I dedicate this post to Otilino Tenorio, who died 4 years ago this week in a car accident at the age of 25. At the time of his death, he was the league leader in goals scored in his home country of Ecuador. It is appropriate that his name lives on at the top of this article, as the article’s focus is about the one thing Otilino did so well. He took our breath away. Never was there ever a player who scored with so much pizazz, beauty and happiness. Paz en tu tumba Otilino, para siempre. We love you and we miss you.
If scoring goals is the way to the heart of the U.S. sports fan, then, most definitely, MLS is not doing a very good job at attracting new fans or making more highlights for SportsCenter. Scoring is attrociously low, making for some boring games.
Obviously, not every match can be a great one, but too many seem lifeless and aloof. There’s not enough of a connection with the fans.
Saturday night’s game that saw D.C. United live up to their reputation was the exception, though. Justice was served for the team who gelled better together and attacked more frequently. It was a great comeback.
It proved a team can overcome a one-goal advantage, but what about a two or three goals advantage. Will there be a comeback from 3 to 0, where a team wins 4-3. Has this ever happened in MLS? These kind of games are so few and far between, it’s a pity the fans can’t get more excitement.
Two seasons ago, the average amount of goals for a regular season game was 2.27, last year the average crept up to 2.79 and this year so far, it has fallen back to 2.36. The average score two seasons ago was 1.61 for the winner and .66 for the loser. Last season, the average was 2.04 to .75 and so far this year it is 1.69 to .67.
There seems to be more emphasis on defense in the playoffs. This is natural. Teams tighten up as they fight for a championship that is closer in sight.
Last year’s playoffs averaged 2.28 goals per game. Winning teams averaged 1.73 goals and losing teams averaged .55 goals.
MLS needs to find a way to be more spottaneous, to give fans more surprises and more bang for their buck. More goals are the solution.