This is an update to a previous post, with the signings since late January fully updated. By this point there are 17 different players who earned at least one USL Team of the Week honor in 2018 that have not signed anywhere (or retired). I’ll operate on the assumption that none will be in the Championship this year.
Team of the Year
To begin, let us take a look at last year’s All-league first and second teams, with their 2019 clubs included.
Four of last year’s all-league players are with MLS – three moving up along with the FC Cincinnati team they were on last year, and Ottawa Fury goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau returning to Montreal Impact after a season-long loan. Hadji Barry and Kyle Bekker will play for clubs in Israel and the Canadian Premier League, respectively.
Among the players staying in the USL Championship, four will play for Nashville SC (three of them signed from other clubs), two each for Charleston, Indy, Pittsburgh, and Sacramento (with Indy’s Thomas Enevoldsen the only signed from a different club), and one each for Louisville, Orange County, Phoenix, and Seattle.
Team of the Week
(See the previous post for the internal validity – though I’ll contend that the causal relationship could just as easily be in either direction – that TOTW selections are correlated with position in the table).
I’m going to do this slightly different than last time, in addition to updating the data: if an MLS reserve team (or a technically independent team over whom an MLS team has control of technical decisions) “lost” a player to their affiliate, I’ll assume that player or a comparably talented one will be sent down to replace them this year, so I won’t note players with the parent club as “players out.”
|Team||2018 Picks||Out||In||Net||2019 Total|
|Louisville City FC||18||9||2||-7||11|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||11||7||7||0||11|
|Ottawa Fury FC||10||4||3||-1||9|
|Saint Louis FC||10||3||1||-2||8|
|New York Red Bulls II||10||4||0||-4||6|
|Atlanta United 2||5||1||0||-1||4|
|North Carolina FC||12||8||0||-8||4|
|Birmingham Legion FC||–||–||3||+3||3|
|Swope Park Rangers||13||10||0||-10||3|
|Memphis 901 FC||–||–||1||+1||1|
|FC Cincinnati||18||–||–||–||– (MLS)|
|Penn FC||6||–||–||–||– (hiatus)|
|Richmond Kickers||3||–||–||–||– (League One)|
|Toronto FC II||4||–||–||–||– (League One)|
|Sacramento Republic FC||14||5||7||+2||16|
|Phoenix Rising FC||15||5||5||0||15|
|Orange County SC||14||4||1||-3||11|
|Portland Timbers 2||12||3||2||-1||11|
|Reno 1868 FC||13||4||2||-2||11|
|Real Monarchs SLC||15||6||1||-5||10|
|LA Galaxy II||11||3||1||-2||9|
|New Mexico United FC||–||–||7||+7||7|
|OKC Energy FC||5||3||4||+1||6|
|San Antonio FC||15||11||2||-9||6|
|Austin Bold FC||–||–||3||+3||3|
|Colorado Springs Switchbacks||9||6||0||-6||3|
|Rio Grande Valley FC||5||2||0||-2||3|
|Seattle Sounders FC 2||4||2||0||-2||2|
|Tulsa Roughnecks FC||4||4||2||-2||2|
|Las Vegas Lights FC||7||6||0||-6||1|
|El Paso Locomotive FC||–||–||0||0||0|
So let’s apply last year’s lines of best fit, keeping in mind a couple areas in which we’re going to be a little questionable statistically:
- Obviously there are going to be players from last season who aren’t around to make team of the week lists (90 TOTW selections are playing in other leagues, retired, or remain unsigned), and players who made zero teams of the week last year will make plenty in 2019. Something tells me guys coming down from MLS teams, for example, will have their say here.
- I don’t currently have the time and effort to calculate whether Team of the Week selections from one year correlate with those selections the following year (given my suspicions about “pick a player from a team who won,” it might not be that high).
- With a different number of teams, the points won’t line up to last year’s totals. The line of best fit probably also changes year-over-year.
- Especially with MLS2 teams, the assumption that a player of similar caliber will be sent down – if not literally the same guy – is likely not a safe one. Efrain Alvarez, who made four teams of the week last year, won’t be sent down from the Galaxy much, and they won’t be sending a player of his caliber down again.
- While I’m correlating the two here, there’s not necessarily a tight link between good players and team of the week selections: Denso Ulysee made team of the year with zero team of the week honors. And something tells me Matt Pickens and Maxime Crepeau were a little bit better than essentially being replacement-level players.
So with that said…
|Proj. Points||Team||Proj. Points||Team|
Those are rough, rough estimates (something tells me Nashville collecting all but 10 points on the year ain’t happening), but a starting point for recognizing who should be strong on the basis of returning talent.