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The Daily Wave: Castrol Index And The Rapids

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The Rapids have 7 of the top 100 players in MLS! And the team who scores the most goals is undefeated this season! ...Soccer needs more stats.

USA TODAY Sports

I'm always cynically intrigued by the ever-increasing use of metrics and statistics in soccer. My favorite is that the team who scores first wins more often. Duh. I bet that's even true in basketball, and for very different reasons it's meaningless in both sports. Nevertheless, it's one of those stats that gets posted on-screen during games and commented on by announcers, who must be rolling their eyes as they speak.

Now, with the huge business that fantasy sports has become, the race is on to provide meaningful statistics (beyond goals, assists, and goals against) for soccer players. How do you compare the play of individual defenders? Is a terrible defender who scores a goal better than one who helps shut the opposition down? Was Stew Ceus' one-goal game against Dallas in March better than Nick Rimando's two-goal game last weekend? And how do you compare a wide midfielder to a defensive mid? Enter the Castrol Index (among others), who uses some (crazy, I assume) formula to rank every player in the league, regardless of position. Just for fun, here's how the Rapids are ranked this season (league rank, player):

23

Nathan Sturgis

33

Drew Moor

50

Clint Irwin

74

Deshorn Brown

79

Hendry Thomas

86

Edson Buddle

87

Dillon Powers

123

Shane O'Neill

139

Atiba Harris

141

Marvell Wynne

150

Brian Mullan

159

Nick LaBrocca

166

Chris Klute

272

Germán Mera

307

Danny Mwanga

317

Jaime Castrillon

318

Tony Cascio

343

Diego Calderón

348

Martin Rivero

369

Kevin Harbottle

384

Anthony Wallace

385

Jamie Smith

390

Kamani Hill

421

Matt Pickens

434

Steward Ceus

451

Brenton Griffiths

So Nathan Sturgis has been the Rapids' best player. Edson Buddle has been more important than Shane O'Neill and Dillon Powers. And Brian Mullan has had a bigger impact that Chris Klute.

Well, it's an attempt. It's an attempt that inherently shows that you just can't always use metrics in soccer. Not that all stats are meaningless, because of course they're not if they're used by sane people to determine determinable things. But overall rankings of players is never going to work. It does provide good opportunities for laughter and debate though, and that's something.