VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 16: Omar Salgado #17 of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC out jumps Andrew Boyens #2 of the Chivas USA to get his head on the ball during the second half in MLS action on April 16, 2011 at Empire Field in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Although I assume most folks want to look forward to 2012 instead of dwelling on the ultimate disappointment that was Chivas USA's 2011 season, I thought it would be useful to update and provide final statistics on points per start for Chivas' defenders. The last time we posted an update, it was mid-September, when Chivas were limping to the finish and only a sliver of hope of miraculously making the postseason. The leader in that last update? Zarek Valentin. Coming in second place? Andrew Boyens. Ouch, this might be more painful than first anticipated. At any rate, let's see who led the line for the Goats from the back in 2011.
Here was the final record for Chivas in 2011, to provide a baseline for the defenders: 34 matches. Record: 8-14-12. Points: 36. Points per match: 1.06
The defenders who performed the best, in descending order, based on points per start:
Andrew Boyens: Started 10 matches. Record: 3-3-4; Points: 13; Points per start: 1.3
Zarek Valentin: Started 24 matches. Record: 7-9-8; Points: 29; Points per start:1.21
Michael Lahoud (as defender): Started 16 matches. Record: 4-6-6; Points: 18; Points per start: 1.2
Heath Pearce: Started 29 matches. Record: 7-11-11. Points: 32; Points per start: 1.1
Michael Umana: Started 21 matches. Record: 5-8-8. Points: 23; Points per start: 1.1
Ante Jazic: Started 28 matches. Record: 6-13-9; Points: 27; Points per start: 0.96
David Junior Lopes: Started 7 matches. Record: 1-4-2; Points: 5; Points per start: 0.71
Jimmy Conrad: Started 2 matches. Record: 0-2-0; Points: 0; Points per start: 0
In the end, only one major change took place: Boyens leapfrogged Valentin and took the top slot for the season. Unfortunately for Chivas' fans, it was announced that he signed with the LA Galaxy today by Nick Green on his website. Of the defenders who finished above the team's baseline of 1.06, Michael Lahoud and Heath Pearce are still on the squad heading into 2012. Jazic somewhat surprisingly finished the season under the baseline, which detracts from the case that he had a career year that included seven assists, but I think you could project that he would have started more games if it wasn't for a leg injury he suffered that caused him to miss some time. Still, along with Lopes, two of the four returning defenders were below the baseline, and earned under a point per start. Again, Chivas as a team earned just over a point per match, but still cause for concern. It is also worth mentioning from a statistical perspective that Boyens, Lopes and Conrad each started less than a third of Chivas' league matches, so the sample size is pretty small. At least the two defenders with the most starts, Pearce and Jazic, are returning in 2011.
So what do you think of these stats? Helpful? Not so much? Surprising in any way? Leave a comment below!