Onyewu Ranked Worst Player at Confederations Cup

The Casterol Index is a system that FIFA plans on using in the World Cup to get an objective rating of how the actions of each player on the field affect the score.  For each action a player takes, the Casterol Index assigns it a value based on a variety of factors, including where it happens on the field.

With the exception of Dempsey, Donovan, and Bradley, the Casterol Index was not kind to U.S. players throughout the tournament.  In fact, the Casterol Index concluded that Tim Howard had a better game against Egypt (when he sat) than he did against either Italy or Brazil.  But now the final numbers are out and they look a little better for the team.

You can see the full rankings at fifa.com.  Here are some highlights:

Overall:  Clint Dempsey — 9.01  (2d Overall, to Lucio (BRA))

Goalkeepers:  Tim Howard — 5.88 (2d Keeper)

Defenders:  Carlos Bocanegra — 4.44 (26th of 34);  Jonathan Spector — 3.92 (29th of 34);  Jay DeMerit — 3.82 (30th of 34); Jonathan Bornstein — 3.46 (32d of 34); and in the shocker of the tournament Oguchi Onyewu — 3.14 (34th/34) (88th of 88 overall).

Midfielders:  Dempsey — 9.01 (1st of 32);  Michael Bradley — 7.65 (4th of 32);  Benny Feilhaber — 5.46 (26th/32);  Ricardo Clark — 4.75 (31st of32)

Forwards:  Landon Donovan — 8.37 (3d of 14);  Charlie Davies — 5.35 (10th of 14);  Jozy Altidore — 4.73 (13th of 14)

 

UPDATE:  For an in-depth look at Onyewu’s stats and an analysis of the role various statistics play in defenders’ Casterol Index ratings, check out our follow-up story on Onyewu here.

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  1. Ryan Noel
    June 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Have you looked into what, exactly, those rankings are based off?

    Personally, I thought it was ludicrous that Dempsey was ranked so high, while Gooch was ranked so low.

    In fact, the case could be made that Gooch, Spector, and DeMerit were the 3 best defenders in the tournament.

    • Michael
      June 29, 2009 at 12:57 pm

      I have tried, but there isn’t much detail available.

      From the video demonstration, http://www.fifa.com/confederationscup/statistics/castrolindex/faq.html , it looks like it’s a little more simplistic than it lets on. Note, for example, that it shows itself registering scores on a long pass for the passing and receiving players but not for the defenders.

      But even if it fudged it and used defensive statistics, Gooch did very well: 2d in tackles (11), 3d in tackles gaining possession (5); 1st in clearances; 2d in balls recovered (14), tied for 1st in clearances completed. Perhaps his 7 fouls committed hurt him, but he wasn’t near the lead in the category. My best guess is that Gooch was most hurt by his passing: both his passing % (65% overall and only 57% on short passes) and the location where he made/received his passes (65 of 136 on our half of the field — if you only connect on 65% of those, I suspect that the computer will register that you’ve given the ball away in a dangerous place for your team.)

      Dempsey’s goals and his status as the American player who most often fed the ball to the forwards prior to the Final (haven’t check post-Final stats on this), meant that passes he completed would be in ‘better’ places. And if you believe that Dempsey wasn’t getting back enough on defense, then he wouldn’t be in front of Howard and therefore any turnovers would (in theory) be less costly.

      I’ll do a quick comparison of Gooch and the ‘best’ defender and post what I find.

  2. Michael
    June 29, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    The more I think about it, the simple answer is probably the scaling. The intro video says that it is about how players affect their team’s chances of scoring or conceding a goal.

    So there’s the argument that Onyewu spent so much time bunkered down (by design, no fault of his own) that few of his actions increased the chance of the U.S. scoring. But when you’re a defender any mistake increases your team’s chance of conceding a goal. Which would mean that Gooch wasn’t earning many positive points but gradually lost points for little things here and there.

  3. Michael
    June 29, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    It also probably doesn’t help that the US conceded 9 goals (last in the tournament) but scored 8 (3d in the tournament). If you ridiculously oversimplified things, our offensive players were 3d best in the tournament and our defensive players the worst. Of course, we all know that’s not true.

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