Numerology

Numerology: Statistical Best XI for MLS All-Star Game

Sene - Numerology

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In honor of Numerology, we have broken down the OPTA stats of all MLS players this season to form a statistical Best XI for the 2012 All-Star Game.

We have chosen to line up in a 3-5-2 formation and, while which qualities best define a certain position are certainly debatable, the raw data speak for themselves.

Player

Statistical Analysis

Dan
Kennedy
(CHV)

 

Chivas USA have allowed 18 goals through 15 games so far this year, and that number could be exponentially higher if not for some big time performances from Kennedy. He saves 96 percent of shots he faces outside of the box – good enough for second in the league – and he is also second in minutes per shots faced which means he is under constant fire. He’ll be ready for the Blues’ attack.

Young-Pyo
Lee

(VAN)

 

The South Korean veteran is a no-brainer at fullback, holding down the flank for the Western Conference’s third-place team. Lee ranks fourth among all defenders in blocked crosses for a defense that has only allowed 16 games this season. His true value lies on offense, however, where he ranks fifth in successful crosses and second in chances created. He’ll give Chelsea’s wingers fits all game long.

Aurélien
Collin

(SKC)

 

Collin is everything you want in a centerback. The anchor in defense on the Eastern Conference’s second place team, he is strong, gritty and a relentless worker. The big Frenchman ranks second in CBI’s (clearances, blocks, interceptions) and sixth in tackles. When it comes to winning aerial duels, no one's better than Collin. Against possible starters Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge, he will dare Chelsea to send crosses into the box.

James
Riley

(CHV)

 

Riley is making quite the impression in his first year with the Rojiblancos. The eight-year MLS veteran has become a staple on their backline, starting all 15 games at fullback. He ranks fifth in blocked crosses and leads all defenders with 16 successful crosses. Thanks to his ability to whip balls on the overlap, he's fifth for chances created and he should be pounding services into Chelsea’s box at every opportunity.

Graham
Zusi

(SKC)

 

The budding US national team attacking midfielder is the driving force behind Sporting Kansas City’s success. His eight assists are tied for the league lead and his 38 successful crosses and corners are in sole possession of first place. Chances may be few and far between against the Chelsea defense, so look for Zusi to provide his attackers with quality opportunities to score. His top 10 ranking in cross completion percentage and successful dribbles past defenders will help.

Jeff
Larentowicz

(COL)

 

Larentowicz has been a rock in the center of the park for his last three seasons in Colorado. Though not overly flashy – he excels at holding the ball and keeping possession – the Southern California native ranks in the top five in recoveries, pass total and successful forward pass total. The less his Chelsea central midfield counterparts see of the ball, the fewer opportunities Frank Lampard & Co. will have to run at the MLS backline.

 

Kyle
Beckerman

(RSL)

 

Easily the most statistically dominant of any player at any position in the league, Beckerman is third in recoveries and first in both pass total and successful forward pass total. Everything moves through the RSL captain and no one links defense to offense quite like him. The US international won’t shy away from the big stage and will have a hand in an MLS All-Stars goal in one way or another.

David
Beckham

(LA)

 

Well on pace to match his 2011 assist total, the English legend’s remarkable production has been widely overlooked given the Galaxy’s uncharacteristic level of play. He is second in chances created, third in big chances created and, when it comes to quality near the net, Beckham is pacing the league, placing first in successful passes in the final third of the pitch. He possesses a rare composure that should worry the Blues defensively.

Dwayne
DeRosario

(DC)

 

The reigning MVP has picked up right where he left off last season. De Rosario provides a playmaking ability that is rarely seen, as he is first in cross completion percentage and fifth in successful dribbles around defenders. Playing above Beckerman and Larentowicz, expect him to see a lot of the ball. If Chelsea choose to pressure him, he’ll slot it through to his attackers. If they decide to hang off him, De Rosario won’t hesitate to pull the trigger himself.

Thierry
Henry

(NY)

 

The former French international is arguably the greatest player to ever wear an MLS uniform and is considered such for good reason. While injuries have limited him to only nine games, he is still third in the league in goals and first in offensive efficiency. He averages a chance created and/or shot on goal every 23 minutes, nearly four minutes better than second place. Henry is also in the top 10 in both shot conversion and shot accuracy, and when he gets his chance against his former Premier League rivals, he’s almost certain to find the back of the net.

Saer
Sene

(NE)

 

Perhaps a surprising name on this list, Sene has been consistently producing quality chances at goal. He is in the top eight league-wide in both offensive efficiency and shot conversion, and is second in shooting accuracy. Playing alongside Henry up front should open a ton of space for Sene, as Chelsea will likely devote most of their attention to his countryman. When the ball falls to Sene’s feet, he's shown he knows exactly how to punish the defense.