clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Carryover Minutes: Fire sign Schweinsteiger, hurt 2017 MLS Cup chances

Men in Red hope Bastian’s quality overcomes inevitable adjustment period

AS Saint-Etienne v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

If you read my colleague James Bridget Gordon's take on the Chicago Fire's blockbuster signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger, you would have read this closing statement.

I'm sorry to report that I've got a bucket of water, it's been sitting outside during a Chicago winter evening, and I'm raising it high in the air.

MLS roster history suggests that the Chicago Fire have decreased their odds of winning the MLS Cup by signing German International Superstar Bastian Schweinsteiger.

MLS Carryover Minutes Percentage (CMP) reveals that 8 out of the last 10 MLS Cup Champions produced a CMP between 73.22 and 81.56. The outliers are Real Salt Lake in 2009 with a CMP of 93.97 and the Colorado Rapids in 2010 with a CMP of 67.51. It’s early in 2017 but three games also represents about 9% of the season. Let’s dive in.

2017 Chicago Fire Carryover Minutes

Carryover Player Mins Non-Carryover Player Mins
Carryover Player Mins Non-Carryover Player Mins
Michael Harrington 270 Jorge Rodrigo Bava 270
David Accam 270 Dax McCarty 270
Joao Meira 270 Nemanja Nikolic 253
Brandon Vincent 270 Juninho 180
Johan Kappelhof 270 Brandt Bronico 29
Michael de Leeuw 179 Djordje Mihailovic 1
Arturo Alvarez 159 Non-Carryover Minutes 1003
Luis Solignac 102
John Goossens 89
Jonathan Campbell 75
Drew Conner 12
David Arshakyan 1
Carryover Minutes 1967
Carryover Minutes Percentage 66.23%

For fun, let’s extrapolate these numbers across a full season with no sophisticated judgement on new substitutes or player rotations. I’m having so much fun that I’m going to pretend Brandon Vincent didn’t pick up a red card this past Saturday.

Extrapolated 2017 Chicago Fire Carryover Minutes

Carryover Player Mins Non-Carryover Player Mins
Carryover Player Mins Non-Carryover Player Mins
Michael Harrington 3060 Jorge Rodrigo Bava 3060
David Accam 3060 Dax McCarty 3060
Joao Meira 3060 Nemanja Nikolic 2867
Brandon Vincent 3060 Juninho 2040
Johan Kappelhof 3060 Brandt Bronico 329
Michael de Leeuw 2029 Djordje Mihailovic 11
Arturo Alvarez 1802 Non-Carryover Minutes 11367
Luis Solignac 1156
John Goossens 1009
Jonathan Campbell 850
Drew Conner 136
David Arshakyan 11
Carryover Minutes 22293
Carryover Minutes Percentage 66.23%

A CMP of 66.23 puts the Fire just outside of the range of the 2010 Colorado Rapids and well out of the range of most of the MLS Champions. The team’s crowded midfield is made up primarily of players that were with other teams in 2016. Chicago’s CMP is too low and I fear Schweinsteiger will bring it even lower.

A healthy Matt Polster should move Michael Harrington out of the lineup but that’s swapping Carryover Minutes for Carryover Minutes. I can’t see Fire Head Coach Veljko Paunovic giving Polster more minutes in the midfield over Juninho, McCarty, or Schweinsteiger but that might be the only move that could bring the Fire’s CMP up into the 70s. It’s unfortunate that the injury to John Goossens also limits Paunovic’s ability to increase CMP. I must note that the Chicago Fire would be in the CMP sweet spot if they would have held onto Sean Johnson instead of opting to bring in a new keeper.

Ending on a Positive Note

The point of CMP is not that you want to get into the sweet spot of percentages as much as you want to create a quality team that can fit into the sweet spot of percentages. I’ll say it right now. The Chicago Fire will not win the 2017 MLS Cup and the signing of Schweinsteiger hurts their chances even more.

However, I feel the signing of Schweinsteiger greatly increases the Fire’s odds of winning the MLS Cup in 2018 if the Fire can keep this core together. The same back line returned this year. They will have time to mesh with goalkeeper Jorge Rodrigo Bava this season. The three-headed midfield monster of Schweinsteiger-Juninho-McCarty will be formidable with Polster playing utility midfield backup. David Accam is David Accam and Nemanja Nikolic looks impressive so far. I give that team a year or two window given their ages but parts can be swapped out over time.

There’s also no reason to tune out 2017 entirely. The Supporters’ Shield winners in 2013, 2014, and 2015 all took home their honors with CMPs of 55.75, 58.62, and 54.92 respectively. Hopefully Fire fans are about to witness a winner in the making building the connections necesarry to rise to the top. Here’s to a fun regular season even I don’t expect the MLS Cup to be in Chicago in December. The Fire just made it much more interesting to watch.