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Fit to be tied: Number of draws skyrocketing in MLS

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Forget about the power rankings. Parity is the word.

If you are betting on MLS games, and aren’t putting money on draws, you aren’t looking at the stats.

The combined record of MLS teams this season is 78-78-100. Of the 128 games played this season, 50 have ended in ties.

Last season, there were 58 draws. Total. We are already at 50, and we’re not close to the halfway mark of the season yet.

Toronto FC had eight draws all of last season, and already have nine this year. The Vancouver Whitecaps have drawn eight of their 15 matches — more than half.

Yes, addition of two new teams, which has added games to the schedule, can account for a few of the ties. But not like this.

If the trend continues, we can expect to see a logjam in the standings, where we could see a large number of teams in contention for the final playoff spaces on the last weekend of the regular season.

MLS has only two teams, the San Jose Earthquakes and the New York Red Bulls, who averages as much a 1.5 goals per game (NY has scored 21 times in 14 games, an average of exactly 1.5).

Three teams — Columbus, Toronto FC and the New England Revolution, are averaging one goal a game or less.

The stats tell us that there have been far too many draws that are of the variety of Wednesday’s paralyzingly dull 0-0 between New England and Toronto FC. Shouldn’t have been a surprise, as both teams average less than a goal per game.

No, not all draws are as bad as that game, which, for the safety of the general viewing public, should be purged from any hard drive in which it’s being saved at the moment. PVR it at your own peril.

Vancouver’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Seattle on Saturday, which saw numerous scoring efforts, a great atmosphere and a wonder goal from Eric Hassli, was great entertainment, as was Alan Gordon’s two-goal night Saturday as TFC came back twice to earn a 2-2 result against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

But we’ve seen too many cautious games. And, while the salary cap is integral to the success of MLS and we’d all cry if the league went back to shootouts to decide games, this is something the competition committee must address.

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One Comment

  1. DeeRexBox

    June 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Why is it a big deal that there are draws? That’s the nature of football…thats the way it goes. We see it in the biggest and smallest leagues in the world…sometimes the winner of the league has less points than the winner did the previous year, primarily b/c of draws. Cough, ManU, Cough. As a fan of English/German football for a long-time, the MLS is finally starting to gain my attention and this isn’t something that would deter me from watching. There is a LOT of class beginning to develop in America and I can’t wait to see it continue.

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