More Thoughts About Crew Forwards
I finished entering the Crew stats into the Matchnight stats engine today, so I put together an updated chart of the Crew’s all-time forward stats:
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So things aren’t quite so bad as the last chart indicated – in Jamie’s phrasing, A.J. Wood isn’t better than any of our current forwards. He’s better than half of our current forwards. Just for curiosity’s sake I’ve added Andy Herron’s all-time Chicago stats to this chart.
After putting together the above table, I geeked out a bit – like I normally do when thinking about soccer and player performance – and started playing in Excel. According to the figures above, McBride scored for the Crew once every 225 minutes of action across his time here. If you include his assists, he contributed to a goal every 131 minutes. Those two figures, frequency of scoring and frequency of contribution, are useful to look at for forwards, I think – after all, its their job to put the ball in the back of the net (or help somebody else do it).
At this point, I have to give the standard caveat that “soccer is more than statistics, so to some extent to reduce the game to numbers is to miss the point”. This is a true statement, but I don’t think it invalidates the pursuit of stats like this – as long as you realize that they’re not a final judgement.
So – here are the all-time frequency charts for the Crew’s forwards. I’m leaving off the players who never registered either a goal or assist.
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If Andy Herron can continue the productivity he’s shown over his first 3 seasons in Chicago, he should be a vast improvement over our returning forward corps – and close to the contribution levels of the forwards we’re currently pining for.
For that matter, I believe that our returning forwards have some cause for optimism. Ngwenya and Garey both achieved good things toward the end of the season, and if the Crew can keep the midfield quartet of Szetela, Gaven, Thomas and Virtuoso healthy to contribute I think the forwards will get their chances.
We’ll certainly find out – the Crew convened training camp in Florida today, and the games and scrimmages will be coming before we know it. Despite my inherent skepticism, I find myself somewhat eager for the season to begin.