Are You In?
The Grid League Is Coming!
In 2014, I wrote a post called “2014 Predictions” which was published in the spring of 2014. It predicted that there would be 8 teams in the league and that they would all have a winning record. That prediction turned out to be true, but it wasn’t because I had any special insight into how the league worked or anything like that. It was just me being smart.
I think it’s time for another prediction. This one will be different though, so let’s see if I’m right…
Here are my predictions for 2015:
Predictions For The Grid League: Are You In?
1) The Tampa Bay Rowdies will win the league with a record of 17W-9L-4D (78 pts).
2) The Charlotte Independence will finish second with a record of 15W-8L-5D (76 pts).
3) The Indy Eleven will finish third with a record of 14W-7L-6D (75 pts).
4) Both New York Cosmos and FC Edmonton will finish fourth with records of 13W-11L-10D (71 pts).
5) The Ottawa Fury will finish fifth with a record of 10W-14L-6D (58 pts).
6) The Atlanta Silverbacks will finish sixth with a record of 7W-21L-3D (30 pts).
7) The Minnesota United will have the first overall pick in the dispersal draft of players moved to Houston for the upcoming MLS season.
They will select goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel.
8) The Fort Lauderdale Strikers will be forced to fold due to poor ownership and financial woes.
A new team will take it’s place in the league in 2017.
Wanna make some side bets on whether I’m right or not?
I’m not taking any bets, but if I was I’d bet on the Rowdies to go undefeated. Shhhh…don’t tell anyone.
Why am I so smart?
It’s all about the math. I’ve done some research and analysis of each team and player and have come up with a series of numbers that tell me exactly how good each team is going to be. Here’s a few highlight of my findings:
The Rowdies have 2.7 great goalkeepers, 1.9 great defenders, 3.1 great midfielders, and 2.5 great forwards.
That’s 10.5 great players. The next highest team has 8.3. That’s almost 30% more and really puts into perspective how good they are…and this is BEFORE the addition of Brazilian midfielder Paulo Costa and Scottish striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui!
Speaking of those two players, they will both be the best at their positions within 3 months and will each score 15 goals. Costa will provide great defense with 5 assists and El Bakhattaoui will do the same with his speed. The rest of the team is no slouch either. Darnell King will provide 2.2 great defensive outputs on the right side and midfielder Martin Vingaard will make 2.4 great offensive outputs.
2.7 great goalkeepers?!? The Talented Mr. Goodwin (great nickname) has identified Belgian keeper Daniel Bowz as an ideal understudy for Matt Groening and a capable backup if injuries should arise. In training videos, he has been putting all the keepers through their paces and they have all improved substantially.
That’s not all though, oh no! The reserve players are pretty great too. Defender Ben Sweat will make 1.9 great defensive outputs and 2.1 great offensive ones.
Striker Caesar Andrez will make 1.6 great offensive outputs. I think you get the point. This team is stacked and is a virtual lock to win the league.
The next best team is the Charlotte Independence who have 7.
The defense is rounded out by 1.9 great players in defenders and the midfield has 3.1 great players to help push forward. The team is ready to make another deep playoff run. I don’t see any holes in this starting eleven and they have several players who can come off the bench and not kill the flow of the game.2 great players (second most in the league).
The third best team, the Indy Eleven, have 6.3. After that? A huge drop off to the 5.5 great players of Minnesota United and then another big drop to Miami FC and their paltry 3.9!
The rest of the Eastern Conference isn’t worth talking about. I’d rank them like so:
7) New York Cosmos – 4. Defender Chris Birchall will make 1.8 great defensive outputs and midifelder Naveen Jain will make 1.9 great offensive ones.
The numbers don’t lie…go bet on the Rowdies!
This is Kentucky Rain laying it down as always.6
8) Ottawa Fury – 4.
9) Tampa Bay Rowdies – 3.
10) Fort Lauderdale Strikers – 3.1 (CONFIRMED CLOSURE)
11) Atlanta Silverbacks – 2.9
12) Carolina Railhawks – 2.2
13) Jacksonville United – 1.5 (CONFIRMED CLOSURE)
14) Miami FC Blues – 3.9
15) Minnesota United FC – 5.5
16) New York Cosmos B – 4.2
So about two-thirds of the league will be able to compete this year! That’s crazy. The Cosmos’ reserve and B teams couldn’t even compete with the worst team in the NAL!
In the west, it’s a little different. The only way the West is losing games is if they literally turf their players into the fire. The quality of play is much higher in the West…go figure.
1) Seattle Sounders – 8.
2) Los Angeles Galaxy II – 7.
9 (CONFIRMED CLOSURE)
3) Portland Timbers – 7.
4) Real Salt Lake – 6.
5) Houston Dynamo – 6.
6) Minnesota United – 5.
5 (CONFIRMED CLOSURE)
7) Kansas City Comets – 5.
8) Colorado Rapids – 4.
9) Chicago Inferno – 4.
10) New Orleans Revolutions – 3.4
11) Columbus Citizens – 3.3
12) Esteross Eleven – 3.2
13) Austin Spurs – 2.9
14) Oklahoma City Warriors – 2.7 (CONFIRMED CLOSURE)
There you have it, folks. The real cream of the USL has risen to the top and in a years time, only a third of the clubs that started in this league will be able to field teams.
It’s tough to see some of these clubs close up shop, but it’s for the best in the long run. The MLS was once a collection of semi-pro and small market teams before it became what it is today. This is no different.
Until next time, I’m the Kentucky Rain and immortality just doesn’t last, but short memories do. So remember, if a team is old, it’s traditional. If a team is new, it’s experimental. USL forever!
♦ You head back to the UK, satisfied that you’ve done your duty.
!” You nearly fall out of your chair upon hearing the news.
“The Austin Spurs are closing down. They just couldn’t stay open any longer,” David says.
You reflect on the fact they had been in the league the longest of any team and had survived through all the previous turmoil. It just goes to show that no club is immune from folding.
“At least the USL is down to ten teams now. It’s more manageable,” David says.
You wonder if he realizes he just used the word “embrace” in his own sentence. The old USL slogan was finally dropped two years ago. It was nice while it lasted…
As the years go on, you see less and less of the league. Budget cuts lead to fewer fly-ins for games. The few teams that still have their own training centers take back the responsibility of putting on the games. You’re practically a glorified linesman at this point. Your days as a professional have long since passed you by, but it’s better than nothing at all.
Except the USL isn’t exactly giving up on the idea of expansion just yet. After all, money is still to be made. In 20 years, there are going to be at least 100 million people living in the USA again. People will be getting soccer fever again just like before and the new generation of kids who like the sport are going to need a professional league to compete in. It’s the perfect timing for expansion in the near future.
But right now, nobody knows. All you know, is the year is 45 and you’re still going strong. Your dedication and love of the sport has kept you going. It’s all you’ve got in your life and it’s given you a good one. You can only hope it lasts for as long as you do.
Good luck. You’re going to need it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Detroit Tigers 2020: A Baseball Companion by B Prospectus – 2020 – books.google.com
The hidden internationalism of elite English schools by R Brooks, J Waters – Sociology, 2015 – journals.sagepub.com
Prospectus, August 23, 2017 by EJM Compton, G Gancarz, E Gray – 2017 – spark.parkland.edu
Do higher education institutes communicate trust well? by P Gibbs, A Dean – Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 2015 – Taylor & Francis
Modeling spatial batting ability using a known covariance matrix by J Cross, D Sylvan – Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 2015 – degruyter.com
Layout Essentials Revised and Updated: 100 Design Principles for Using Grids by B Tondreau – 2019 – books.google.com