have while still maintaining some numerical defensibility and still identifying teams where the other rankings seem to be too knee jerk.

I think I'm gonna keep the mashup numbers and start including that weekly.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Croque-monsieur, anyone?

I'm not crazy about most french food, but man do they make good sandwhichs. Good defenders too, apparantly. Does anyone want to argue that Collin wasn't the best player for the month of April? Probably. There's always gonna be an argument for Zusi, but Collin's game winning goal and clean sheet in New York, and another clean sheet against DC more or less sealed it.

Here's how player ratings for April looked. Lots of defenders in there. Two clean sheets and a 1.25 GGA is none too shabby. Zusi sneaking in there as well, and was great to see Chance finally score (twice!), even if the goals were ultimatly for naught...

So raise a glass of wine for the Frenchman. I've gotta think he'll be another MLS All-Star this season, and with the game in Kansas City, that's sure to be awesome.

Snow? In May? I hate everything.

Plus I left my Kindle in Philadelphia and they're charging me $32 to ship it. $32!!! I'm even a Marriott Gold member! Insane. Crazy. Whatever.

Okay, so nothing too drastic this week except things starting to shake out like they should. Chivas in free fall, almost crashed out of the top 10, and LA comes back down to a reasonable rating. Below 200,000 is what I expect from just about everyone unless they're really flying, so we'll see what next week brings. San Jose the surprise poor performers of the year, and Kansas City keeps putting together the right result at the right time to stay in the top tier. Here's how the numbers looked this week.

Three folks tied on 9. I like how they're sorted right now, but if you think it should be different, just use the power of mental visualization to do whatever the hell you want, I don't care.

Here's the FOTW ranks. Looks pretty good to me as well.

And, last and least, the SHFR graph. I'm debating when I should switch it from log to regular, but for consistency, I'll keep it log for at least another week or two. Click to embiggen.

Quatro de Sporting... or something

Man do I love eating tacos. Even more so when watching my team crush their opponents so thoroughly. Seriously, I had been wondering when I'd get to see a proper blowout, and here it was. Chivas looked just miserable the entire match and seem to have completely lost whatever mojo they had at the start of the season. I do feel bad for Dan Kennedy though, the auto-red for DOGSO is so harsh in my mind. He made a foul on a player in the box, that should be a yellow if it's a foul that resulted from an actual play on the ball and not something tactical or malicious.

Still, how bout that Bieler, eh? Playing like a gynecologist. Clinical in the box.

Okay, I'm done with that joke now.

Anyway, here's the player ratings for this one.

Any surprise here? Total domination by SKC, Zusi with man of the match, even after leaving the game a little early. Smart sub by PV, it's gonna be a long week, and I really, really want to lay into Seattle on Wednesday.

No Besler in the 18 was a little odd... hopefully just resting and no injury or illness. But a great performance across the board, and hopefully a goal means CJ gets a bit of his confidence and swagger back.

And Bieler is proving he was worth the money. If he keeps scoring like this he'd be arguable one of the better DP signings in the league I'd argue.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

They have the plant, but we have the Power

Sorry I'm late. I'm out of town and working. I don't owe you anything. YOU CANT MAKE ME DO ANYTHING.

Also I'm tired.

No witty commentary. Here's numbers.

SHFR graph.

Week 9's flavor of the week. A little surprised SKC is still ranked so high. Two good weeks are keeping them up, they should be falling soon...


So... how bout them Timbers eh? Who'd've thunk they'd be carving out an identity as a road team? And why do I have to be the asshole who says it...


Seriously, they look really good when they have space to work in. Jeld-Wenn doesn't suit their style. It's just not that great of a stadium. there. I said it.

Anway, was a poor game all around, actually. My wife (8 months pregnant) twisted her ankle, so we decided to leave early so we could get her home to ice it (and avoid all the traffic getting out of the lot). And by early, I mean I literally went to get the car at the opening kick and missed Chance Myers first MLS goal. Which is funny, because I was totally talking to one of the trainers on the flight home from New York about Chance and asked whether he thought he'd ever score. He laughed and sort of shrugged, saying Chance lit up the Reserve League back in the day with goals in almost every game, but just didn't seem like he'd ever score in an MLS game. And then, yeah. One minute in. Was hillarious. Did I post about that in my New York post? No? DAMMIT! Okay, I should have.

Anyway, yeah, I was really glad to see Chance score, and one would think that scoring early would mean te game would be a done deal. Forcing visitors to chase a game that early, for that long, seems like it would be perfect for SKCs style, and yet, somehow, defending just fell apart. I actually Jimmy had a really poor game in the nets, and the lack of run-of-play goals worries me some...

Still, early in the season, and it's hard to say Portland is a poor team this year, so... let's see the numbers.

No real surprise seeing Chance Myers as man of the match, unless you count a player from the losing team (not to mention a defender whose back line leaked three goals) as a surprise...

Wanna see some pictures? Suuuure you do.