NEW YORK — Numbers don’t always tell the story, but sometimes, the statisticians’ algorithms confirm what many believe intuitively.
On Thursday, the first-ever MLS Castrol Index was released, and New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry topped the chart for the month of April. With three goals and two assists in April, Henry turned in several notable performances as the Red Bulls finished the month 3-1-1.
Rounding out the top 5 in the April MLS Castrol Index are Seattle’s Steve Zakuani, Dallas’s David Ferreira, LA’s Omar Gonzalez, and Vancouver’s Atiba Harris. The high rankings of Zakuani and Ferreira, both of whom suffered long-term injuries in recent weeks, shows just how important they were to their clubs.
WATCH: Henry is #1
Other notable names appear perhaps farther down the list than expected. MLS’ leading scorer Charlie Davies from D.C. United comes in at #42, LA’s Landon Donovan at #104, and San Jose striker and 2010 Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski at #64.
This is due to the fact that the Castrol Index looks at more than just scoring to rank player performance. Castrol, an official sponsor of MLS, employs a team of performance analysts who track players’ actions, logging on average 1,800 player movements per match, and assessing whether each movement has a positive or negative impact on a team’s chances of scoring or conceding a goal. The analysts then crunch the data to render the final numerical ranking.
The Castrol Index was originally launched for the Euro 2008 tournament. It was expanded for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is now used to rank player performances in the top leagues in England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France, as well as the UEFA Champions League.
“Castrol has a long-standing relationship with soccer throughout the world and we are extremely excited to bring this technology to Major League Soccer,” said Tracy Drelich-Knauer, associate promotions and sponsorship manager. “The Castrol Index builds on our more than 100 years of technology leadership.”
The MLS Castrol Index will be updated in the first week of each month.
Click here for more information on the MLS Castrol Index.