Well, I couldn't wait until the end of the season to see how things turn out. I needed to know how the Sounders compare over their MLS history now. Intuitively, we all know that the Galaxy, RSL, and Seattle have been among the best teams in the league, but how much better are we, really?
Well, I ran the numbers, and was not surprised. Let's answer the FAQs.
Who has the most points per game?
It's the LA Galaxy. Of course it's the LA Galaxy. As clear as the top three teams in the league are, the top one team is just as clear. Their 1.74 PPG narrowly beats out our 1.69 PPG, and RSL's 1.62 PPG. Nobody else in the league has even managed 1.5 PPG over the past 5 years. If results happen to fall our way today, an LA loss and a Sounders win would shrink that gap to 0.03 PPG, though (1.73 to 1.70).
Who has the most points?
Also the Galaxy, although we're just 9 points back, and RSL is only 7 points behind us. Then 21 points separate third place RSL from 4th place Columbus. That's right, 21 points, or 1.4 wins per season, separate RSL from Columbus, and RSL is more than a win per season behind LA.
Who has the most wins?
Take a guess. Did you guess the LA Galaxy? You're right! LA's 78 wins tops the league, with the Sounders' 74 and RSL's 73 hot on their heels. In what is becoming a pattern, the Crew are in a distant fourth place, with 66 wins.
Yeah, but who has the fewest losses?
Drop the balloons, boys! Throw the confetti! It's a tie! The LA Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders are tied with 40 losses over the past 5 years. For once, LA isn't running away with a category. The reason will become apparent in a few paragraphs. For now, let's just rejoice in the fact that we don't lose very much.
What about ties?
These are Frequently Asked Questions. Nobody ever asks who has the most ties. I mean, unless they're Timbers fans, because they have to be proud of something. (Portland are first in ties, adjusted for number of seasons played. San Jose has the most ties by pure count.)
Seattle had a pretty impressive year for goals in 2011, but haven't really seen much production this year. Overall, where does that put us?
Third or fourth. LA is first, with 233 goals, closely followed by RSL with 232. We're a bit behind with 222 goals. Unlike other categories, though the drop-off to the rest of the league is pretty gradual. It's almost like, as the statistics get more granular, and the sample size increases, you see a more regular distribution....
So why did I say "or fourth"? Giving credit to L'Impact, they're on pace to score 232-233 goals over their first 5 years, which would put them tied for first or second. We'll see whether they can keep up that kind of pace, or it's just a banner year for Di Vaio.
Okay, but what about goals against? Surely, having so few losses is due to having a stout defense?
*pant* *pant* *gasp* *gasp* ....just a second, I'm still blowing up balloons.... *pant* *gasp*
*pant* *pant* *gasp* *pant* *gasp*
*pant* *gasp* .... whew.
What about goals against? Surely, having so few losses is due to having a stout defense?
Drop the balloons! Throw the conf.... dammit! I forgot the confetti. Oh well. No way I'm doing more balloons, we'll have to make do.
You guessed it! The Sounders lead the league in goals against over the past 5 years. Only 162 goals conceded in 156 games, for a 1.04 GAA in our MLS history. RSL actually has a better GAA (they've conceded 165 goals in 159 games, for also a 1.04 GAA, but a slightly better one pre-rounding), but I'll take this victory anyway. If RSL is in the Supporters' Shield lead despite 3 more games played this season, then they don't also get to claim the best total goals against just because they've got games in hand, essentially, in that contest.
LA and even Sporting KC are also among the elites of the league in this category, with 168 and 173 goals allowed, respectively, then things fall off to the 190's.
So, that just leaves goal difference, pretty much.
Yeah, we're third in GD, but this is the category that really shows how the Big 3 in the West are in a class of their own. RSL: +67. LAG: +65. SEA: +60. Then the long, long, drop down to SKC at +31 and a bunch of teams in the teens.
Overall, then, it seems like LA has been the most consistently good team in the league over the past 5 years, closely followed by Seattle and RSL, who could be placed in any order, depending on how you look at it?
That's pretty fair. Even as a Seattle fan, though, I'd probably have to give the edge to RSL for the 2 slot right now. It's really close, with Seattle having the better PPG and RSL having the better GD, but RSL has an MLS Cup. I know, that wasn't in the data we were comparing here, but in the event of a tie, I think it's fair to use that as a tiebreaker.
And I don't mind us feeling like we have something to prove against RSL and LA. Stay hungry, that's what I say.
Any last words?
|Los Angeles Galaxy||273||157||1.74||78||40||39||233||168||65|
|Seattle Sounders FC||264||156||1.69||74||40||42||222||162||60|
|Real Salt Lake||257||159||1.62||73||48||38||232||165||67|
|Sporting Kansas City||234||158||1.48||64||52||42||204||173||31|
|New York Red Bulls||226||158||1.43||61||54||43||219||202||17|
|San Jose Earthquakes||221||158||1.40||58||53||47||213||212||1|
|New England Revolution||178||158||1.13||45||70||43||184||223||-39|