MLS 20-goal scorers (r)

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by Sandon Mibut, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    With Luciano Emilio getting his 19th goal tonight, he seems a good bet to join MLS elite club of 20 goals in a season.

    Assuming he gets it done, he'll be the eighth player to do so. That three of the first seven came in the league's innaugural season tells you A) how much looser the defenses were that season and, B) how tough it's been to reach this milestone since then.

    Here's the list...

    Roy Lassiter, Tampa Bay Mutiny, 1996 – 30 games, 27 goals
    Stern John, Columbus Crew, 1998 – 27 games, 26 goals
    Mamadou Diallo, Tampa Bay Mutiny, 2000 – 28 games, 26 goals
    Carlos Ruiz, Los Angeles Galaxy, 2002 – 26 games, 24 goals
    Raul Diaz Arce, DC United, 1996 – 28 games, 23 goals
    Taylor Twellman, New England Revolution, 2002 - 28 games, 23 goals
    Eduardo Hurtado, Los Angeles Galaxy, 1996 – 26 games, 21 goals

    Cobi Jones deserves an honorary place on this list, having scored 19 goals in 1998 despite missing eight games - a quarter of the season! - because of World Cup commitments.

    I don't think Emilio will catch Lassiter, or even John and Diallo, but I think he'll match, at least, RDA and Twellman.
     
  2. Sanguine

    Sanguine Member

    Jul 4, 2003
    Reston, VA
    I think you're getting ahead way of yourself on this prediction. There's 5 games left. To expect the man 4 goals is a bit much. Not to say he can't do it, but expecting it is definitely on the excessive optimism side.
     
  3. AlecW81

    AlecW81 Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Durham, NC
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    He came damn close to number 20 tonight. Watch out Chicago.
     
  4. scaryice

    scaryice Member

    Jan 25, 2001
  5. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA

    Normally I'd agree with you. But if Emilio averages .8 goals per game (or basically scores 4 goals in 5 games) than his goals per game average over the past couple of weeks will DROP. Right now, the man's on fire and DCU ends with 3 home matches.
     
  6. Rodan

    Rodan New Member

    Feb 16, 1999
    Providence
    This is a silly (and unrealistic) use of figures.

    I do, however, have to say to congrats to the DC front office for going out and getting this guy. Many people were skeptical in the early part of the season when the team was struggling, but this late-season performance shows that quality really does matter down the stretch. Fred has also looked good lately, and could look better next year with a full season under his belt.
     
  7. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    so, through 11 completed seasons MLS has had seven 20-goal scorers, and no single player has repeated the feat.

    3 of the 7 to do it, did it in the first season, perhaps when defense, tactics and team play weren't as "professional" in MLS as they are now twelve years later.

    the league hasn't seen a 20-goal scorer since Ruiz and Twellman each reached beyond that level five seasons ago.

    I'd say it's a very safe bet (but one never knows) that a player will join the 20-goals-in-a-season club this year:
    name ------------- gp g a
    Luciano Emilio - DC 24 19 1

    also, there's the chance that either (or both) of JP Angel and E Johnson could knock in 6 goals in their team's final 6 games this season.

    i don't actually see either of these players as likely to reach 20 at this point (although I did crazily predict in pre-season that EJ would get to 20 goals in 2007), but it could happen.

    L Emilio does seem certain to get there. i'm actually interested in seeing if he'll raise his assist total above its current mighty total of one.

    what's the current "low" assist total for a 20-goal scorer's season in MLS history?
     
  8. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member+

    Mar 20, 2001
    Boston
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    However, Emilio does join John as a player who reached the 20-goal mark in an expansion year.

    If we're looking for degree of difficulty, only Diallo, Ruiz, and Twellman did it in a non-expansion year (let's consider '96 a 10-team expansion ;) )

    This is to take nothing away from Emilio: he's been a hell of a player this season.

    Interestingly, Steve Ralston - who played with both Diallo and Twellman in their 20-goal seasons - came close to being a 20-assist man in each of those seasons (17 in 2000, 19 in 2002.)
     
  9. Kung Fu Hamster

    Kung Fu Hamster New Member

    Jun 23, 2006
    Philadelphia
    All power to Emilio, but remember that DC is going to be missing Fred, Gomez, and Olsen due to cards, and they're going to Chicago just when the Fire are on a run. Realistically, I think this next game is a long shot and Emilio's going to have to work with 4 games.

    (Watch him prove me wrong with a hat trick on 9/23.)
     
  10. Sanguine

    Sanguine Member

    Jul 4, 2003
    Reston, VA
    While it is an expansion year, it's only one team, and Emilio hasn't scored in either game against Toronto.
     
  11. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member+

    Mar 20, 2001
    Boston
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Expansion does impact other teams though (dispersal draft and all.)

    However, this expansion had the least impact on the quality of play, due to:

    - The DP rule
    - An exceptionally strong class of international imports
    - And expansion of one team while the league was at 12 (it's highest team total ever.)

    In another sport - say, football - there would be a greater impact, but the pool of soccer players is worldwide.

    I'd expect next season to matter even less. The current DP signings will have a full season with their teams, and other teams might take advantage of it during the off-season.

    On the flip side, I think San Jose will have a very difficult time next year: we won't see the same quality in a dispersal draft. At least they are only one team, though: it will be truly rough for the teams in 2009.

    To tie this back: if somebody scores 20 goals in 2009, I will argue that Emilio had tougher competition :)
     
  12. Onionsack

    Onionsack BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 21, 2003
    New York City
    Club:
    FC Girondins de Bordeaux
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think if Angel and EJ both had played as many games as Emilio they would likey crack the 20 goal barrier as well.

    I think as of right now Emilio has played in 6 more games than those two. GPG average i believe is pretty close between the 3.

    My guess is that Emilio finishes with 23 and wins the boot. Both Angel and EJ will finsih around 16-18 goals.

    However, wouldn't it be preety cool to see three 20 goal scoeres in 2007.
     
  13. peledre

    peledre Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What is interesting to note is that all these 20 goals in a season scorers achieved it in their first full year in the league. Obviously the 3 in 1996 would skew the statistics a little bit, but Ruiz, Diallo, Twellman, John, and most likely Emilio all hit the mark in their first full season in MLS.

    Draw from that what you will, but it seems fairly evident that highly skilled players who come into the league with previous professional experience can usually excel far above what they normally would until defenses have a chance to adapt.
     
  14. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member+

    Mar 20, 2001
    Boston
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Great point. Also, Twellman and Ruiz did it in 28-game seasons.

    I'd like to see the breakdown of the leading goal scorer and the next-highest scorer on the team for each season, and then see the same thing next year. I wonder if other players benefitted from the increased attention on the 20-goal guy.
     
  15. due time

    due time Member+

    Mar 1, 1999
    Santa Clara
    In Ruiz's case it took a year before REFEREEs had a chance to adapt.:rolleyes:
     
  16. Onionsack

    Onionsack BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 21, 2003
    New York City
    Club:
    FC Girondins de Bordeaux
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not really.

    The King of Goals could only score like 5 or so in his full first season.

    Ruiz would have done it mulitple times if not for injuries in sunsequent seasons. Twellman has come close to 20 after in full seasons, but liek RUiz he hasnt had to many full injury free seasons since 2002. Some of the better US goal scorers have missed a lot of time in MLS due to internationals.

    I think you are reading WAY too much into this stat.
     
  17. Rodan

    Rodan New Member

    Feb 16, 1999
    Providence
    His conclusion seems pretty convincing to me. All of these forwards - not just a majority - scored 20+ goals in their first season, then not again. The inference is not that you HAVE to be successfull in your first year in the league, but that if you are going to get a boat-load of goals, they will come most frequently in your first year.

    Pretty comprehensive to simply be coincidence.
     
  18. BigWave

    BigWave New Member

    Nov 1, 2006
    Charlottesville
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My thoughts exactly! He'll basically be relying on Moreno and Burch for distribution, so...

    I predict that Emilio finishes with 22 goals and wins the Golden Boot for reasons stated above.
     
  19. SxSxWxC

    SxSxWxC Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Wyandotte Crossing
    I miss Stern John. :(
     
  20. guamster

    guamster Member+

    Mar 30, 2001
    Winnetka, CA
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Guam
    He has scored 5 goals in his last 3 games, for an impressive 1.667 goals per game.

    If he maintains that scoring pace in his remaining 5 games, he will score an additional 8.33 goals for a total of 27.33 goals. How do you say "hello, new record" in Portuguese? :)
     
  21. peledre

    peledre Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Took the words right out of my mouth.
     
  22. VioletCrown

    VioletCrown Member

    FC Dallas
    United States
    Aug 30, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    Club:
    Austin Aztex
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    On the surface, that makes sense.

    Then again, if you take out the 1996 goalscorers, you're down to just John, Diallo, Ruiz and Twellman.

    John was only in the league 2 years, then moved on to England. I think, considering the length of his stay in England, one could easily imagine him having another 20 goal season here.

    Diallo was already 29 years old the year he made his splash. He lasted just 2 more years in the league, and because of age wasn't likely to repeat his feat even if he had stayed.

    That leaves us with Twellman and Ruiz.

    And two points may make a line, but I don't know if we have nearly enough data to say we have a trend. Perhaps Emilio is confirmation. Perhaps not.

    For whatever reason, I'm glad to have someone lighting up the league, and happy that he's made it through the season uninjured (unlike other teams' star forwards).
     
  23. kpaulson

    kpaulson New Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Washington DC
    Agreed, but saying that "it helps to be unknown to defenders" is different from saying "you'll score a load of goals if you're unknown to defenders".

    The first is probably true. The second statement isn't.

    I agree that this stat doesn't offer much in the way of numbers. If you look at MLS goalscorers over the years, they've really been pretty remarkably consistent. But there are also a few post-first year flameouts (Pineda Chacon anyone?) outside of the 20-goalscorers-- I wonder what those numbers would look like?
     
  24. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Good analysis. Here's another point to consider: practically every striker of real ability in MLS who was under 30 at one point or another had chances to leave. Donovan, McBride, Dempsey (who is being used as a striker, not an outside mid), John all went to Europe and bigger paychecks. Twellman probably never got much of an offer b/c he went to Europe and didn't make it past the reserves. But to put it another way, how many really good MLS strikers have shown any longevity?

    --Not Razov--he went to Spain.
    --Not Lassiter, his career started overseas.
    --Not Cerritos (who played overseas first than went back to C.America for a bit before returning to MLS)
    --Moreno (in between 2 years of back injury issues) but he's not really a goal scorer, he's a setup man.
    --Kreis (who never impressed internationally)
    --Cunningham was rumored to be going to Israel at one point.
    The point about all this is that if you go over the alltime MLS scoring leaders, they were either guys who didn't draw overseas interest (like Kreis, Twellman, or Lassiter), weren't really scorers (Moreno is more about longevity), were older (Preki). There are a bunch of guys who could have put in 20 if they'd done a Moreno and stayed here 10 years (anyone remember Damani Ralph?) but instead they were so attractive that they were bought up by foreign sides. So the lack of repeat 20 goal scorers has little to do with talent of the players and more to do with: MLS can't afford to keep guys who are in demand overseas and goal scorers are always in demand. Just look at the ridiculous money thrown at Eddie Johnson after 1 good season.
     
  25. Rodan

    Rodan New Member

    Feb 16, 1999
    Providence
    Thi really isn't reasoned counter analysis - you're simply finding various reasons to consider subsets of the sample "anomolies". And even the ground for calling them anomolies aren't consistant.

    Again, it is a fact (and an interesting one) that all seven 20+ goalscorers in the twelve year history of MLS have been first year players. This year, the guy who has the best shot of doing it is also in his first year.

    It's an valid hypothesis that something about a capable goal-scorer being in his first year gives him a higher likelihood of getting 20+.

    The second hypothesis, that somehow being a "real" goalscorer (by a pretty convoluted definition) makes it unlikely that you will get another 20+ season is also valid, but not only less supported by the facts (in fact it's contradicted by some) it's essentially unverifiable.

    Just my opinion.
     

Share This Page