Crowdsourcing the Western and Eastern Conferences

This past off-season we’ve put a lot of time into the project of obtaining shot data from the 2013 season. We’ve mentioned this before, and I’m sure you keep coming back waiting and expecting it to be here. We hope to release that soon. We are closing in on completing the data set, and once done, the data will be used to create goalkeeping ratings, game states analysis, and many other things that I haven’t yet really mentioned. We (read: Matthias) are all extremely anxious to get started.

But while we are winding down that project and getting ready for the regular season of MLS—and don’t forget NASL—we have a pre-season exercise that we would like to conduct this month. This will be a brief and simple survey that tells us how you think each respective conference will finish after the regular season. This endeavor almost certainly won’t lead to a perfect prediction of the final standings, but hey, maybe it will be close?

Take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6KS3CL6

The intended use is to give a short snapshot of how we all view teams at this stage of the season. Recent outcomes seem to distort perceived notions and ideas that we originally had about something to the point that we’re not sure what we thought prior to the occurrence of that specific event. It would seem our doubt is closely followed and probably facilitated by people claiming that it “wasn’t a surprise that Montreal jumped out to an early lead in the East” or that “you shouldn’t have been shocked to see D.C. United in the cellar.” After something occurs, it’s easy to feel like things were once forgone conclusions, even if beforehand it would have been hard to rationalize a one-dollar bet on that outcome.

Most of the time it’s just an arrogant (and probably ignorant, too) pundit that would choose to speak for the entirety of those that enjoy and follow U.S.-based soccer. But, let me ask you, would you have guessed that the Timbers were going to be the #1 team in the West last year? A team that, despite it’s dedicated following, looked miserable just one season ago. Who would have guessed that LA was nearly a wild card team? Think about the fact that Landon Donovan, who rightfully had been restored to the US Mens National Team roster, was in his best form in years and the Galaxy barely missed the single elimination match to get into the playoffs.

Here is a more current example:

There is no doubt in my mind that Philadelphia Union supporters, the Sons of Ben and Co., believe that they will be a top-3 club in the East. Yet, judging from the incredibly small sample size of the survey I’ve sent out, most don’t believe they’re a playoffs team at this point, and some even believe they are the worst team in the East. I admit that these votes were cast before the announcement of key additions Maurice Edu and Vincent Nogueira, both of whom are primed to make sizable contributions to their new club. But that underlines that fact that maybe we missed something. Maybe there are things that with overlooked in this fast and furious off-season. This is your opportunity to influence things and make your voice heard.

With most major European transfer windows closing this past weekend, the waters of MLS will settle and the rosters will start to set. It doesn’t eliminate the possibility of an impact talent still signing with the league; there are interesting players in leagues that still have windows open.

Regardless, we are starting to gain an idea of the starting line-ups that in turn help us reference the order in which we could see clubs finish, and this gives us our best chance at making an intelligent and informed decision.

The link to the survey is below and will be available from now until the 21st of February. We have a very optimistic level of participation that we’d like to see which means that we’re going to need some help to meet those obscured and honestly, pretty randomly chosen goals. This is the part where we selfishly push this on you as “the only way we can do this.” It’s an old—and maybe a bit contrived—tactic, sure. But the truth is that while we could be satisfied with the anywhere between 100 and as many as 250 unique and steadfast visitors that we have to this site, we won’t be. We need more help.

I’ll assume you have friends or people that would pass-off as such—Google calls them “acquaintances.” I’d also suspect that you have a new-fangled social media option which you prefer. All I would simply ask is that you take this survey and then share it with others. Whether you love your Twitter like a new-born baby, or shun it as you should Eddie Johnson, tweet this baby out.  The more voices that we hear, the better the picture becomes, and the less probable it is that some idiot just comes and nukes your favorite team just because he’s a supporter from an opposing club.

Take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6KS3CL6

*Please bare in mind you only get one vote. Just one. Use it wisely.

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