CARSON, CA - JUNE 01: Again? Well, it was just an honor to be nominated (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
It's been more than a month since the last update, so on the recommendation of The Goat Parade member PocketKKings, let's update the statistics tracking points per start for Chivas USA defenders. Basically, I look at the points Chivas' defenders have earned per start, rather than per appearance, because defenders are more likely to play a full 90 minutes and it demonstrates who is being favored in the lineup. With the Goats' fortunes heading south in recent weeks, have the rankings changed? Is Zarek Valentin still on top of the rankings?
If you want to refresh your memory, take a look at the last update, from August 9.
And here's the team's record to this point in the season, to provide a baseline: 29 matches. Record: 7-12-10. Points: 31. Points per match: 1.07
The defenders who performed the best, in descending order, based on points per start:
Zarek Valentin: Started 22 matches. Record: 7-7-8; Points: 29; Points per start: 1.32
Andrew Boyens: Started 7 matches: Record: 2-2-3; Points: 9; Points per start: 1.29
Michael Lahoud (as defender): Started 15 matches. Record: 4-5-6; Points: 18; Points per start: 1.20
Heath Pearce: Started 27 matches. Record: 7-10-10; Points: 31; Points per start: 1.15
Michael Umana: Started 18 matches. Record: 4-8-6; Points: 18; Points per start: 1
Ante Jazic: Started 23 matches. Record: 5-11-7; Points: 22; Points per start: 0.96
David Junior Lopes: Started 2 matches. Record: 0-2-0; Points: 0; Points per start: 0
Jimmy Conrad: Started 2 matches. Record: 0-2-0; Points: 0; Points per start: 0
So Valentin leads the list yet again, making it a clean sweep so far. But below him, there has been a lot of movement. Here were the rankings from last time:
Valentin: 1.42 PPS
Umana: 1.33 PPS
Boyens: 1.29 PPS
Pearce: 1.26 PPS
Lahoud: 1.25 PPS
Jazic: 1.18 PPS
Conrad: 0 PPS
The biggest drop between those two lists? Umana, the resident whipping boy. While he performed ahead of the team's average in the last update, his average and ranking relative to his fellow defenders has plummeted. Meanwhile, for Boyens, his return is looking better. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I really can't understand why Robin Fraser favors Umana over Boyens, and this time around, the statistic backs me up.
Meanwhile, Jazic continues to hover near the bottom of the rankings. I am surprised by this, because he rarely looks to be directly at fault for goals conceded, and he has a lot of experience. Plus, he's contributed 6 assists, by far the most offensive contribution from the defense, but he does not seem to help get the team points as much as his teammates.
Pearce is 4th in the current rankings, but he is ahead of the average after missing the last two starts with injury. Despite being 4th, he is an automatic start when available and the defense has looked completely lost without him. Lahoud is in 3rd, but he's been the first backup full back on the season, and has played well in that role. Despite ranking ahead of Jazic, he does not look as steady as Jazic. Lahoud has the most speed on the defense, but his awareness and positioning are suspect, so his advantages and disadvantages probably cancel out.
Finally, Conrad's stats will not be changing, as he has officially retired since the last update, while Lopes starts out at the bottom in the rankings. Lopes has looked very poor so far, but he needs time to adjust to MLS and I think if he had Pearce as a partner in central defense he would get some help getting caught up. But he hasn't had that so far, and he hasn't performed very well. But if he gets a start Wednesday, maybe he can get his feet under him a bit more, and maybe he can show Chivas fans why the team picked him up. We'll see how it goes.
What do you think? Are you surprised by the rankings? Who should be starting for the Goats? Leave a comment below!