Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Midway Point

Here we stand on the brink of the 2011 MLS mid-season mark. Of the 612 regular season games that will be played, we have already witnessed 300 of them. By the time this weekend is over we will have turned the corner and begun the march for home.

So at this time I want to do two things:

First, I would like to look back on my preseason predictions and see how they stacks up to the current standings.

And second, I gathered a large panel of experts, inside and outside the teams, to choose the two most influential players from each team, so far this season. Some picks were a lot easier than others. On the other hand the responses were amazingly similar all around the league.



Here is the current single table standings as of the last game played, Wed Jun 29:

35 LA Galaxy
31 FC Dallas
31 Seattle Sounders FC
26 Real Salt Lake
26 Philadelphia Union
24 Columbus Crew
24 New York Red Bulls
22 Colorado Rapids
20 San Jose Earthquakes
19 Houston Dynamo
18 DC United
18 Portland Timbers
18 Toronto FC
17 Sporting Kansas City
17 CD Chivas USA
17 Chicago Fire SC
15 New England Revolution
14 Vancouver Whitecaps FC


If the playoffs started today these would be the qualifiers:

W1 35 LA Galaxy
W2 31 FC Dallas
W3 31 Seattle Sounders FC

E1 26 Philadelphia Union
E2 24 Columbus Crew
E3 24 New York Red Bulls

WC 26 Real Salt Lake
WC 22 Colorado Rapids
WC 20 San Jose Earthquakes
WC 19 Houston Dynamo

W = Western conference (top 3 teams), E = Eastern conference (top 3 teams), WC = Wild Card (next 4 best)


And here were my preseason picks. Note that this season the teams were grouped into 5 categories of how I thought they would finish, not ranked, and the number in front of the name is their current standing:

2 FC Dallas
1 LA Galaxy
7 New York Red Bulls
4 Real Salt Lake

8 Colorado Rapids
10 Houston Dynamo
9 San Jose Earthquakes
3 Seattle Sounders FC

6 Columbus Crew
11 DC United
13 Sporting Kansas City

15 Chicago Fire SC
17 New England Revolution
5 Philadelphia Union

14 CD Chivas USA
12 Portland Timbers
17 Toronto FC
18 Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Looks like I only got 1 really really wrong (Philly), and a couple others were a little off, but the majority are right where I thought they would be.



Here is our compiled list of each teams 2 most influential players from the first half of the season:

Chicago Fire SC
Yamith Cuesta
Dominic Oduro

CD Chivas USA
Nick LaBrocca
Marcos Mondaini

Colorado Rapids
Pablo Mastroeni
Drew Moor

Columbus Crew
Eddie Gaven
Andres Mendoza

FC Dallas
Daniel Hernandez
Brek Shea

DC United
Charlie Davies
Chris Pontius

Houston Dynamo
Brad Davis
Andre Hainault

Sporting Kansas City
Aurelien Collin
Graham Zusi

LA Galaxy
Landon Donovan
Omar Gonzalez

New England Revolution
Kevin Alston
Shalrie Joseph

New York Red Bulls
Thierry Henry
Teemu Tainio

Philadelphia Union
Faryd Mondragon
Carlos Valdes

Portland Timbers
Diego Chara
Jack Jewsbury

Real Salt Lake
Kyle Beckerman
Fabian Espindola

San Jose Earthquakes
Simon Dawkins
Chris Wondolowski

Seattle Sounders FC
Osvaldo Alonso
Mauro Rosales

Toronto FC
Stefan Frei
Maicon Santos

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Davide Chiumiento
Eric Hassli

My thanks goes out to everyone who contributed to the list.


Anonymous Evan Ream said...

Nice recap, I agree with you for mostly everything except for who San Jose's most influential players have been. Steven Lenhart has been SJ's best and most influential player. They were in a slump until he came back from injury then they pulled off a series of good results. It hasn't been just his goal scoring that has been vital, but his hold up play and runs off the ball have created many goals. Dawkins has had much less say in the Quakes' season and hasn't proven himself like Lenhart. I think Lenhart has been one of the top 3 forwards in the league this year.

9:28 AM  

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