Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sporting KC Best XI - Forwards

Time to finish up Kansas City's Best XI with the forwards. Sporting KC has never really been a high scoring team, if you were to ask MLS followers what type of team KC was most would probably talk in some way about their defense and goalkeeping, not the team's attack (unless it is talking about Preki). Of the eight teams that have played every season of MLS so far, Kansas City is sixth in terms of goals in both league (887 goals) and in all competitions (1065). That being a factor certainly limits the number of players that would make the list. The list for Kansas City fans to vote for included six players on it; Dom Dwyer, Mo Johnston, Kei Kamara, Scott Sealy, Digital Takawira, and Josh Wolff.  I originally didn't think it would be hard until I really started working on it, and then it became difficult.

I have talked about longevity with the club and that being a factor when looking at what players I chose. Here I tried to do the same, but at the same time I don't feel like I can totally ignore someone like Dom Dwyer, who is the highest scoring forward in all competitions in the club's history, despite playing just over 100 games for the club. So I started going further into the stats, in terms of goals in league play the list breaks down like this: Wolff (43), Dwyer (39), Kamara (38), Johnston (31), Sealy and Takawira (28). In all competitions the order of that list does change, Dwyer moves up to first place after his three goals this season to 48, Wolff is second with 46, Kamara third at 41, Johnston fourth at 32, Takawira at 31, and Sealy at 30. On area that people want forwards to contribute is with getting that winning goal in those terms, Kamara and Wolff both had 11 in league play while Dwyer is third with 10, Takawira has eight, Sealy has seven, and Johnston had six. After going through these areas I felt there was one player I could drop from my list that was Sealy who had the fewest goals across all competitions, and had played less than 100 for KC across all competitions.

With the list at five the next area I looked the player's contribution to the team based on the minutes they played. Looking purely at goals, Dwyer leads the way with a goal every 164 minutes in all competition and in league play for Sporting since joining the club. Three of the remaining four scored a goal somewhere between every 200 and 300 minutes, Kamara was at 243 in all competitions, 234 in league, Takawira was at 241 and 243, while Wolff was a goal every 281 minutes in all competitions and 267 in league. Johnston finished last among those stats with a goal every 443 minutes in all competitions and every 406 in league play.  Before I eliminated Johnston though I wanted to take into account the numbers when factoring assists because Johnston had the most among the players, recording 31 in all competitions and 28 in league play. The knocked his numbers almost in half, but he was still well behind the other players. The player who actually got the most help was Takawira whose 20 assists in all competitions and 19 in league play got him very close to Dwyer: Dwyer (143 minutes per goal/assist in all competitions, 139 in league), Takawira (147, 145), Kamara (161, 154), Wolff (170, 166), Johnston (225, 214). At this point, while Johnston certainly should be a club legend some day and I'll never forget his contribution to get Kansas City to the 2000 MLS Cup final I don't think he's one of the Best XI forwards for KC.

With the final four I really couldn't narrow them down any further with anything but personal opinion, in fact it was hard to cut down the final five really. So for the final four I just went with my personal preference and in that case I went with the two highest scorers for Kansas City as forwards, Dwyer and Wolff. The pair consistently was able to find the net regularly for KC and seem set to continue to regularly do it in Dwyer's case. In the end though really any of the final five I could more than make a case for their inclusion in the Best XI.

With that done here is my Sporting KC Best XI:

Dwyer - Wolff
Klein - Arnaud - Preki - Zusi
Zavagnin
Besler - Conrad - Garcia
Nielsen

2 comments:

Sean Curry said...

I've enjoyed the series of articles on Sporting KC best XI. Regarding forwards, My memories of Wolff are long stretches without goals, maybe jaded by his last season with only 2 goals. He really lost it towards the end. I would go with Kei for much of your reasoning plus he averaged 10 goals a season in his full seasons, and had 7 in half a season during his last. Also, Kei was the face of the team and meant much more to the fans. My other difference is Meola in goal for performance with Wizards, internationally, and being the face of the team much like Kei.
Dwyer - Kamara
Klein - Arnaud - Preki - Zusi
Zavagnin
Besler - Conrad - Garcia
Meola

Sean Curry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.