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I do things different

There are some differences between this site and others that cover the Sounders, or North American soccer. You'll notice I don't talk about form, or work-rate, but instead focus on the provable and the tangible, on the specifics of what has occurred. Because I think that form is a cop-out for journalists that can't bother to look at the very items that indicate good form/bad form.

Sometimes you will even hear/read a soccer journalist say that a player is showing poor form while they are dramatically outscoring their contemporaries. This is why I use statistics that I do. They may be new to most, but they show something tangible. For if a player is truly better than another shouldn't there be something that indicates it?

This also goes for teams. Does recent "form" really have a strong correlation to upcoming performance? Or do the details matter? Take the discussion last weekend regarding Los Angeles; many just chalked their run of success up to good form. They didn't look at the defensive lineup change was the cause of success; they just saw the addition of Beckham. LA started their run 9 games ago now, and David and "form" didn't show up until a few games later.

The devil truly is in the details. There is a significant part of me that thinks that part of what holds soccer back in America is that so many bloggers and journalists treat it as if it is something magical. You don't see this in coverage of the major sports. While passion is part of what makes players in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL great, it is more their technique and skills that prove their worth day in and day out. It is like the joke of color analysis that you get (less often now then in the 80s) that praises poor players for good hustle.

Coverage of soccer will mature when American writers start to talk about it like a sport. As we focus on the play on the pitch - things like the advantage of the high line off-side trap, or the triangle play, or why team X is so good at receiving crosses from the right, but not the left. Fan support and the nebulous nature of form are alright, but they aren't really connected to victory, and they certainly aren't indicators of a major sport.

Lastly, one of the things that I ask is that if you have questions about the terminology or statistics I use, just ask. They aren't difficult concepts as you get to know them, but they are part of the key to gain a deeper understanding of the sport we love.

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