Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Canadian goals on Canadian teams

Back in October, I announced that the Montreal Impact had been the 'most Canadian' of the three fully professional teams in 2010. The basis for this statement was my usual metric: minutes played by Canadian players as a percentage of total minutes.

I stand by this choice of statistic, as I believe it tests a club's commitment to giving Canadian talent a chance to develop, and also serves to measure the quantity and quality of Canadian players earning a paycheque at the club. Our Canadian clubs should be striving to achieve a high standard in both departments.

Still, not all minutes are created equal. Just ask TFC fans, who I'm sure weren't too happy with O'Brian White's paycheque-stealing, while they must have been mostly delighted with De Ro's near constant scoring.

If one is to look for a team where Canadians can claim the greatest part of the team's success, one needs to measure each player's contribution. Unfortunately soccer is not like baseball.

Wait, allow me to rephrase. Soccer is not like baseball. This much is true. This is unfortunate, only because unlike America's pastime, a player's contribution on the pitch is not easily measured. In order to study how Canadians contributed to the success of the Impact, Whitecaps, and Toronto FC, I had to look at goals.

Again, Montreal came out on top:

Player Goals
Ali Gerba 13
Rocco Placentino 3
Reda Agourram 2
Antonio Ribeiro 2
Nevio Pizzolitto 1
Simon Gatti 1
Total 22
Team Goals 43
Canadian share 51.16%

Player Goals
Dwayne De Rosario 14
Nana Attakora 1
Total 15
Team Goals 33
Canadian share 45.45%

Player Goals
Martin Nash 5
Luca Bellisomo 2
Marcus Haber 2
Randy Edwini-Bonsu 2
Terry Dunfield 2
Philippe Davies 1
Total 14
Team Goals 36
Canadian share 38.89%

Before I started crunching the numbers, I thought it would have been Toronto FC in a walk. Dwayne De Rosario's freewheeling netted him 14 goals. I thought that would have been more than enough.

I had been forgetful of two things:
  1. Ali Gerba's summer feast on NASL defenders, which yielded 13 goals, nearly equalling De Ro's tally.
  2. The near total lack of goal-scoring contribution from the rest of the Canadian contingent at TFC.
I also expected Vancouver to have a much lower number, because I could not remember a single player, Canadian or otherwise, who scored more than 2 goals for the team. Martin Nash's penalty-aided total of 5 had slipped my mind.

Lest this become the stuff of bulletin-board material for Impact fans, I should point out the obvious: goals are a pretty imperfect measure of a player's contribution on the pitch. Between them, Adrian Cann and Nana Attakora had 1 goal, yet they deserve credit for an improved early season defensive posture. Yet this system of measurement ranks them even lower than the much-maligned (by me) O'Brian White.

They're just numbers. Have fun with them.

**** Another point: To compile these numbers, I had to comb through far too many sources. The main problem? No source (that I could find) listed player stats for all competitions collectively on the same page. Different locations for Nutrilite, MLS, NASL, and playoff matches. Really annoying, but not too surprising.

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