Promotion/relegation propaganda/reality, Part 5: Cons

You’ve read about the pro/rel pros, the history of the U.S./Canada debate, and the major players in the U.S. (including U.S. Soccer). Now it’s time to read about why promotion/relegation can be a bad idea. Yes, promotion/relegation has pros and cons. That’s heresy in some quarters. But what doesn’t have pros and cons? The U.S. sports system hasContinue reading “Promotion/relegation propaganda/reality, Part 5: Cons”

Promotion/relegation propaganda/reality, Part 3: U.S. Soccer

There’s no organization in the world quite like U.S. Soccer. That’s not a compliment. That’s not an insult. It just … is. U.S. Soccer is unique among major U.S. sports federations in that its mandate goes beyond organizing national teams and developmental programs. It’s responsible, by FIFA fiat, for regulating professional soccer competitions. (Or, inContinue reading “Promotion/relegation propaganda/reality, Part 3: U.S. Soccer”

Attendance check: Club over country?

Attendance at last five Atlanta United home games: July 4: 44,974 July 29: 45,006 Sept. 10: 45,314 (first game in new stadium) Sept. 13: 42,511 Sept. 16: 70,425 Attendance at last five Seattle Sounders home games: July 23: 43,528 Aug. 12: 43,350 Aug. 20: 40,312 Aug. 27: 51,796 Sept. 10: 44,697 Attendance at last fiveContinue reading “Attendance check: Club over country?”

Podcast: Ep. 6 — The Big Questions with Bobby Warshaw

“If you let your kid play sports, she’ll grow up to be a productive member of society! If you don’t, what’s wrong with you?” That’s the subtext of a lot of sports marketing ads for everything from the NCAA to shoe companies. And we sports journalists buy in whole hog. But wait a minute. Aren’tContinue reading “Podcast: Ep. 6 — The Big Questions with Bobby Warshaw”

Are refs calling NWSL and MLS games differently?

A few of us have gotten the impression that referees in NWSL games are awarding tons of penalty kicks but not many yellow cards. Are we right? Sort of … So the PKs, aside from games involving Sky Blue, aren’t that far off. But yellow cards? A rare sight in an NWSL game. If you’dContinue reading “Are refs calling NWSL and MLS games differently?”

Is MLS liable for a player’s foul temper and concussion treatment?

A lawsuit filed by former D.C. United goalkeeper Charlie Horton raises a few interesting questions … and some that seem a little less interesting. (Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer.) Like many legal documents, this suit has a few aspects that will make anyone with the slightest knowledge of the sport laugh out loud. I’ll neverContinue reading “Is MLS liable for a player’s foul temper and concussion treatment?”

MLS 2017 power rankings: Median, mean and ???

I’ve compiled power rankings / predictions / odds from several sources and presented them below in order of median. I chose to emphasize the median over the mean to diminish the influence of the rogue picker. But you can also see the mean as well as the standard deviation as a measure of how much disagreementContinue reading “MLS 2017 power rankings: Median, mean and ???”

The 2017 pyramid plan (and pro/rel myths)

In many ways, 2016 was the year the promotion/relegation movement grew up. The shifting landscape, with MLS pushing its expansion plans and the lower divisions getting a makeover, could make such a system more feasible. And some rational folks made a serious effort to wrest control of the movement from the conspiracy theorists and randomContinue reading “The 2017 pyramid plan (and pro/rel myths)”

Garbage in, garbage out: Soccer analytics and economics

Academia and sports each have a tension between number-crunchers and those who believe the numbers simply can’t capture the real world. We in the media are ill-equipped to cover this dispute. We’re generally not good at math. Twice, I’ve had to explain to a fellow journalist that 1/4=0.25. (“Do you have a quarter in yourContinue reading “Garbage in, garbage out: Soccer analytics and economics”

It’s time to introduce a two-legged MLS Cup – with a twist | Sport | The Guardian

The single final is insufficient, and the two-leg final doesn’t reward the higher-seeded team for their regular-season performance. So why not combine the two? Source: It’s time to introduce a two-legged MLS Cup – with a twist | Sport | The Guardian