PHILADELPHIA – The final decision is Ben Olsen's, but that doesn't mean we can't take a crack at the starting lineup for Wednesday's AT&T MLS All-Star game (8:30 pm ET, ESPN2, TeleFutura, TSN/RDS in Canada; LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
Of course, instead of taking multiple aspects into consideration like Olsen – form, on-field chemistry, personal preference et al – this lineup is determined strictly by the numbers.
Last week, with the help of Opta chalkboards, we explored the possibilities that arise when we are able to determine how likely a pass is to be successfully completed based upon key metrics such as pass distance, location and angle. Using this model, we were able to determine which players tend to complete passes that the average MLS player would not.
There’s a certain strain of ludditism that runs through soccer fandom, a resistance to new and distinct ways of thinking about the game. In part that’s because quantifying the “mysteries of greatness” seems so far beyond our ways of understanding both physiology and the mentality of the typical player.
But the other part is that our collection of data is incomplete. Almost every movement in soccer (set pieces being the exception) is a unique situation, which flows into another unique situation, and so on and so forth.
NEW YORK – adidas and Major League Soccer today announced that MLS will integrate the adidas micoach Elite System league-wide in 2013, marking the world’s first “smart league.” The announcement comes ahead of the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, which is set to be the world’s first “smart game” integrating the micoach Elite System.
If you haven't already, give this morning's OPTA Spotlight on Danny Koevermans and his contributions to Toronto FC over the past year a quick read.
What will Toronto FC do now?
That was the question on most observers’ minds as Danny Koevermans lay in a crumpled heap clutching his left knee on the Gillette Stadium turf. And as the Dutch striker was carted off by stretcher, the answer to that question started to become clear: What ever TFC do, they’ll do it without their attacking talisman.
Weeks ago, we explored the argument that not all shots are made equal. In retrospect, this makes a lot of intuitive sense – a strike from the center of the six-yard box is a lot more likely to result in a goal compared to a header from outside the penalty area. Luckily, these events have happened enough times that we are able to quantify just how much danger each of these opportunities pose.
Last week, we asked the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff to cast their midseason votes for MLS’ Most Valuable Player award. Two players were consistent presences at No. 1 and No. 2: San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski and D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario.
Some teams have the luxury of trotting out a consistent starting lineup week after week. Some do not – usually either as a result of excessive injury concerns or consecutive poor showings.