This Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN it's the New England Revolution against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the U.S. Major League Soccer Cup 2014 - Championship match .
New England Revolution defeated New York Red Bulls last weekend in a two game series and earned their way to the Major League Soccer Cup Championship match with Los Angeles Galaxy. MLS sponsor Castrol predicts L.A. will win and Castrol's British predictors have been wrong before. New England has incredible ability making them a winning team in the MLS. Two soccer teams will play in a match intended to determine the success of the winning team.When Los Angeles Galaxy's team with key players, meet the New England Revolution, they will experience being on a field, in the United States, with a very highly skilled soccer playing team. New England Revolution would not be intimidated by New York Red Bulls defensemen and will meet Los Angeles Galaxy prepared by skills and aware that the New England style of play must dominate.
A look at some of the MLS soccer statistics from the regular 2014 season, and a few from the overall 1996-2014 seasons will give you an idea of how New England Revolution and Los Angeles Galaxy compete:
First of all, during the 2014 regular season, we can see evidence that New England and Los Angeles are the best teams to play for the cup. Both teams know how to keep their play offensively with neither one of them ranking high in the league on calls for offsides. Likewise, as defensive play goes, the yellow and red cards have not placed either team in the high ranks to consider the cards having an effect on their teams play. They are consistently smart players both offensively and defensively.
To continue, the next thing to consider about the 2014 regular season of play is the goal scoring of each team. How strong is the offense in goal scoring? To do this we look at shots; shots on goal; assists; goals; game-winning-assists; and game-winning-goals. as well who is scoring points and how is the overall team play affected.
In soccer, both shots and shots on goal are counted in the statistics. This goes to show you that some shots are less than inaccurate. What good are wild shots? While many people presume the more shots taken the better; an observation that accuracy is evidently a best strategy may be proven by New England this weekend.
In contrast, Los Angeles Galaxy player Robbie Keane ranks highest in the league for shots at 122 shots taken in 22 games played. Robbie also ranks second highest in the league for shots on goal at 54. When counting all of Robbie's shots and shots on goal, New England can figure on less than half of this Los Angeles player's energy used to shoot any ball scores; even though Robbie placed five game-winning goals. New England plays a game of applying energy where useful as they showed against New York in the two-game series Eastern Conference Finals by consistently winning balls on the field. New England does not have a single player listed in the high ranks of shots taken. For example, New England's Lee Nguyen is a league leader who took 41 shots on goal in 32 games played in the 2014 regular season, and nine of those were game-winning goals making him the highest game-winning goal scorer in the league. Los Angeles Galaxy's leading goal scorer in the 2014 regular season is Gyasi Zardes at 16 goals scored in 32 games played, and six of those were game-winning goals.
Furthermore, when goals are scored, in the spirit of good sportsmanship and team play, a count of assists is calculated in the statistics. This is where Los Angeles has had recognizable leaders in the league throughout the 2014 regular season. Landon Donovan has 19 assists in 31 games played and five of those were game-winning assists. Leaders close behind him are Los Angeles players Robbie Keane at 14 assists and six of those game-winning assists in 29 games played, and Marcelo Sarvas with 11 assists and four of those game-winning in 28 games played. Although none of New England's soccer players have been recognized as leaders in the league statistics for assists, New England Revolution's good sportsmanship remains unquestionable.
When looking at statistics, the NE Revs do not have any players who are leading the league in the 2014 regular season as foul makers.
Individual all-time leaders between the years 1996 - 2014 in fouls, yellow cards, and rejections, include some interesting statistics on players. Los Angeles Galaxy player Landon Donovan in 334 games played has had 365 shots on goal to become all time leader, and 144 goals scored making him the all-time leader. As well Landon Donovan earned 136 assists during that time; at the same time Landon Donovan has earned 537 fouls although he is not the league leader he has followed in the footsteps of former player and former assistant coach of and an analyst for Los Angeles Galaxy on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Cobi Jones who was an assist leader in the league at 91 assists in 360 games played and was a leader in fouls at 637. New England has no league leader or high-rank player in fouls.
However, consider that ESPN's analyst and former New England Revolution player Taylor Twellman was a league leader in both shots on goal and goals scored. He had 318 shots on goal in 174 games played. One hundred and one goals gives former NE Rev's Taylor Twellman the average of about three to one compared to Landon Donovan's two and a half to one. New England's former player Steve Ralston was their only player that had statistics making him a league leader in assists over this same time period.
During 1996-2014 many of the Los Angeles Galaxy players have ranked as leaders in the league to show us primarily how their team managed to earn the standings, style of play, and get to the finals of the MLS Cup. The fact that New England is playing regardless of having as many league leaders simply shows that their efforts to reach the MLS Cup have been more equally distributed among their team's players. Consequently, the five-time-playing-for-the-MLS-Cup-winning-team-player, Landon Donovan, may have reached his MLS Cup limit at five.
Team style-of-play development becomes evident when viewing statistics.The yellow cards and red card ejections between 1996 and 2014 have been distributed most generously to Los Angeles where red cards ejected the powerful former player for Los Angeles Galaxy Clint Mathis nine times to lead the league, and former player for Los Angeles Pablo Mastroeini the second highest with eight ejections and 81 yellow cards. New England's former player and current head coach Jay Heaps is listed as a leader in the league over the same period of time with a grand total of 61 yellow cards.
Clearly, Los Angeles Galaxy is a team that takes a lot of shots, fouls often, represents an aggressively powerful style and has thus accomplished a few more recognized players than New England Revolution; yet the Los Angeles style of play may become their very downfall to New England whose style of play will most likely present a more constructive use of their energy, wisely, to try to take control of the ball and precisely take shots on goal.
Hopefully ESPN cameras will be able to capture the play, watching as even the referees have heads turned, in order to evaluate the risk taken when a powerful player's desire to keep the ball becomes an attempt to commit a foul, because fans from New England will be keeping their eyes on the whole game. May Landon Donovan achieve at least a deliberately graceful departure from MLS player to an MLS team management position. Remember the quote of astronaut Mike Mullane,"It bodes very poorly for any team when management needlessly accepts risk and then silently hopes for the best..."
One last comment, in analysis, MLS statistics* may be revised to this fact, goalie save percentage is calculated using the figures from the 2014 regular season as follows: New England Revolution goalie Bobby Shuttleworth has 94 saves from 134 shots and 32 games played making a 70.15 per cent save quotient. Los Angeles Galaxy goalie Jaime Penedo with 81 saves from 114 shots and 29 games played has a 71.05 per cent saves quotient. The playing field is a more equalized than previously thought, as you can see.