Matias Almeyda and Guillermo Barros Schelotto are two of the most experienced managers in MLS history. They are also both just beginning their careers as MLS coaches.
To start his managerial career, Almeyda retired as a player and took over a River Plate side that had been relegated for the first time in club history. Immediately after that season, he led the team back to promotion with a first place finish in the second division. Almeyda did the same with Banfield in Argentina, winning his second Primera B Nacional title. At Chivas Guadalajara in 2015, Almeyda inherited another difficult situation, tasked with bringing the Mexican giant back into the spotlight. With Chivas, Almeyda won Copa MX twice, Supercopa MX, Liga MX, and CONCACAF Champions League. Now, he has embarked on a new journey with the San Jose Earthquakes, who finished in last place in 2018.
After leading the Columbus Crew to an MLS Cup as a player (he won both league MVP and Finals MVP in 2008), Guillermo Barros Schelotto started his managing career with Lanus in Argentina. He led the club to a Copa Sudamericana, the second most prestigious club competition in South America. Schelotto then signed with the club he spent most of his playing career with, Boca Juniors, and led them to two league titles. Read More
Welcome to Lowered Expectations, week 21 edition! Each week, we go about posting chalkboards and GIFs of the weekend’s best open-play shot attempts which did not quite live up to expectations (and rarely do we update this paragraph). We look at each one and not only evaluate the results, but also the process leading to them.
#5 - Christian Ramirez, Minnesota United, 71st minute, 0.457 expected goals Read More
Assisted by: Darwin Quintero
Keeper: Matt Turner
Passes in sequence: 3
Bucking most analytical trends, last season was an unexpected success for the Whitecaps. Beyond a new starting striker, they haven't changed much for 2018, so will hope their luck continues.
2017 in Review
My view going into the season last year was that Vancouver was not a playoff team. They surprised me and many others by finishing third in the Western Conference, only a point behind Western Conference leaders Seattle and Portland. The Whitecaps went on to beat San Jose 5-0 in the first round of playoffs, and finished the season with a disappointing conference semi-finals loss to Seattle. After they tied nil-nil at home, they went to Seattle and never looked like a threat, losing by two.
My concern for Vancouver going into last season was that after losing Pedro Morales, they didn't have anyone to maintain possession. Despite their final record, this was accurate, as Vancouver only had 39.2% possession, lowest in MLS. They also took an incredible 131 fewer shots than their opponents, a disparity better than only Colorado and Minnesota. Furthermore, their expected goal differential was -5.95, 16th in the league. Their PDO was 1089 (3rd highest in MLS), suggesting they got lucky in their offensive productivity. In sum, this team defied nearly all the analytics that tell us if a team is good or not. Read More
The 2017 campaign was a disaster for D.C. United. But a top-to-bottom roster rebuild and a brand new stadium in Audi Field should give United fans reason to be optimistic about the 2018 season.
D.C. United came into the 2017 season riding the high of a late-season surge from 2016, but 2017 turned out to be a disaster. United finished dead last in the Eastern Conference with just 32 points, and second-to-last overall. A few key players succumbed to father time, several others could not stay healthy, and inadequate depth behind them made it a hard season for United fans to stomach.
Offensively, United was just not the same attractive, “total football” team that lit the league on fire in late 2016. They generated only 41.78 xG across 34 games (4th worst in the league). To make matters worse, United was only able to secure 27 of those, making it the lowest-scoring team in MLS. As much as the lack of goals was frequently pointed to as the main problem last season, United was also a mess defensively. They allowed 57 goals (2nd worst in the league) compared to 55.59 xGA (also 2nd worst in the league), which meant that the Black and Red finished with a -30 goal differential overall (the worst in the league). Read More
Well looks like my hot takes from last month are already starting to crumble. Let’s take a quick run through before we go into MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Power Rankings.
1. Luis Robles and David Ousted will duke it out for Goalkeeper of the Year again - Off to a rough start to say the least. I wouldn’t count them out completely, but the first month was definitely not kind to them. Expect them to turn it around, but it will take a strong push to get them in the conversation for a second year. However, play across the board has been thin by the majority of goalkeepers so maybe just maybe.
2. Dykstra will make people momentarily forget about Bill Hamid - Well the injury definitely was not kind but there could be some time for Dykstra to start before Hamid gets back to 100%. The jury is still out on this although they are all heavily leaning “no” at the moment.
3. Tim Howard will have a forgettable year - The 2-0 loss to Guatemala isn’t helping his case, let me just say that.
4. Sean Johnson starts seeing his way out in Chicago - The strongest prediction as of right now. There’s been rumors of wrist injuries but it seems he’s been on the bench mostly due to a coach’s decision. Even if Johnson does top Matt Lampson in the depth chart, don’t count out Patrick McLain. At this point, I’d expect McLain to get a game over Johnson.
5. Philadelphia and Los Angeles’ goalkeeping woes continue - Andre Blake is red hot right now but knowing Philadelphia juju, it seems a strong possibility that they will sign four more goalkeepers and Blake willl pick up a knock sooner than later. Rowe is sitting even keel between boom and bust right now but to be honest, all of this doesn’t matter until playoffs come. That will be the make or break for these teams.
More after the jump. Read More
It’s March and we all know what that means: every writer across the nation is baking up their hottest takes to ultimately not be held accountable at the end of the season. Well ASA is allowing me to put their upstanding reputation on the line with five predictions for MLS’s gloved men heading into the 2016 season. Make sure to bookmark this post so you can link it to everyone at ASA in eight months and give us a boost in hits come November!
1. Luis Robles and David Ousted will duke it out for Goalkeeper of the Year again - If there’s one thing that has proven consistent with the award, the goalkeeper on the team who wins their conference has a great shot of winning the award. Dating back to when the league split to two conferences, ten of the fourteen years GOTY winners have gone to goalkeepers whose teams finished first in their conference. This means Tim Melia (SKC) and Clint Irwin (Toronto) also have a decent shot but Robles and Ousted are the best bets. It’s a rare sight to see either goalkeeper costing their team points in a game and both of their teams are looking to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield again.
Four more predictions after the jump. Read More
On September 19th, 2015 the Vancouver Whitecaps led the race for the MLS Supporters’ Shield. From then, the team fell victim to an almost-comical trend of league leaders performing like cellar dwellers, collecting five points from their last six games and backing into the playoffs (inasmuch as a second seed can back into anything). Vancouver bowed out of the playoffs on their own turf, losing 2-0 against Portland to follow up on a scoreless draw down south, landing only 5 of 22 shots on target over the two-leg series. At their best, the Whitecaps are a dangerous counterattacking team that overwhelms opposing defenses with an athletic attacking midfield and aggressive passing (note the high total shot ratio of 0.532). At their worst, the team looks much the same… but wastes the ball with poor shot selection and lost possession (note the possession ratio at 0.469, third worst in the league).
2015 in Review
Drew’s 2015 ASA preview called attention to a young and promising attack, but raised questions concerning Vancouver’s defensive strength with a new pair of centerbacks. Ultimately, the Whitecaps defense significantly improved from 2014, ranking second in goals allowed and first in xGA, on the strength of Matias Laba, Kendall Waston, and an outstanding year from goalkeeper David Ousted. Waston and Laba together account for roughly 34-35% of the team’s defensive actions (excluding recoveries and fouls), reflecting the former’s physical dominance (particularly in the air) and the latter’s exceptional activity rate in the defensive midfield. No individual attacker stepped up as a consistent scoring threat across the full season, with streaky production from forward Octavio Rivero and midfielders Kekuta Manneh, Pedro Morales, and Christian Techera.
More on the keepers and defense after the jump. Read More
2015 was an up and down year for MLS goalkeeping. We had some surprise seasons from Stefan Frei, Tyler Deric, and David Ousted, all of which had question marks going into 2015 but clearly did work during the offseason to prepare themselves for the year. Now moving forward, each club’s fan base is excited for their goalkeeper and is probably calling them “one of the best in the league”. Jesse Gonzalez matched the young blood theme in Dallas and gave a great performance against Seattle that went into penalties. David Bingham earned praise for finally taking over the starting role in San Jose and Old Man Saunders led the league in saves with New York City. Even Brek Shea notched himself a great save for the season.
Tim Melia returned from the abyss to start for Sporting Kansas City and won perhaps the most ambiguous MLS award: Comeback Player of the Year. But most notably, Luis Robles won Goalkeeper of the Year after winning the Supporters’ Shield with New York Red Bulls. He was rewarded with a USMNT call up and hopes to add on to his single cap with the upcoming friendlies. Read More
The finalists have been announced! We’re down to three goalkeepers that are all quality players in their own right. Bill Hamid. Luis Robles. David Ousted. You know the names or else you wouldn’t be reading this. All three have led their team to playoffs and have just a little time left to show who should become the 2015 Audi Cup MLS Audi Goalkeeper of the Audi Year [sic]. But don’t take my word for it, let’s hear what each of the nominees have to say for themselves. Here at ASA, we’ve obtained quotes from each of the goalkeepers that may or may not actually be from the goalkeepers themselves. Read More
Classic USMNT. While the rest of our team is struggling to keep its head above water, we’re overflowing with bald talent at goalkeeper. It’s one position we haven’t had a worry about since before Jimmy Douglas’ first World Cup shutout in 1930 and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. Brad Guzan and Tim Howard fill the depth chart for the Americans and the question of “Who should start?” is as unanswered as a year ago.
Unlike Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel Guzan and Howard seem to actually enjoy playing with each other. There’s nothing wrong with love and even though we’re all glad the animosity between the goalkeepers isn’t DEFCON 5, we’re still not sure who should be in net. Klinsmann has stated multiple times that Guzan is his number one moving forward but after a four goal outing against Brazil for Guzan, Howard may have found his foot in the door. Read More