clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is FC Dallas the least disciplined team in MLS?

After picking up a second red card in 8 games, should the fans be worried about Dallas' inability to keep 11 men on the field?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I was talking to a friend last night and a common theme that's come up has been, "Why do Dallas games seem to feature a red card so frequently?" Then he suggested that I take a look into the stats and see what it had to show. So I dove in and took a look and there is a little bit of truth to what he was saying as Dallas games do tend to feature a higher number of red cards being issued, but to my surprise it wasn't FC Dallas that led the way in 2015.

In the table below you'll see a listing of teams and the number of games which that particular team played in that had a red card shown to either side this season. So for example, when Philadelphia's Zach Pfeffer threw an elbow and picked up a red card, that counts as a game which both the Union and Dallas where the game featured a red card. Then the last two columns separate whether the card was issued to their own team or to the opponent.

Team Games Self Opp
CHI 3 0 3
COL 3 1 2
CLB 3 1 2
DCU 1 0 1
FCD 3 2 1
HOU 2 1 1
LAG 0 0 0
MTL 1 1 0
NE 1 1 0
NYC 4 2 2
NYRB 2 0 2
ORL 2 2 0
PHI 3 2 1
POR 0 0 0
RSL 2 2 0
SJ 3 2 1
SEA 3 1 2
SKC 2 1 1
TOR 3 2 1
VAN 5 2 3

Yes, the season is still young but Dallas is currently tied for first (with seven other teams) with two red cards which of course gives the impression that the Hoops are a red card prone team. Then I began digging more into the team's more recent history and compared it to the rest of league and came out with this:

2014 2013 2012 2011 Total Avg
CHI 3 5 5 4 17 4.25
COL 5 4 3 5 17 4.25
CLB 5 2 2 3 12 3
DCU 3 0 3 4 10 2.5
FCD 10 5 6 4 25 6.25
HOU 5 3 1 7 16 4
LAG 2 1 2 4 9 2.25
MTL 6 1 3 10 3.33
NE 2 8 3 10 23 5.75
NYC 0 0
NYRB 3 5 2 5 15 3.75
ORL 0 0
PHI 5 3 5 3 16 4
POR 3 3 2 3 11 2.75
RSL 4 6 4 7 21 5.25
SJ 3 7 5 5 20 5
SEA 3 10 4 2 19 4.75
SKC 6 1 3 8 18 4.5
TOR 7 6 2 4 19 4.75
VAN 3 1 3 5 12 3

*NYC and ORL do not have any data as they are current expansion teams and MTL is missing 2011 data because they were not part of MLS yet.

But as you probably quickly saw is how troubling this trend has been for the club. Dallas has led the league in red cards twice in the last four seasons, picking up the most cards during that four year stretch and have averaged 6.25 red cards per season.

I couldn't find a correlation between red cards and Supporter's Shield winners during this four year window, but it was interesting that the team with the most MLS Cups, LA Galaxy (3), also has the fewest red cards as well. There's probably nothing to make of it, but I did just find that interesting.

But perhaps the most fascinating piece of information had to be the 2013 DC United team which managed to finish the season dead last on just three wins, managed to do that with all 11 men on the field for the entire season. I would just expect them to have some red cards in there to explain the futility of that abysmal season. I suppose soccer just doesn't make sense sometimes.