Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2012 Canadian content: FC Edmonton final report

The NASL regular season is a wrap, and so to the competitive year for FC Edmonton. The Eddies finished out of the playoffs in a league where 6 of 8 teams advance (as a Blue Bomber fan I'm no stranger to this particular brand of achievement) and bottom of the table.

A comprehensive review of their season has been compiled by the never-at-a-loss-for words Ben Massey. Having only watched part of 2 or 3 matches this season, I have neither the interest nor the ability required to compete with his analysis.

Instead, allow me to highlight the only table FC Edmonton will be topping this season: the ranking of Canada's pro teams by Canadian content based on minutes played.

The complete dataset for all 4 teams is available as a Google Docs Drive spreadsheet. Below is the Eddies-relevant summary:

FC EDMONTON
Competition CDN Total Percent
NASL Regular Season 15786 26539 59.48%
Canadian Championship 1235 1980 62.37%
Totals 17021 28519 59.68%

A brief explanation of the numbers:
  • One would normally expect the total minutes to be some multiple of 990 (11 positions * 90 minutes per game).  This is not the case because minutes forfeited due to red cards are not counted (in a game where player was sent off in the 49th minute, the team's total would be 949)
  • Real minutes for substitutes are generally under-reported.  In most cases a sub who enters in the 85th minute will play 8 or 9 minutes depending on how much time is added on. Since data on time added is generally incomplete, the data for the sub and substituted player must add up to 90.
Edmonton's final percentage of 59.7% is far and away the highest among Canada's pro teams. Though the MLS season has a few games remaining, none of the three teams in that league are close (Toronto is nearest; their rating is currently 26.4% and has been in decline most of the year).  But Edmonton's 2012 number represents a sharp drop-off from last year's 77.3%.

2011 was surprising both for the high proportion of minutes awarded to Canadian players, and Edmonton's relative success as an expansion team (they qualified for the playoffs and promptly crashed out with a 5-0 loss to Fort Lauderdale). Some of the changes that affected the nationality balance of the team may also have been responsible for their on-field woes in 2012. Disappointing seasons from import regulars such as Kevin Hatchi, Serisay Barthelemy and Yashir Pinto may be partly to blame.

Among the Canadians, the top 3 in terms of minutes were defenders Paul Hamilton (2024 minutes) and Antonio Rago (1946) and midfielder Shaun Saiko (1817). The latter was also the team's leader in goals scored with 7, yet was still frozen out of the lineup for much of the second half of the season.

Edmonton does deserve credit for mining the oft-overlooked talent pool of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). In addition to Hamilton, who spent several years at Trinity Western University, the Edmonton roster includes another XXXX players who formerly played collegiately in Canada: Paul Craig (attended UPEI, 693 minutes in 2012), Elvir Gigolaj (St Mary's, 167 minutes), and keeper John Smits (University of Toronto, 630 minutes)

Looking forward to 2013, one would hope that a continued willingness to feature Canadian talent will correlate to greater success in the standings.

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