Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whitecaps are 'most Canadian' team in '09

With Toronto disgracefully bowing out of playoff contention last night, I've been able to finalize the data on Canadian participation with Canada's three pro soccer franchises this season.

Like last year, it is Vancouver that has come out on top. You can view all the details for yourself, but here are the team summaries:

Competition CDN Total Percent
USL Regular Season 13034 29695 43.9%
Voyageurs Cup 1595 3960 40.3%
USL Playoffs 1990 5840 34.08%
Totals 16619 39495 42.08%

Competition CDN Total Percent
CONCACAF Champions League 762 1980 38.5%
USL Regular Season 11643 28637 40.7%
Voyageurs Cup 1780 3941 45.2%
USL Playoffs 1686 5940 28.38%
Totals 15871 40498 39.2%

Competition CDN Total Percent
MLS Regular Season 11523 30630 37.6%
Voyageurs Cup 1570 3960 39.6%
CONCACAF Champions League 646 1980 32.6%
Totals 13739 36570 37.6%

The numbers, for the most part, speak for themselves. Still, allow me the liberty of some interpretation:
  • The playoff numbers for Montreal and Vancouver represented a significant decline from the other competitive matches. In Vancouver's case, injuries (Gordon Chin) and discipline issues (Martin Nash) were responsible for most of the decline.
  • The year-to-year changes are fairly interesting. Vancouver, despite being the most Canadian outfit, saw its number drop from 56.4% overall the previous year to 42.1% (-14.3%), while Toronto jumped from 22.1% to 37.6% (+15.5%). Montreal slipped a little bit from 44.1% to 39.2% (-4.9%)
  • None of the 3 Canadian sides fielded a Canadian keeper for the majority of matches.
  • In 2008 the Voyageurs Cup was least Canadian, in terms of minutes played, of all the competition formats. This year it was the most. The breakdown by competition:

Competition CDN Total Percent
Voyageurs Cup 4945 11861 41.7%
Reg season 36200 88962 40.7%
CONCACAF Champions League 1408 3960 35.6%
USL Playoffs 3676 11780 31.2%
Totals 46229 116563 39.7%

If we only count "real Canadians" . . .

For consistency's sake, I listed Montreal's Eduardo Sebrango as Canadian, and did the same for O'Brian White, who claims Jamaican and Canadian allegiances, depending on convenience. It is worth noting that when both players are removed from the calculations, Montreal drops to third in the overall standings. Toronto's final score would drop to 36.4%, while Montreal would sit at 33.6%.

Final word

While the total minutes played by Canadians, real and marginal, dropped slightly (by just over 3000 minutes) from 2008 to 2009, there were positive developments on the Canadian talent front.

First and foremost was the huge jump in Canadian presence in the lineups at Toronto FC, even while abandoning the goalkeeping position as a Canuck stronghold. I don't really have anything positive to say about Montreal's aging Canadian core, but they are champions so I highly doubt they are crying into their poutine about it. And Vancouver, a year after jettisoning a largely Canadian veteran core, managed to hold onto their title from last year in this department, while fielding a team of emerging young stars like Marcus Haber, Randy Edwini-Bonsu and Ethan Gage.

Coming soon?: Goals breakdown: Canadian vs foreign


Anonymous said...

so the team with the most CanCon was the least successful! hahah.

Vancouver did not win any cups this year.. but montreal and toronto did!

J said...

And last year they were most Canadian and most successful (arguably, though Montreal could make a claim to that title with their CCL run).

In short, in two years, there hasn't proven to be any kind of correlation between Canadian content and performance.