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Minutes Lost in the Offseason Due to Player Movement

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As usual it is past midnight and I am finding it hard to sleep so I boot-up my computer and start looking at all the soccer related websites I frequent the most and stumbled across this thread. The thread talks about the offseason moves of each team and how many minutes each player who is no longer on the team contributed during the 2011 season. The major caveat to this thread and this post is that changes in soccer are sometimes a little easier to overcome, if the player is on the wing or even a goalie, and sometimes harder if the changes come in spine, i.e. a CB, a CM or Striker. So just looking at the numbers will never tell you the whole story but it does give indications of what might happen.

Thinking about changes to a teams roster logically most of us would come to the conclusion that if a team makes a lot of changes and has a lot of contributors leave the team that particular team might be in for a rough patch in the beginning of the year as that team integrates the newer additions. Just look at an expansion side for how long it takes newer players to get used to playing with each other. Despite the logic sports are rarely that logical and the numbers I came up with are interesting but without names attached they tend to be more meaningless than meaningful.

Check out the data after the jump:

First I totaled up all the minutes lost for each team, or used the threads data if they already had it posted (By the way I am ryan1980 in the thread so I shared the data on that thread too) and this is the data I ended up with:

Team Players Minutes Lost
SSFC 12 12,711
CUSA 14 11,792
CLB 8 11,408
PHI 7 10,739
VAN 13 8,135
DCU 10 8,058
RBNY 12 7,786
NER 10 7,622
TFC 11 6,674
RSL 7 6,666
SKC 9 5,874
SJ 7 5,840
DAL 7 5,637
LAG 8 5,567
HOU 5 3,947
COL 5 3,776
CHI 7 3,674
PTFC 6 3,597

What is most interesting is that the Seattle Sounders really lose a lot of minutes but is spread out among quite a bit of players. The loss of Keller was a huge amount of minutes, he had 3900 minutes, but even without Keller they still lost 8811 minutes from 11 players. It will be interesting to see Seattle can gel quickly or if they will go through a rough start.

Even with Seattle having such a large number I think the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew are the biggest candidates for a rough first half of 2012. Just look at the average number of minutes lost per player vs total minutes lost:

Team Players Minutes Lost Avg per player
SSFC 12 12,711 1,059.25
CUSA 14 11,792 842.29
CLB 8 11,408 1,426.00
PHI 7 10,739 1,534.14
VAN 13 8,135 625.77
DCU 10 8,058 805.80
RBNY 12 7,786 648.83
NER 10 7,622 762.20
TFC 11 6,674 606.73
RSL 7 6,666 952.29
SKC 9 5,874 652.67
SJ 7 5,840 834.29
DAL 7 5,637 805.29
LAG 8 5,567 695.88
HOU 5 3,947 789.40
COL 5 3,776 755.20
CHI 7 3,674 524.86
PTFC 6 3,597 599.50

By averaging the number of minutes lost Philly and Columbus jump way ahead of everyone else. I am still not sure what Nowak is thinking because not only did they get rid of a significant amount of minutes but they got younger for the most part and are relying on some unproven players. Columbus looks like they are revamping their offense as most of their minutes lost come from offensive players like Robbie Rogers (2000+ minutes). Both club's off-season show that they both could possibly have a large drop off in productivity in the early stages of 2012.

Now if you look at the other end of the spectrum you see our beloved Portland Timbers and a few other teams. The biggest loss for the Timbers was Kenny Cooper with 2790 minutes and the next biggest loss being Ryan Pore with 200 minutes. This bodes well for how fast Portland could start and another reason why Portland is enjoying a great pre-season.

Even when the minutes lost is averaged per player Portland is the second lowest in the league. If assumptions hold true the Portland can easily maintain it's second half form from last year which would put them in the top 5 of the Western Conference. Portland traded away 1 major contributor with 2790 minutes and added 3 in Kris Boyd, Franck Songo'o and Hanyer Mosquera which makes me even more excited for the 2012 season.

Portland definitely looks poised to have a play-off run on paper and in the numbers.