Yesterday was the first day of the year that was stiflingly hot here in Central Florida, and I suspect it will not be the last. This always makes for an interesting element to the MLS season, especially in places known for intense heat and humidity. You know, like Florida. Nothing will sap energy like playing in a sauna. If our beloved Orlando and Melbourne-based teams can become mentally adjusted to that heat, it may be an advantage over opponents from other climates.
And if not, at least it makes the cold beer taste that much better.
Tommy Redding Gets the Call
Tab Ramos, coach of the U.S. U-20 Men's National Team (and a guy who always makes me feel old as he was one of my favorites from the '90s teams) has set his team for the Dallas Cup, and Lion Tommy Redding has made the team. Redding has played well in a starting role for Orlando City in this young season, and has a very bright future ahead of him if he can continue to develop. Getting a call-up from the national team can only help his future.
The Dallas Cup has been held every year since 1980 on Easter week. It's an invitation-only tournament that has seen teams from around the world compete in eight different age groups. Among the alumni from previous competitions are Wayne Rooney, Landon Donovan, Chicharito, Clint Dempsey, and David Beckham.
Versatility the Key for Shea
Though he has yet to score for OCSC, it would be inaccurate to say that Brek Shea hasn't put forth maximum effort for the home side, and his versatility is definitely an asset for the club. Shea and the team would probably benefit from a little stability in his routine -- by which I mean a stable position, and an injury-free stretch. That would likely see him put forth some more consistent performances and maybe finally notch that elusive goal. But his high effort level and willingness to do whatever is needed make him a fan favorite regardless.
Larin Up for Goal of the Week
Cyle Larin has two goals in two games and his fourth-minute strike against Chicago is nominated for MLS Goal of the Week. Oddly enough, he's up against David Accam's strike in that same game. I think MLS should use this as the official tie-breaker for last week's match (of course, Larin is up 62% to 38% as of the time of this writing). Now that I've put that out there, please go vote for Larin, just in case the MLS overlords are reading. Though I don't think anyone is beating Quincy Amarikwa.
Orlando City Leads the League
In passes per possession, that is. At least they used to. This link is really more of an effort to highlight a new blog (at least new to me) rather than to bring forth any breaking news. Advanced metrics are difficult to implement in soccer simply because the success or failure of each activity is highly influenced by the immediately preceding play and the team's tactical approach. In other words, individual plays cannot be considered statistically independent events. Still, taken in the proper context, advanced stats can be meaningful.
This site attempts to apply advanced metrics to college soccer. The inaugural post tries to compare MLS possession metrics to the college game. While author A.J. Barnold admits that full conclusions can't be drawn here, we do learn that Orlando City is the MLS extreme in terms of passes per possession. The stats are only from a portion of 2015, and Barnold admits that a correlation cannot be drawn between the possession stats and team success, but it will be interesting to keep an eye on this site to see what we might be able to learn. I mean, everyone loves math, right?
- Carlos Rivas and Cristian Higuita will not be representing Colombia in the Olympics this year. If they are anything like my Colombian friend Bert, they can already tell you why I'm wrong.
- We've talked about this before, but we're nearing the first tests of instant replay. I for one am happy to see this test, though the implementation approach will be critical to avoid ruining the flow of the game.
- Insulting a referee used to be a time honored tradition, but with the advent of social media, it can take on a whole new life, as Giuseppe Francone of the Belgian third division found out. Francone received a six-game suspension for insulting a referee on Facebook. While I don't know the details, I dare say this is far from the most offensive thing on Facebook.