New Waldo 10/17

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by alf, Oct 18, 2003.

  1. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    ... my standard comment ...

    Eric Wynalda is such an a$$hole. I really like his columns.
     
  2. AriesFlame

    AriesFlame New Member

    Nov 28, 1999
    Minneapolis, MN
    Eric was about 2 years late re: Etcheverry. He lost his game in about 2001. Retirement was LONG overdue.

    Concerning the USWNT, if this World Cup performance didn't cause the players to look within themselves for answers, they deserve to experience a steady decline. 3rd place at home is like Brazil nearly not qualifying. It is unacceptable by their standards. I don't know who's calling the shots and frankly don't care, but there needs to be some form of shakeup on the women's side of the Nationals.

    As bad as Giants Stadium was, a throng of people disguised as empty seats didn't help matters. 5K for a team that made the finals for the first time in existence? I know ALL of you weren't in the Bronx. People tell us about the character of New Yorkers, but I'm beginning to have my doubts. At the very least, Soldier Field could have drawn 3X that many people, at least.
     
  3. Mattbro

    Mattbro Member+

    Sep 21, 2001
    *************
    MAILBAG:

    Great article, and somewhat true, but I have to question, why? How about "In my opinion" Eric? You have not only slurred the winner, you've also slurred those who voted. Everyone is NOT an idiot. Report the game, check the opinions along with your ego ... at the door.

    - Tim D.

    WYNALDA: I never said that everyone was an idiot. You did. I was questioning the lopsided vote which can imply that some may be idiots. And I would include you on that list. This has nothing to do with ego. My opinion is not personal - it's based on fact. Your opinion obviously is not.

    ********************

    Tim D.....? Hmm, D for Donovan?
     
  4. hangthadj

    hangthadj BigSoccer Yellow Card

    A.S. Roma
    Mar 27, 2001
    Beacon, NY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Buddle for Mathis.

    That's funny.
     
  5. BrianJames

    BrianJames Member

    Jul 30, 2000
    Chicago
    Crew would be insane to make that trade, Cunningham for Mathis would be fair.
     
  6. StillKickin

    StillKickin Member+

    Dec 17, 2002
    Texas
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Wynalda is getting more and more "out there" and if MLSnet doesn't watch it, they could end up with an ESPN/Rush Limbaugh situation....not saying that's good or bad, but it could happen.

    He is not a "breath of fresh air" but rather a pompous windbag. There are ways of stating your opinion without being a jerk, but Wynalda hasn't found a way to do that... and I personally think that takes away from what he's trying to say. A step in the right direction would be a simple statement of "In my opinion....", but of course he believes his opinion is the only right opinion, since it's based on facts, and then if anyone calls him on it, he gets downright mean and nasty and loses perspective. He fails to understand that anyone can say their opinion is based on facts, and anybody can twist the facts to support their opinion. As my old accounting teacher used to say, "Figures don't lie, but liars figure."

    He's stating the obvious, pretty much, in most of what he has to say, but there are ways to say it without being rude and crass, and a good writer will find that way. I like him in the press box, because he states it like it is but tones it down somewhat and is not so inflammatory. His writing leaves a lot to be desired, and it's my hope, if he plans on continuing this, that during the off-season he takes a writing course or two. Then maybe he can get his point across without showing himself to be a complete idiot. (Notice how in one answer to an e-mail, he had to point out his near hattrick, but he ended up passing the ball to a teammate. Come on, Eric, save those stories for your kids, because with the tone of your writing, those stories don't fit.)
     
  7. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    In the mailbag section, this assumption was stated:

    "If soccer kept scores on the # of goals per shot taken, Landon probably has the highest percentage of all."

    So I decided to do a little homework. Among the league leaders, and I limited this to those who have scored 10 goals or more, who makes the highest percentage of shots they take? Was this assumption posted to Eric Wynalda correct? Here's what I found. These numbers indicate non penalty kick shots to goals scored:

    Code:
    [size=2]
    Player_Name	Goals	Shot_scored_percentage
    Razov     	9	8%
    Ralph      	10	12%
    Spencer  	8	11%
    Chung     	11	15%
    Preki       	6	7%
    Ruiz        	8	11%
    Twellman 	15	17%
    [color=red][b]Donovan  	11	23%[/color][/b]
    [/size]
    So at least among the league leaders, this assumption is not only true, it also points out the difference between Donovan and any other forward in the league. The gap between Landon and the rest of the league leaders is significant.

    Also worth noting - Donovan puts 59% of his shots on target. San Jose as a team averages about 45%, which is also consistent with the league as a whole, as MLS averages for the year also show a shots to shots on goal percentage of 45%.

    Does this means Landon deserved POY honors? I don't know, but it is a compelling point in Landon's favor. It certainly points out how far ahead Landon is from the rest of the forwards in this league. It also points out how pathetic some forwards' number really are when you strip out the fluff and see how inaccurate their shooting truly is.
     
  8. Matrim55

    Matrim55 Member+

    Aug 14, 2000
    Berkeley
    Club:
    Connecticut
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We'll take it.
     
  9. Matrim55

    Matrim55 Member+

    Aug 14, 2000
    Berkeley
    Club:
    Connecticut
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just wanted you to know I care. ;)
     
  10. Fah Que

    Fah Que Member

    Sep 29, 2000
    LA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    I thought Honda POY award is given not based on performance on club level but solely based on performance on national team? :confused:
     
  11. Fah Que

    Fah Que Member

    Sep 29, 2000
    LA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    But that's exactly the kind of personality people like. People like controversy.

    Personally I don't think his article is rude or mean or shows his big ego or whatever. It's no where near Rush Limbaugh. Not even close. For me it's more than perfectly tolerable. I do not understand why some people are offended by his writings. If you don't like it, don't read it. Very Simple.

    I don't believe niceness necessarily translate to viewership. I am sure some people for some strange reason will be turned off by his style but there are a lot of people out there who are sick and tired of "professional niceness".

    I think writing stuff that exposes ugly truth sometimes takes a lot of courage. I think most journalists out there are too cowardly because they have to think about their career.
     
  12. myshap

    myshap Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    One out of contract player going to Europe for another out of contract player going to Europe.

    No...still wouldn't be a good trade. Anything above a pair of socks for Mathis is a waste.
     
  13. beineke

    beineke New Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Note on shooting percentages...

    Jackrabbit forwards always shoot a high percentage. Lassiter made 20% of his career (Pk-adjusted) shot attempts, Wolff has made 19% of his. And those guys are not great finishers.

    The problem with Donovan is that he should not be merely a jackrabbit. He ought to be getting involved more in the offense ... after all, he's played forward all season and only taken 48 shots. Give it a go, lad!

    So anyway, I don't see anything wrong with Ante's 8%, or even Preki's 6%. When we were kids, they always told us the forwards need 10 chances to score, and these two guys sometimes create something out of nothing.

    The guys who shouldn't be shooting are the likes of Chris Albright (3.7% career) and Simon Elliott (2 for 122 over the past three seasons).
     
  14. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    It would be nice if Ray Hudson noticed that Dema Kovalenko has six goals on 22 shots (a 27% scoring percentage) and moved him up so he could get involved in the offense more.
     
  15. 352gialloblu

    352gialloblu New Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    England
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    LOL!! You're magic! ;)
     
  16. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    Whether or not Lassiter and Wolff were "great" finishers, they did play on the MNT, which meant that at the time they were at least the class of American forwards. Very often a forward's ability to convert shots into goals is largely dictated by the service behind that forward, which you don't get by digging in statistics. Lassiter had MAE in his prime against a league playing at, IMO, a significantly lower standard of play. Of course Wolff played in front of Nowak, who is probably the best setup man in MLS history.

    Landon this year is both the author and finisher of most of his chances, not to mention a few of his teammates' chances, which is what sets him apart from what you describe as a "jackrabbit" forward. I'm not sure what that even means.

    While you might not be concerned about Razov's and Preki's percentages, I find them telling. With Preki, I am less concerned, because obviously he is much more dangerous with a pass than with his shot. His is more of a complete game. Ante, however, is a one-trick pony. He's there to finish goals. He does not set up for his teammates, and only on Bruce Arena's kids sets up chances for himself. OK, slight exaggeration, but I regard Razov as purely a poacher - a forward who is supposed to finish the chances created for him. At an 8% clip, his teammates have a lot of creating to do before Razov scores a goal.

    Despite what your youth coaches told you to the contrary, I would bet that Landon's numbers are more similar to those of the world's best forwards than those of Ante. Here's some evidence to support my assumption from the last World Cup - probably the toughest venue of all to score goals. Just for comparison's sake, here are the 2002 WC goal scoring leaders with 4 goals or more, and their non-PK shots to goals percentage.

    Code:
    [size=2]
    Player_Name	Goals	Shot_scored_percentage
    Ronaldo     	8	29%
    Rivaldo      	4	20%
    Klose      	5	28%
    Tomasson     	3	60%
    Vieri        	4	21%
    [color=red][b]Donovan  	2	18%[/color][/b]
    [/size]
    Once again, we see that each of these premiere goal scorers are scoring at a much higher rate than beineke's youth coaching expectations. Each of them are also remarkably accurate in their shots/shots on goal percentage.

    Ronaldo - 75%
    Rivaldo - 57%
    Klose - 50%
    Tomasson - 83%
    Vieri - 58%
    Donovan - 64%

    I know that the World Cup is an incredibly short sample of games for comparison, but I would bet that except in the wildly extreme case of Tomasson, these numbers are pretty similar when compared to each player's club play.
     
  17. beineke

    beineke New Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    I blame Onstad. :)

    Nutmeg, you can't use the World Cup leaders to make a convincing case. Heck, Brian Kamler had a stretch of three games this year where he made 75% of his shots.

    Check out the following links to see that shooting percentages are not so different from the Premiership to MLS. Dominant Premiership teams shoot a higher percentage than MLS teams, bottom-feeders shoot a lower one. In MLS, where the games are more balanced, most teams shoot a similar percentage ... and yes, it's right around 10%, just like my youth coaches said it was.

    http://www.skysports.com/skysports/article/0,,0-1027137,00.html
    http://www.mlsnet.com/statistics/tmstats.html
     
  18. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    Well, again it looks like I am failing to understand if you have a point and what that point might be. Looking at the stats pages you referenced, it shows that the best forwards in the premiership have a strike rate significantly higher than anything close to 10%. My point in entering this discussion was sparked by the assumption stated by an email sent to Eric Wynalda that claimed Landon finishes a much higher percentage of his shots than other MLS forwards.

    He does.

    Not only that, but the other leading scorers in MLS struggle to convert at a rate even close to Donovan's. That is telling. Your references tell the same story. The leading scoreres in the Premiership are converting at a significantly higher rate than 1 in 10. As I said in my last post, "Despite what your youth coaches told you to the contrary, I would bet that Landon's numbers are more similar to those of the world's best forwards than those of Ante."

    They appear to be.

    So when your youth coach prepares you for Ante Razov by telling you he'll hit only one out of 10 shots, your team will be well prepared. Of the ten chances created for Ante, he might not even put away one. Landon Donovan, or most other shooters of a higher caliber, however, scores at a much higher clip than that - about one in four.

    The difference is huge.
     
  19. 352gialloblu

    352gialloblu New Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    England
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Their just different players, Ante and Donovan. Ante takes a huge amount of shots, including a few he probably shouldn't, and a few that should hardly be considered shots (ie, most with his right foot). Donovan has 2 less goals in 3 less matches, so he may be a more efficient finisher, but he also doesn't create as many shooting chances, apparently, so the end product is the same. Van Nistelrooy doesn't create chances that often, either, he just finishes them ridiculously well (8 for 24). Henry is listed as top shooter on that page with 31, and he had scored 6 at that point (19%), but it probably just means he creates more chances or shoots more often. It's the end product that matters to me, not the percentages.

    Looking at shot accuracy, they both get nearly the same precentage on target, too, even though Ante has shot over twice as many. So, he has put over twice as many shots on goal. That's not a bad thing.

    I guess what I really look at is the goals per game ratio, because if one player score once every two games while having 10 shots, and another scores once every two games while taking only 5 shots, what's the real difference? It's not like one really scores twice as often, even if he has twice the goals/shot ratio. (Ante is 56% and Donovan 54.5% in gpg, btw.)
     
  20. beineke

    beineke New Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    There you go again.

    In the NBA, Shaquille O'Neal has a terrific field goal percentage, yet he's clearly not a high-caliber shooter. He's big and strong, and as a result, he gets easy shots.

    Donovan isn't big or strong, but he's still the soccer equivalent of Shaq. He's fast and skilled, and as a result, he gets a lot of tap-ins and breakaways. Has he converted a medium-range or a long-range shot all year? Most of the time, he looks afraid to even pull the trigger.

    If the Roy Lassiter example doesn't make this clear, I don't know what can. The guy is a horrendous shooter, but when he's one-on-one with the keeper, he doesn't need to make a great finish.
     
  21. beineke

    beineke New Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Once we factor out penalties, Henry is 3-28 (11%). Owen is 3-19 (16%). Van Nistelrooy is still at 33%, but he's also botched two of his three PK attempts.

    And let's remember that these guys play for powerhouse teams. As a result, they get great service. Wolves are shooting 4% as a team -- is that really all bad finishing?

    It might be a problem if the shooter were an extreme ballhog. But Razov has 6 assists -- the same number as Donovan -- and Preki has a whopping 17. As Wynalda said in his column, Preki's shooting threat sets up his passes.
     
  22. ChrisE

    ChrisE Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    Frankly, I thought this was a pretty disappointing article. I thought that Wynalda's first few articles were very promising, and were offering a more hard-hitting perspective that the other US soccer writers avoid. However, it seems like Wynalda, at least in this article, was more focused on being hard-hitting and critical than actually being interesting and insightful. Two of his comments, about Etcheverry and the US Open Cup, were just stating the obvious: yes, everybody knows that Etcheverry is old and unfit (Wynalda says it every time he's in DC), and everybody knows that the US Open Cup attendance was pretty disappointing; I don't need to read an article for this.

    Wynalda, from what I've heard on ESPN2, clearly has a greater tactical understanding of the game than most American soccer journalists. If he's going to be an interesting journalist, he needs to incorporate this, because articles where he bashes everything about the US soccer establishment is going to get old pretty fast.

    Additionally, he's got some of the worst captions I've ever seen. From this week's article:

    "Wynalda sees Kyle Martino's recent poor play as a sign of the Crew's current state."

    "Wynalda suggests that Edson Buddle (above right) and Brian McBride cannot co-exist - how about a straight-up trade for Clint Mathis?"

    "Although acknowledging his monumental career in D.C. United colors, Wynalda feels Marco Etcheverry hurts his team when he is on the field today."

    Do they not think that we realize that this article is by Eric Wynalda, despite huge picture at the beginning? Or they just think the article is too long and complicated for the average reader, and so they better summarize everything in a few neat little captions, complete with pictures?

    Mediocre article.
     
  23. voros

    voros Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    Parts Unknown
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's only this year, and he isn't that far out in front of Twellman.

    I think with something like this it is important to look at multiple years to help increase your sample (for example, Kovalenko, referenced above, had a horrible percentage last year). Here's a dozen MLS forwards ranked in this stat for 2002 and 2003 combined:

    1. Taylor Twellman - 19.7%
    2. Landon Donovan - 19.1%
    3. Carlos Ruiz - 16.9%
    4. Edson Buddle - 16.7%
    5. Josh Wolff - 16.3%
    6. Jason Kreis - 15.7%
    7. Jeff Cunningham - 14.5%
    8. Brian McBride - 12.8%
    9. Ronald Cerritos - 10.4%
    10. Clint Mathis - 9.9%
    11. Ante Razov - 9.4%
    12. Preki - 7.8%

    Don't really know if the stat has any meaning.

    Twellman and Ruiz (and to a lesser extent Buddle) are the only ones who:

    a) Take lots of shots, and
    b) Convert a fair number as well.

    Maybe it's that combination that really makes for dangerous scorers, but that puts Twellman right back in the discussion.
     
  24. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    voros -

    Thanks for putting that information together. Good stuff. To me, shooting percentage is an important stat, especially in International Soccer, because against the best competition, you just don't get many opportunities. This is probably a better discussion for the US N&A forum, but Razov and Twellman have similar styles of play, and based on the statistics you've put together, it looks like Razov's team has to create twice as many chances as Twellman's to actually score a goal.

    It is also good news to see how efficient Buddle has been. I don't think either Buddle or Twellman would fit into beineke's "jackrabbit" category, yet both have been better finishers than Wolff over the past two years.

    I think this stat also helps us to understand how in-form a forward might be. For example, during the past two seasons, when just about everyone who has watched Clint Mathis has said he's been significantly off his game, Mathis has shot to goal ratio of 9.9%. Contrast that to his MVP-like season in 2000, when his ratio was 21%. These statistics help us to understand at least in part where Clint's game has been struggling.
     

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