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Dallas is Burning

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Maybe you've missed it, but Jeff Cunningham and FC Dallas are on fire right now. How ever you want to define "recent form" they have it. Tonight, they even had fans in the stands. Yes, the game was part of a Mexican National Team double-header at the Cotton Bowl, but they had fans.

The team is certainly riding the fortunes of Jeff Cunningham, a slight forward who today scored on a great header in traffic to pick up his 16th goal of the season. Thing is that it has all happened in the second half of the season, in fact since FCD hit the halfway point Cunningham has 15 of his 16 goals. Recently, there has been one statistical look at his candidacy, and a response by 3rd Degree.

After the Hoops beat New England tonight riding the hot foot & head of Cunningham I thought I might be able to use him as an example of what Productivity (Point per 90) is, and isn't. Oh, and that win has Toronto (42) slipping into the 3rd spot in the East with both DC (42) and NE (42) outside now. Seattle sits at 43 and Colorado at 42 expected points.

Productivity - PP90

Cunningham has 16 goals and 7 assists for 39 points in 1651 minutes. This puts his Productivity number at 2.13. That's huge. It means that in any given 90 minutes played Cunningham averages figuring in on a goal, either scoring one, or assisting on two. HUGE. Imagine going into a game and knowing that on average one of your players was going to net at least a goal. Would that open up the style a bit more, so you could risk a touch more? I would have to think so.

Second place in the league right now is GBS with 1.54. Conor Casey at 1.52. Montero is 5th behind Jamie Moreno. What Productivity doesn't tell you is which of those players is the "best." Honestly if I had +/- for each player I may be willing to say that it would, but Productivity is just a measure of offensive efficiency.

What is notable is that each of the top five have missed significant minutes be it to injury (GBS, Moreno), National Team call-up (Casey), suspension/legal issue (Montero) and lastly Cunningham, whose manager just couldn't figure out how to play him.

I guess that problem has been solved though. For Cunningham isn't going to sit anymore, and while Dallas' dream of making the playoffs is likely just a dream due to the wasted first half, they will certainly know that Cunningham fits into their plans as a striker next season. Hopefully, they and Red Bull will realize that in a 30 match season you can't take games off, but instead must treat each as a must win, because every year more teams miss the playoffs.