Initial Analysis of 2014 USL-Pro Schedule

“back-to-back” means that a team plays games on consecutive days
“two-games-in-three-days” means that a team has one day to rest/travel between games
“mid-week” means Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

Rochester Rhinos plays 2 sets of back-to-back:
at Charleston and at Charlotte, August 15 and 16
at Richmond and at Wilmington, May 2 and 3
and 2 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
against Richmond and at Dayton, May 30 and June 1
against Dayton and at Oklahoma City, June 20 and June 22
*1 mid-week match

Charleston Battery plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Pittsburgh and at Rochester, April 26 and 27;
and 3 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Harrisburg and at Dayton, May 2 and 4;
at Rochester and at Montreal Impact Reserves, August 1 and 3;
against Los Angeles and against Rochester, August 13 and 15;
*8 matches in August
*August 24, 27, 30 makes for 3 matches in less than a week at OKC, at Sacramento and against Pitt
*2 mid-week matches

Charlotte Eagles plays 2 sets of back-to-back:
against Chicago Fire Reserves and at Wilmington, April 25 and 26;
at Harrisburg and at Rochester, June 27 and 28;
and 4 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Phoenix and at LAG II, May 3 and 5
at Charleston and against Sacramento, July 12 and 14;
at Pittsburgh and at Dayton, July 17 and 19;
against Wilmington and at Montreal Impact Reserves, July 26 and 28;
*7 matches in July, only one of which isn’t part of a 2-in-3 series
*May 8 at Los Angeles makes for 3 games within a week
*4 mid-week matches

Dayton Dutch Lions plays 2 sets of back-to-back matches:
at Los Angeles and at LAG II, June 7 and 8;
at Charleston and at Wilmington, August 8 and 9;
and 1 set of two-games-in-three-days:
at Rochester and against Dayton, June 20 and 22;
*7 matches in June
*June 7, 8, 11 (at Phoenix) makes for 3 matches in less than a week
*2 mid-week matches

Harrisburg City Islanders plays 2 sets of back-to-back matches:
against Richmond and at Pittsburgh, May 31 and June 1;
at Charleston and at Charlotte, September 5 and 6;
and 1 set of two games in three days:
at Los Angeles and at Sacramento, April 24 and 26.
*5 mid-week matches

Oklahoma City Energy FC plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Wilmington and at Charlotte, June 6 and 7;
and 5 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Los Angeles and at LAG II, April 5 and 7;
against Phoenix and against LAG II, July 17 and 19;
against Phoenix and against LAG II, August 14 and 16;
against Phoenix and at Oklahoma City, August 22 and 24;
at Sacramento and at Los Angeles; September 4 and 6.
*5 mid-week matches

Orlando City plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Pittsburgh and at Rochester, May 9 and 10;
and 0 sets of two-games-in-three-days.
*7 mid-week matches

LA Galaxy II plays 0 sets of back-to-back matches:
and plays 1 set of two-games-in-three-days:
at Phoenix and at Los Angeles, April 25 and 27;
*the claim that the league needs to congest the schedule and put players’ health at risk in order to drive down travel costs is laughable in this case. Only giving LAG II one day between playing at Phoenix and playing at Los Angeles has nothing to do with travel costs as the team would have returned to Los Angeles after the Phoenix match anyway.
*2 mid-week matches
*June 8 (v Dayton), 11 (v Rochester), 14 (at Charleston) makes for 3 matches in less than one week

Los Angeles Blues plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Pittsburgh and at Rochester, August 8 and 9;
and plays 2 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
against Charlotte and at Oklahoma City, May 8 and 10;
at Orlando and at Charlotte, June 11 and 13;
*4 mid-week matches
*August 8, 9, and 13 (at Charleston) makes for 3 games in less than a week
*The Blues play 7 games in August
*The Blues go 12 days without a match at the end of May

Phoenix FC’s schedule won’t load. But Odeen Domingo has screenshots of each team’s schedule on his recent post that you can read here.
Phoenix FC Wolves plays 1 set of back-to-back games:
at Richmond and at Harrisburg, May 9 and 10;
at Wilmington and at Charleston, July 25 and 26;
and 3 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Sacramento and against Los Angeles, June 26 and 28;
at Oklahoma City and against Los Angeles, July 17 and 19;
at Oklahoma City and against Pittsburgh, August 14 and 16.
*4 mid-week matches

Pittsburgh Riverhounds plays 2 sets of back-to-back matches:
at Wilmington and at Charleston, May 23 and 24;
at Charlotte and at Charleston, August 29 and 30;
and 1 set to two-games-in-three-days:
at RSL Reserves and at Sacramento, July 25 and 27.
*3 mid-week matches

Richmond Kickers plays 2 sets of back-to-back:
at Rochester and at Harrisburg, May 30 and 31;
at Charleston and at Wilmington, June 27 and 28;
and 2 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Oklahoma City and at Chicago Fire Reserves, May 16 and 18;
at Los Angeles and at LAG II, August 30 and September 1;
*Richmond only plays matches on Friday through Monday, no mid-week matches.

Sacramento Republic FC plays 1 set of back-to-back matches:
at Los Angeles Blues and at LA Galaxy II, April 12 and 13;
and 4 sets of two-games-in-three-days:
at Rochester and at Dayton, May 23 and 25;
against Phoenix and at Oklahoma City, June 26 and 28;
at Richmond and at Charlotte, July 12 and 14;
against Oklahoma City and against LA Galaxy II, September 4 and 6.
*3 games in less than a week: July 12, at Richmond; July 14, at Charlotte; July 17 against Orlando
*5 mid-week matches

Wilmington Hammerheads FC plays 3 sets of back-to-back matches:
at Harrisburg and at Rochester, July 18 and 19;
against Phoenix and at Charlotte, July 25 and 26;
at Los Angeles and at LAG II, August 23 and 24;
and 2 sets of two-games-in-three-days which is actually 3 games in 5 days:
against Orlando and at Dayton, September 3 and 5;
at Dayton and at Rochester, September 5 and 7
* ^^ 3 games in 5 days is absurd
*August 20 (at Sac), 23, 24 makes for 3 games in less than a week
*3 mid-week matches

Looking at the 2014 NASL Schedule

For the 2014 season, NASL will continue using its split-season format which mirrors most of the Latin America but is unique to American professional soccer.

Spring season (Apertura):
The 10 clubs participating in NASL in 2014 will play nine matches each during the spring season, which means that some teams host five matches while others only host four. There are serious concerns about the integrity of the competition when the winner of the shortened, uneven spring season will win the right to host the championship match against the winner of the fall season.

During the spring season, all matches are on Saturday or Sunday with the exception of one Monday night football matchup as New York Cosmos host Minnesota United FC on May 12. This match is part of the preceeding weekend’s matchday but was pushed until Monday.

A nearly five-week extended break in between tournaments, in order to accommodate the entire World Cup, starts after Sunday 8 June’s matches and ends with Saturday 12 July’s matches.

Fall season (Clausura):
There will be 10 teams again in the fall season so each weekend will feature 5 matches. In order to squeeze all of league’s matches into a 17 week schedule, each team will play one midweek match on a Wednesday at some point during the fall season.

One anomaly in the scheduling is a Thursday night match that counts as part of the matchday for the weekend that immediate follows. Minnesota United FC hosts Carolina RailHawks on Thursday July 17 for the second matchday of the fall season. Continue reading

My Response to Episode 12 of the First Eleven Podcast

Claim: First Eleven is stuck between having fun and engaging in an honest debate. If the show is a parody or satire or a charade, the hosts should make some more jokes or liven up the pace of the discussion. If the show is an attempt to foster serious debate, the hosts should use some evidence, beyond intuition, to support their arguments.

I think I understand the stated purpose of the First Eleven show. The violin music and the extended introduction imply the tone of a stuffy, high-brow show full of rigorous debate with well-supported arguments. I get that this format is the first half of a joke, but if the show is just a joke then why maintain any semblance of professionalism with regards to editing and production?

Episode 12: January 23, 2014

“OKC is dead and overshadows Indy and Ottawa”: Continue reading

Cuba’s Golden Ball Winner of 2013 – Ariel Martinez

The excerpts were originally published in Spanish by Mario Lara on Fútbol Cubano. The full article can be read in its entirety here.

Cuba’s Golden Ball Winner for 2013: Ariel Martínez

A nuestro entender el jugador espirituano es el mejor jugador del año en Cuba, jugador inteligente, rápido con una gran gambeta y buen disparo con ambas piernas, Ariel se convirtió este año en un jugador vital para sus equipos. Con sus tres goles, de los cuatro en total que marcó Sancti Spíritus, en la Primera Vuelta del Campeonato Nacional, mantuvo las esperanzas yayaberas de clasificar para el Torneo de Clausura hasta la última jornada. Adoptado por el Expreso de Villa Clara se fue abriendo de a poco un paso en el once inicial, hasta convertirse con sus goles y asistencias en el jugador Más Valioso del cuadro Naranja en las semifinales y Finales camino a la obtención de su décimo tercera corona.
Convocado a la selección que participó en la Copa de Oro en Estados Unidos, Ariel fue sin duda de lo más remarcable en los dos primeros partidos de Cuba, en los que sumó una asistencia, antes de su apoteósico desempeño frente al conjunto de Belice encaminando con un triplete (primer cubano en lograr un Hat Trick en dicha competición) el pase de Cuba a los Cuartos de Final del Torneo por segunda vez en su historia.

“In our view, the player from Sancti Spíritus is the year’s best player in Cuba. An intelligent player, fast with a great dribble and a good shot with both feet, Ariel became a vital player for his club and national team this year.

With his three goals, of the four total that FC Sancti Spíritus scored, in the First Round of the National Championship, he sustained the hopes of the yayaberas [people from the region] to quality for the Torneo de Clausura until the last matchday.

Brought in by FC Villa Clara, he slowly stepped up into the starting eleven, until with his goals and assists he became the MVP of the orange squad in the semifinals and finals on the road to lifting its thirteenth crown.

Called up to the national team that participated in the Gold Cup in the United States, Ariel was without doubt the most remarkable player. Notching an assist in the first two games for Cuba, before his tremendous performance against the Belizean contingent routing them with a triple (the first Cuban to score a Hat Trick in this competition) propelling Cuba into the Quarterfinals of the tournament for only the second time in its history.”

Silver Ball: Osvaldo Alonso Continue reading