In an effort to bring more clarity to the Castrol Index, we’re introducing a new feature: the Weekly Top 20 Performers.
It works just like it sounds, presenting the week’s top 20 players based upon points, as tabulated by Castrol’s formula, per 90 minutes. We’ll be presenting this every week throughout the season, and what happens one weekend has no bearing on what the numbers say the next. This is merely a snapshot of one week in time.
Weekly Top 20 Performers - Week 4
Powered by Castrol Index
|1||Thierry Henry||New York||1,921|
|2||Kelyn Rowe||New England||1,529|
|6||Robbie Keane||LA Galaxy||1,205|
|11||Jon Busch||San Jose||1,068|
|12||Nick DeLeon||D.C. United||1,010|
|13||C.J. Sapong||Sporting KC||1,001|
|16||Júlio César||Sporting KC||939|
|17||Kei Kamara||Sporting KC||927|
|20||Kyle Beckerman||Real Salt Lake||906|
It should be no surprise, then, to see New York’s Thierry Henry at the top of the list for Week 4. Henry – who won his second consecutive MLS Player of the Week award – picked up three goals and an assist in New York’s 5-2 win over Montreal. That gave him an Index score of 1921 points per 90 minutes, nearly 400 better than second-placed Kelyn Rowe.
While the placement of Henry and Rowe – who was spectacular against the LA Galaxy in New England’s 3-1 win – shouldn’t surprise anyone, the absence of Portland attacker Darlington Nagbe from the top 20 comes as a stunner. The diminutive second-year player scored two golazos, one a surefire Goal of the Year contender, and completed 32 of 35 passes (see, Opta Chalkboard) in the Timbers’ 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake.
Also on the outside looking in is D.C. United hero Maicon Santos, who had a brace and added an assist in his side’s 4-1 rout of FC Dallas, leading United to their first victory of the year.
The reason? Nagbe and Maicon Santos' point totals were hurt by the distance of their shots – both of Nagbe's goals and one of Maicon Santos' were from distance – and the quality of their passes.
The Castrol formula doesn't think as highly of long-range shots as fans do. The theory goes that a top-quality goalkeeper should do better on a long-range shot, therefore, the formula docks points from goalkeepers and does not reward the shooter as much as you'd imagine.
Similarly with passes, both players did well staistically in passing, the quality of their passes didn't pass muster with Castrol's algorithms. For on thing, Nagbe's passes were rarely forward. Of the 29 passes he made in the opposition's half, only nine of them – or 31 percent – were forward. By comparison, last year, 73 percent of David Beckham's passes in the opposition's half went forward.
Across the league, it wasn’t a particularly good week for defenders, and the ranking shows as much. Toronto’s Logan Emory – whose failed clearance led to the only goal in TFC’s 1-0 home loss to Columbus – was the only backliner to crack the top 20, pulling in at No. 15. The man who made good on Emory's error, Columbus attacker Bernardo Anor, placed 10th.
Goalkeepers, meanwhile, had it better. Seattle’s Michael Gspurning rated highest at No. 4 overall. He was joined in the top 10 by the Crew’s Andy Gruenebaum, Colorado’s Matt Pickens and Vancouver’s Joe Cannon, who posted his fourth straight shutout and has yet to concede a goal this season.
Kei Kamara, who was the overall leader after three weeks of play this season, had another strong showing in Sporting KC’s 1-0 win, placing No. 17 overall.