So I had meant to post this earlier, before MLS Cup Eve (can that be an official holiday?), but now that player awards have been released it actually seems like good timing, if only to look back on some things in retrospective.
At the end of the season, I like to try to cull player stats and assign some kind of rating to each player. Generally speaking, these numbers reflect more player contributions to their teams success and aren't always a great indicator of who the "best" player in MLS is, so guys who maybe had a stellar season that got cut short by injury or international duty or such may not show up as high as they could be.
The methodology isn't all that complicated though it takes a lot of words to explain. I'm basically taking the fantasy scores of each player, comparing it to the average player's score, and assigning a value based on how far above or below average their score is (i.e. their z-score). I do it both time weighted and not time weighted and then combine the two scores to come up with an overall score, and it seems to work pretty well, at least for maybe the top third or so of the list.
Like any attempt at this there's plenty of room for discussion and for some players who have skills in areas that aren't easily quantified it's probably a little unfair, but for at least the top third of the list or so I think it works pretty well.
Let's take a look at, say, the top 25 players.
I think that actually looks like a pretty good list. Personally, I was a little surprised Donovan wasn't considered as an MVP candidate, though it's hard to argue that Robbie Keane wasn't a good choice as well. Bill Hamid seemingly a good choice for Keeper of the Year. And the MLS Best XI? Here's my take.
And how did Sporting Kansas City fare? Well, I'd say, interestingly. Take a look.
The big thing that stood out to me? How many defenders were rated fairly highly, and how little our forwards really contributed. Dom Dwyer was essentially the entire forward corps. I think that's an issue that's going to need to get addressed, especially assuming that Claudio Bieler isn't back next year.
For a full list of MLS players, sure to spur some interesting thoughts and/or beer infused arguments, here's the list.
Again, I don't claim this is entirely accurate, but it does offer some interesting insights, I think. Thoughts?