Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Exploding From the Blocks

I've been doing a little MLS stat-nerding lately, so you will be getting a short series of posts to that effect. I actually meant to get this first one up on Friday, but it's been crazy around here - work stuff, visiting animals to look after, visiting humans to show around, middle of the night Blues games recklessly juggling my sleep schedule, etc.

But here we are, finally. And how did we get here? Well, I've been marveling at the instant domination offered by new Toronto FC playmaking stud Alejandro Pozuelo, and in his fifth game, was nearly as impressed when Portland became the first MLS club to keep the Reds #10 off the score sheet.

So I wondered: Had anyone in league history bettered the stunning four-goal, five-assist output he produced over his first five games? As it turns out, no.

Crew mainstay Federico Higuaín is the only other player in MLS history to have notched nine official goal participations during his first five league appearances. And since we kinda have to give goals a little more juice than assists, I'm hereby ready to proclaim that Pozuelo authored the most offensively prolific five-game start in the league's 24 seasons.

All in all, there have been 13 players who managed at least five goals/assists over that hello span. The funny thing is, eight of those introductory runs have happened since the start of the 2015 season. I suppose those old-timers took their sweet time to blow up (the only guys with debuts preceding Pineda Chacón's 2001 bust-out that came close were Preki and Carlos Valderrama, who each chalked up two goals and two helpers in their first five MLS games).

9 - Alejandro Pozuelo 4g, 5a
(tie) Federico Higuaín 3g, 6a

8 -  Diego Rossi 4g, 4a

6 - Carlos Ruiz 6g, 0a
(tie) Josef Martinez 6g, 0a
       Didier Drogba 5g, 1a
       Carlos Vela 4g, 2a
       Nicolás Lodeiro 2g, 4a

5 - Alex Pineda Chacón 5g, 0a
(tie) Charlie Davies 5g, 0a
        Ignacio Piatti 4g, 1a
        Sebastian Giovinco 3g, 2a
        Miguel Almirón 2g, 3a



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Tomorrow, just in time for the start of another batch, we're going to talk double game weeks. Which clubs love 'em and which hate 'em? You'll soon see.




- Greg Seltzer

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