Five important numbers to know about the MLS playoffs
- Balanced scoring in Portland
Only one MLS playoff club has four men with nine goals or more – the Portland Timbers. This gets important as the scouting and tactical approach intensifies for the post-season, because you don’t want your team’s offense to shut down because they can strangle off service into one man.
Diego Valeri (pictured) has 10 goals; Will Johnson, Ryan Johnson and Darlington Nagbe have nine each.
Compare that to Montreal, where Impact leading scorer Marco Di Vaio has 20 goals; no other Montreal man has more than five.
- Four matches in 15 days
Life is tough on these fourth- and fifth-place finishers. Teams advancing from the mid-week elimination matches into the conference finals are asked to navigate four matches over 15 days. (If they catch a little break, if might be 16 days.) Either way, that’s a tough slog. Oh … and watch those yellow cards, boys! They add up quick.
- Supporters Shield winners and MLS Cup champs
Congrats to New York and all for the organization’s first chance to hold real, meaningful silverware. But only six of 17 previous Supporters Shield winners have gone on to claim MLS Cup. Last to do so: LA Galaxy in 2011.
- Seattle Sounders and an issue with goals
If you think the Sounders have a good shot at MLS Cup even after the recent skid (a seven-game winless streak is no way to plow into the post-season, after all), they’ll have to do something about this messy goals situation … on both sides of the ball.
Seattle comes into the 2013 playoffs ranked 9th among 10 teams in goals scored (42, just one better than 10th-ranked Houston). And the Sounders are 9th among the 10 playoff teams in goals allowed (also 42, seven better than 10th-ranked Montreal)
- Landon Donovan … Does the man have to lead in everything?
Lots of us know that Landon Donovan is now the co-leader in all-time MLS goals, recently matching Jeff Cunningham’s 134. The LA Galaxy star will hold the record on his own early next year, assuming nothing crazy happens in the interim.
And lots of good, sweet, clean U.S. Soccer supporters know Donovan is the U.S. national team’s all-time scoring leader and assist leader. But …
It’s a great time to remind everyone that he’s also Major League Soccer’s all-time leader in playoff goals. Donovan has 22 goals, six more than second-place Carlos Ruiz.
Among active players – well, depending on whether we call Ruiz, used ever so sparingly this year at D.C. United, “active” – no active player is anywhere near the same ballpark. Brian Ching and Mike Magee have eight each.