10 May 2007

Everything in Context

CONSIDER CHRISTIAN GOMEZ: Charles Boehm at MLSNet on Christian Gomez, and how he's handling being marked out of the game.

Just as his team broke their losing streak with a four-point haul from last week's two home matches against New England and Chivas USA, Gomez showed signs of resurgence with a nimble goal against Chivas - and those around him noted a shift in his demeanor.
It's a good read, and ultimately a positive vibe, although I will personally note that after Gomez got the goal, he then went right back to some odd passes that Chivas easily took the other way. If he's truly broken out of the slump, we won't know until after the game against Houston.

CONSIDER FIRST YEAR HEAD COACHES: Just for kicks, a look at how Tom Soehn compares against DC United coaches from the past.

The graph above shows overall points-per-game (PPG) for all of DC United's first year head coaches for the first 10 games of the season. "Match 0" is the final number of points per game they finished at the end of the regular season. Shoot outs were considered draws. The gray line of Tom Soehn actually perfectly matches, so far, the blue line of a coach named Bruce Arena.

So what's the take away from this? Note the difference between the points-per-game between Game #10 and Game #0 (the end of year result). All first year head coaches other than Ray Hudson saw results in the final two thirds of the season better, on average, than the first third. I'm not going to draw an conclusions regarding MLS Cups from that data, but I find it interesting. If Tom Soehn is still averaging around a point a game after DC's tenth game of the season, it is still no reason to panic. Apparently all of our coaches other than Hudson, even Rongren who inherited a great team and started at a pretty good clip at the start of the season, see better results as the season goes on.

I don't think this is a deterministic thing. Certainly if United drops the next five matches you can panic. But even if United is mediocre through June, it tells me that you can't conclude that the season is pretty much consigned to the same level of mediocrity. Similarly, I note that Ray Hudson had the second highest PPG of first year head coaches in 2002, and we all know how that ended.

The season, despite being only 30 games, is longer than we think.

CONSIDER DC UNITED: I sent over a small write-up to our friends blogging on Gateshead FC to try and explain what this United business is all about. They were kind enough to post it. Vamos United, and Heed Army!

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At 10 May, 2007 11:34, Blogger Kinney said...

That graph reminds me of the supporter sheild graphs from last year. Are we going to do that this year? Or are we too depressed already?

At 10 May, 2007 13:59, Blogger D said...

Yeah, I'll probably do one of those soon. I just need to put it together.

At 10 May, 2007 14:47, Anonymous haveyouseenlucky said...

Did you actually do that graph yourself? With the research and everything?

The only graph I ever did for my blog was pie chart comparing Funny vs. Not Funny.

Why only points per game, what about how much our opponents scored, or is this net points per game?

At 10 May, 2007 14:51, Blogger D said...

Lucky: Yeah, I did the chart myself. Points refers to result points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss) and looks at the cumulative points per game. So if you win your first game, you're averaging 3 points per game at that point. If you lose your next game, you drop to 1.5 PPG overall, and so on...

At 10 May, 2007 19:17, Anonymous haveyouseenlucky said...

Boy, is my face red. Still thinking like an american football fan it seems.


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