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Are playoffs a crapshoot?


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#16
juberish

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But you can't blame bad luck on our losses, 

 

I agree, crapshoot doesn't just mean bad luck, its so much more than that. 



#17
defendyourself

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Luck is obviously involved but the amount of luck you need to win is dependent on the talent level of your squad.  Yes Seattle got hot, but they 1) underachieved first half of season based on their talent level (core won 2014 shield)  2) signed a DP player that significantly increased the talent level of their team.

Issue is that most teams are not able to do enough with the Cap to separate themselves, to the point where the most dominant team in league always goes through.  Seattle is was 4th in the West, but Dallas and Colorado lost two of their best players right before the playoffs, and while Seattle lost Dempsey, Lodeiro helped cancel that out.  Champions League has same format as MLS playoffs basically and the cream usually rises to the top, so its not all the format's fault.  But to position ourselves to get "lucky" we need to continue to work on improving our team, which this offseason all of us can agree that they have not tried hard enough to improve. 



#18
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#19
thoward18

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I am so sick and tired of people who use the "MLS playoffs are a crapshoot so all we have to do is sneak in" nonsense. It's like the all encompassing excuse for incompetence and failure. The guy who came up with that line in regards to playoffs is Billy Beane, and it was largely an excuse to protect his image as a genius despite his team's utter failure in the postseason. So of course whose blueprint are we using?

Lol this is so uninformed for a number of reasons. First of all, Billy Beane's tenure is incredibly successful. The amount of winning he did relative the resources he was (not) provided is astronomical. Once Theo Epstein applied his methods to teams that actually had money to spend, it's not a surprise they won a bunch of championships. Now Billy Beane's methods are pretty much the standard for 95% of MLB teams.

 

Secondly, you have his quote completely backwards. His point wasn't that he just needed to sneak in and then just hope for the best. His point was that it takes 100+ games to see meaningful separation between teams in baseball and that therefore winning a 5 game or 7 game series was going to depend on random chance no matter how good one team was compared to the other. This basic statistical logic can be expressed by easily understood means. The odds of a coin flip are 50/50, and if you do 150 coin flips chances are your results will hover around 50% for each side. But what about if you do just 6 coin flips? it could very well end up 66%/33%. Or even higher. Small sample sizes create random results. 

 

So Billy Beane was right, but in a way that DOES NOT support, "just squeak into the playoffs and that's all that matters." Because while there is random variance in a small sample size, such as a two-leg playoff MLS playoff series, it does NOT mean that it's just an equally distributed lottery. We see this in the Champions League and World Cup. Yes, weird results can happen, but ultimately the teams that advance the farthest tend to be the best ones.

 

To put it in simpler terms: Weird things can happen in the playoffs because it's reliant on small sample sizes to determine who wins a series. But the best teams have the best odds, and therefore we should demand Red Bull build the best team it can instead of just settling for making the playoffs and crossing their fingers.



#20
Rybka

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No they are not a crapshoot. You need to play a different formation suitable to a higher tempo game. Maybe use younger players who can run more. You need to convert pks, and have a gk that can save them. It's a different landscape, you have to adjust.


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#21
thoward18

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I didn't say the "all we have to do is sneak in" part. 

 

Do you disagree, do you not think the playoffs are a crapshoot? Do you have some clear plan on how to improve our performances in the playoffs?

 

What does the evidence show us? If we use real data to back our positions, what does it show? We have had the highest payroll in the league for many seasons in the past - what did that get us? 

 

I'm not arguing against spending, I like DP's and transfer news just like any fan. I just think the situation is more nuanced than is being discussed here. 

The takeaway from them not winning despite spending much wasn't that spending doesn't matter. The takeaway was that they did a poor job of picking how to spend. Replace Marquez and Rost with two elite level DPs who absolutely could have been acquired for the same money and things likely end differently.



#22
gravediGGer

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It's a crapshoot if you play the playoff games like you do any other regular season game. Playoffs are a different format and need a different approach and strategy which we have not done. We're not that good that we can play our game no matter the situation or opponent.


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#23
hurricane1091

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Playoffs are a crapshoot in all leagues. There's a reason bottom seeded teams sometimes win. The Patriots pretty much prove you can try to make it not a crapshoot and get pretty good at winning the entire thing, but even they lose still.



#24
RedBullScouse

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Our substitutions in the 2013 playoff loss to Houston were Peguy (106'), Alexander (75') and Espindola (63') - I do not believe you can say that we had "inexperienced" players coming in off the bench. All of these guys saw good minutes in the regular season. 

 

The whole "running players into the ground" thing does seem to be a popular reason cited for our playoff woes for the last 6 years. But can we dig in and prove this with evidence and data? 

 

REGULAR SEASON STARTS 

2016 Seattle Sounders

Players with 30+ Starts: 4

Players with 20-30 Starts: 4

Players with 10-20 Starts: 5

Players with less than 10 Starts: 7

20 Total Players Started Matches

2 Players Made Sub Appearances and Never Started a Match

Source: https://en.wikipedia...nders_FC_season

 

2013 Red Bulls

Players with 30+ Starts: 4

Players with 20-30 Starts: 6

Players with 10-20 Starts: 4

Players with less than 10 Starts: 9

23 Total Players Started Matches

4 Players Made Sub Appearances and Never Started a Match

Source: https://en.wikipedia...ed_Bulls_season

 

 

Maybe the 2013 Red Bulls actually had more squad rotation than the 2016 Sounders did? 

My "running the players into the ground" comment was specific to 2013.  I don't have time to look at the last 10 or 15 games and count each players minutes, or to compare the ages of the legs, but all of us who watched saw what happened.  


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#25
acesfull86

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Lol this is so uninformed for a number of reasons. First of all, Billy Beane's tenure is incredibly successful. The amount of winning he did relative the resources he was (not) provided is astronomical. Once Theo Epstein applied his methods to teams that actually had money to spend, it's not a surprise they won a bunch of championships. Now Billy Beane's methods are pretty much the standard for 95% of MLB teams.
 
Secondly, you have his quote completely backwards. His point wasn't that he just needed to sneak in and then just hope for the best. His point was that it takes 100+ games to see meaningful separation between teams in baseball and that therefore winning a 5 game or 7 game series was going to depend on random chance no matter how good one team was compared to the other. This basic statistical logic can be expressed by easily understood means. The odds of a coin flip are 50/50, and if you do 150 coin flips chances are your results will hover around 50% for each side. But what about if you do just 6 coin flips? it could very well end up 66%/33%. Or even higher. Small sample sizes create random results. 
 
So Billy Beane was right, but in a way that DOES NOT support, "just squeak into the playoffs and that's all that matters." Because while there is random variance in a small sample size, such as a two-leg playoff MLS playoff series, it does NOT mean that it's just an equally distributed lottery. We see this in the Champions League and World Cup. Yes, weird results can happen, but ultimately the teams that advance the farthest tend to be the best ones.
 
To put it in simpler terms: Weird things can happen in the playoffs because it's reliant on small sample sizes to determine who wins a series. But the best teams have the best odds, and therefore we should demand Red Bull build the best team it can instead of just settling for making the playoffs and crossing their fingers.


+1, great post.

The nature of the game (low scoring), the rules (away goals), and the nature of the league (there just isn't the amount of separation between the best team and the sixth best team in MLS as there is in other domestic and international sports leagues) are all contributing factors.

#26
ivo

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No they are not a crapshoot. You need to play a different formation suitable to a higher tempo game. Maybe use younger players who can run more. You need to convert pks, and have a gk that can save them. It's a different landscape, you have to adjust.

Converting penalties, that's a novel idea. We scored one and missed 3 or 4 last season, which is ridiculous. Have Felipe blast them in every time, I don't trust Sacha or BWP in a pressure situation.



#27
Indyanapolis

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Wait, but how can both things be true? 
 
We already know that having the highest payroll in the league and signing big DPs didn't win us a cup. Our performances over the last two seasons have proved that there is no difference in how our seasons go, whether we have the highest payroll or the lowest. We have one of the best teams in the league already. 
 
What would seem stupid to me, would be trying the same things over and over again and expecting different results. I'm not defending the notion that "we've done nothing to improve" but rather, I'm arguing that the ways we need to improve might not be as simple and direct as signing a DP this winter. 


Both things can be true because you can recognize that playoffs are unpredictable, and still maintain that the FO should be making the team the best it can be.

I want to win a cup. Our team has obvious areas that could be improved, but are not. Will big spending improve our chances? Maybe. Will DPs improve our chances? Maybe. Will going into the regular season with a team that could be easily improved, but wasn't, improve our chances? Nope.

I'm not asking for a return to the TH14 years, I'm asking for the team to at the very least keep pace with the improvement of other teams in the league. We haven't by any stretch of the imagination.

Frankly, since I am merely a fan and a not a fancy American soccer writer, I'm going to congratulate Wright-Phillips on a well hit goal. If I was an American soccer writer, I'd claim that the recently retired Henry was wearing an invisibility cloak and carried the ball into the net for the obviously unskilled Wright-Phillips.


#28
odsum25

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The bottom line is that you don't blow up a good team. And the FO hasn't.

They traded the team captain, but have two young players waiting in the wings who could easily surpass Dax soon. (Possibly even this year.)

#29
juberish

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The takeaway from them not winning despite spending much wasn't that spending doesn't matter. The takeaway was that they did a poor job of picking how to spend. Replace Marquez and Rost with two elite level DPs who absolutely could have been acquired for the same money and things likely end differently.

Rost and Rafa were gone in 2014, we still had the highest payroll. Henry is one of the greatest players in the modern era and was still performing at a really high level. Cahill had an awesome 2013 and then a mediocre 2014... 

 

We won the SS in 2013! Then we kept our really awesome DPs and dropped the crap ones you mentioned... but that didn't work either! You can't reduce this down like it's the same thing as playing Football Manager, it's not easy to put a championship team together. 

 

I think we have a good team and that's objectively verified by reviewing our regular season results. So our decision makers have been trying to put together a good team and spend on the right players, I think we can trust that based on our really really good results... they spent a ton of money previously and now are spending less, but we still have a STACKED team by MLS standards. 

 

 

I think that any argument that asserts that we're not doing enough to be competitive would have to be predicated on a belief that we don't have a competitive team already. That's what I'm challenging. We have a good team already and it seems like everyone just wants signings for the sake of having signings. 



#30
juberish

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 Our team has obvious areas that could be improved, 

 

 

What, like our wide backs? I think it's obvious that our FO disagrees with this opinion and they have faith in the players who EARNED THE BEST GOAL DIFFERENTIAL IN THE LEAGUE LAST SEASON. 






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