Here comes another first for Center Holds It: Major League Soccer (MLS) Pre-Season Collective Power Rankings. All I do here is take every single posted power ranking of which I’m aware, add up all the numbers for each given team, and then post the average – plus some other data and commentary. The idea is to divine the collective wisdom on MLS’s 14 teams. Does it work? Don’t know. Never thought of it that way…I just find it interesting.
NOTE: If you compile power rankings yourself, or if you see a set of rankings out there that I’m not using in this poll, PLEASE forward word to me (comments or email – jeffbull71[at]yahoo.com – will do). If they get to me before I post the collective rankings on any given Thursday, I can include them. The guiding principle is, the more the merrier, the more the better, the more the smarter. It’s a cornucopia of wisdom we’re wanting.
OTHER NOTE: Last year, a couple readers joined in by posting rankings in the comments to my power rankings post (like this one, posted today) and that is welcome. I imagine, however, there is some kind of upper limit for what I can process without letting this hobby consume my life. I’ll let you know when I get there. For now, though, fire away…next week, that is…fire away for next week’s edition.
One last thing before getting to the rankings and commentary: the list of pundits. As with last year, some rankings come from individual’s (like me and Luis Bueno’s for Sideline Views), while others grow from on-site collectives (ESPN.com’s and Blue Blooded Journo’s); in other words, we’re dealing with collectives within collectives (and our solar system could be an atom contained in the thumbnail of some giant, etc. etc.).
It being early in the year, this is a small sample – only 7 pundits. But I have faith it will grow as the season progresses. Here’s the list for today (with links embedded, so you can check my math):
Center Holds It (Jeff’s – e.g. mine)
ESPN.com (a collective, even a famous one)
Orlando Sentinel (Brant Parsons, I think)
3rd Degree (Parrish Glover)
Blue Blooded Journo (a collective)
Sideline Views (Luis Bueno)
Soccer By Ives (Ives Galarcep)
Now, to the data: as with last year, I put the teams in order, list their average score, and, in parentheses, I list the most frequent rating awarded to each team. For instance, if three of the seven pundits ranked a given team third and that was the most common ranking for that team, the notation will look like this: “#3 X 3.” In future editions, the previous week’s rankings and averages will be noted for each team.
Got it? Here goes:
1. Houston Dynamo, 1.3 (#1 X 5)
2. DC United, 1.9 (#2 X 4)
3. Chivas USA, 3.3 (#3 X 4)
4. New England Revolution, 4.0 (#4 X 3)
5. Chicago Fire, 5.9 (#6 X 3)
6. Kansas City Wizards, 6.1 (#5 X 3)
7. FC Dallas, 7.0 (#6 X 3; #8 X 3)
8. Red Bull New York, 7.4 (#8 X 3)
9/10. Los Angeles Galaxy, 9.6 (#9 X 3)
9/10. Colorado Rapids, 9.6 (#9 X 2; #10 X 2; #11 X 2)
11. Real Salt Lake, 11.0 (#12 X 3)
12. Columbus Crew, 11.1 (#11 X 3)
13. Toronto FC, 13.3 (#13 X 3; #14 X 3)
14. San Jose Earthquakes, 13.6 (#14 X 4)
– One of my favorite things about combing through the rankings comes with finding the outlier selections each pundit makes: for example, Luis Bueno’s #7 ranking for Colorado or 3rd Degree’s #6 for LA. Both picks look so far outside general perceptions that you wonder what that person is seeing that everyone else is not. And I’m not fronting on either pundit: my #9 for RSL reads a little wacky too.
– If nothing else, those figures reveal a pundit’s biases.
– One other caveat: Bueno saw Chivas’ rise in 2007 weeks before anyone else. That’s to say, the weird picks aren’t always wrong…just more often than not.
– As for the numbers themselves, Chicago is the only one that really catches my eye. Fifth overall for a team with all that chaos? For what it’s worth, the small sample in play allows 3rd Degree’s #4 ranking and ESPN.com’s #5 to impact the 6’s and 7’s from everyone else. Still, interesting. And it’s not like I didn’t put them in the playoff picture. That said, the 1.9 that separates them from New England says a little something as well.
– The expansion team did, in fact, come in last. Sorry, San Jose.
Back with more later…not of this, but something else.