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Youngest teams dragging the bottom of MLS standings

Jorge Perlaza,Sheanon Williams

Portland Timbers’ Jorge Perlaza (15), left and Philadelphia Union’s Sheanon Williams (25) fight for ball control in the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, in Chester, Pa. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

AP

Assigning too much weight or drawing too many conclusions from raw, external data is a trip down a rabbit hole waiting to happen.

But using the numbers as a starting point for a conversation? That’s always fair.

MLSSoccer.com’s Climbing the Ladder column is always chalk full of interesting numbers. The latest effort in serious calculator use features average age of each MLS team.

Vancouver is on top with an average age of 29.71 years per player. That’s pushing right up against a league all-time high, but it’s working so far for Martin Rennie’s men.

Still, let’s watch this and see where it takes the Whitecaps by season’s end. It’s all good at present, with Vancouver’s place among the Western Conference leaders among the big stories of 2012. But higher age escalates the injury threat, and the legs do grow weary as travel and matches exact a long-summer price.

Don’t forget, by the way, 33-year-old Barry Robson will soon be along to drive the ‘Caps average age farther north, still.

Here’s the most interesting conclusion to draw from today’s numbers – again, with the caveat of a small sample of matches to study so far in 2012.

The three youngest teams in MLS, Toronto, Portland and Philadelphia, are a combined 1-10-2.

That’s a powerfully poor record, and it’s got to mean something.