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Regular Games Missed

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Dejan Jakovic is one of many DC United players to be missing in action this season
Dejan Jakovic is one of many DC United players to be missing in action this season

In General Manager Dave Kasper's interview with the Soccer Insider earlier this week, he made some comments that were very unpopular among fans.  Including the cliche "we're not an 0-4 team" and "It's tough to miss the guys we are missing right now".  The general theme of his conversation seemed to be that yes, obviously management is disappointed with the start.  But that they are not willing to take responsibility for the team's awful record, instead choosing to blame this harsh string of injuries.

My initial reaction, along with most of the other commenters on that thread, was frustration that the front office seems to have no idea that we're not actually a very good team.  While the injuries obviously haven't helped, I think most of us fans think that United have performed so poorly this year because they are undermanned for other reasons.  Because they lost their top playmaker and top scorer and failed to replace either of them.  And while we were off recruiting players who had already retired, our competition was busy acquiring standouts like Ryan Smith and Roger Torres.

But then I got to thinking that maybe we're all being too hard on Kasper for this lack of quality additions.  Maybe we should give more credence to this injury issue being the root cause of our problems afterall.

As a way to keep track of our injury problem, I'm unleashing a new stat called Regular Games Missed.  And by regular, I mean regular players who would otherwise be major contributors if not for injury.  So to clarify, Marc Burch's injury will show up in this stat because he would have been expected to see action in most matches when healthy.  But Andrew Quinn's injury doesn't affect this stat because he's not a regular contributor.

So how does DC United stack up in terms of Regular Games Missed?  It would be a pretty big project to track this for the entire league, but we'll take a look at United specifically after the break.

The abbreviations here are Games Available (GA), Games Played (GP), and of course Regular Games Missed (RGM).

Player GA GP RGM
Brandon Barklage 3 2 1
Marc Burch 0 0 4
Dejan Jakovic 3 3 1
Devon McTavish 1 1 3
Andy Najar 3 3 1
Bryan Namoff 0 0 4
Juan Manuel Pena 2 2 1
Clyde Simms 1 1 3
TOTAL     18

What does this tell us?  Hmm...  Well an RGM of 18 when the season is only 4 games old doesn't sound very good.  It's probably the worst number of any team in the league.

But if you look closer, there really aren't many all stars on this list.  The best player to have missed time is Bryan Namoff, but everyone in the organization knew about his long-term injury far before the start of the season.

This chart might help explain why we've given up more goals than any other team in the league, although a lot of that probably has to do with Troy Perkins' underwhelming performance too.  But what the chart does not explain is why we have only averaged 0.5 goals per game.  Absent from this list are our offensive stars Santino Quaranta, Chris Pontius, Jaime Moreno, Danny Allsopp, and Christian Castillo.  They've been healthy and available for every match of the season.  And have still managed to only score against an expansion team.  That's a big problem.

And it's a problem that won't be getting any better any time soon.