Russell Teibert and Philippe Davies taking on the Seattle Sounders on a beautiful grass pitch? It can only be the MLS Reserve Division!
The 2011 season marked the return of the Major League Soccer Reserve Division, a proud moment for those who had longed to get it back. Young talent on the fringe of the first team and veterans trying to get back into shape would all have the chance to play against fair competition. It was a big development in the rise of Major League Soccer towards the world-class league it so wants to become.
Well, the Reserve Division we got wound up having ten-game seasons against regional opponents. The games were spread so far apart that there was almost no lineup continuity and the Whitecaps regularly flipped which of their assistant coaches would run the team. The organization expected so little interest that the initial games were closed-door.
The MLS Reserve Division was better than nothing in 2011, but not much better. It did give the Whitecaps a chance to play a few young men of some promise but who weren't good enough to crack the first eighteen on a regular basis. They didn't play much, and it's doubtful we'll be able to draw much meaningful information from such a handful of games... but all the same, here is the Vancouver Whitecaps MLS Reserve Division statistical round-up for 2011.
This is the second part of a series. My first post, recapping the Residency's USL PDL season, is here.
|2011 Whitecaps Reserves Minutes Played and Scoring Leaders|
This table gives away the problem with trying to analyze the MLS Reserve Division: there's just so few minutes spread around so many players. The Whitecaps played 44 different players across ten reserve matches; when your most-played player had just over 700 minutes that means you haven't got a lot of data to draw conclusions from. Twenty-two Whitecaps got into Reserve matches but played fewer than 100 minutes, including Wooden Spoon winner (and PDL iron man) Derrick Bassi who saw one minute against Los Angeles on July 31.
So when Bedri Gashi scores one goal in ninety minutes and winds up tied for third in Reserves scoring, does that mean that Gashi was a talented player who we were nuts to let go, or does that mean that, of the forwards, only Tan and Salgado got any significant playing time so you can't draw any conclusions. Obviously it's the latter.
Playing a lot of minutes in the Reserves doesn't necessarily mean you're important to the team either. Of the top five listed Duckett, Janicki, and Morfaw are already all gone. Khalfan and Knight were also in the top ten and have already been cut; Nolly seems certain to follow.
|2011 Whitecaps Reserves Scoring Rate Leaders (minimum 150 minutes)|
|Goals/90 Minutes||Assists/90 Minutes||Goals + Assists/90 Minutes|
|Player||Born||Min||G||G/90||Player||Born||Min||A||A/90||Player||Born||Min||G + A||G + A/90|
It's good to see that Omar Salgado got results. He came in for a lot of criticism for his play at the Major League Soccer level but, on the Reserves, he was the team's leading scorer per 90 minutes. Salgado convincingly beat cult favourite Long Tan while being five years younger; of course, part of Tan's appeal is that he's a good all-rounder while Salgado is pretty much a straight-up target man but it still bodes well for Omar. Tan's own numbers aren't at all bad either.
There just aren't enough Whitecaps who played over 150 minutes and got points to draw many conclusions. A few prominent players did go pointless in the reserves, most notably Philippe Davies (630 minutes) and Russell Teibert (325 minutes, although the majority of them were at left back). Given his status as a late-season hero in the MLS season Nizar Khalfan's mediocre results deserve notice as well: Nizar's only point was an assist on August 9 against the Sounders Reserves.
|2011 Whitecaps Reserves Goalkeeping Statistics|
|Goals Against Average||Save Percentage|
Unfortunately for our goalkeeping statistics, the MLS Reserve Division only releases shot totals for some of their games (it seems to depend on where the game was being played: all games in Vancouver, San Jose, and Portland had shot data, the rest did not). I couldn't find shots-on-goal data for June 7, October 18 (both Jay Nolly starts) and June 20 (Brian Sylvestre's only start). Therefore, while Joe Cannon's statistics are complete, Sylvestre has no shooting percentage listed and Nolly's shooting percentage only covers his games for which shots-on-goal are available on July 31, August 21, September 6, and October 3.
I hope for Nolly's sake his two missing games were pretty good since Cannon owned him on save percentage. In such a small number of games it's difficult to draw conclusions (Nolly played 360 minutes for which we have a record). Cannon's Reserves save percentage is way above his MLS percentage, while Nolly's is slightly below.
What I'm saying is that these goalkeeper statistics are almost worthless. In fact, most of these stats stink pretty bad. Aren't you glad you read all this?