Numbers are good for many things. For example, counting, measuring, and ranking Miss America contestants are just three of number’s manifold, essential uses. Without numbers, the rules by which a society lives would have no merit. In fact, can you even imagine a world in which no one abided by the five-second rule?
Numbers are also used alot in sports. Whether it’s the salary cap, rules of discipline or keeping score, we need numbers to know who wins and loses and to ensure everyone plays fair. We also look to numbers to assess a team or player’s quality and to predict future results.
For centuries, people have argued that numbers may have magic powers. I don’t place much emphasis on such myths, but I am also wary of writing them off completely, especially when one considers how any number can have great significance to a MLS squad this season:
- One, as in the number of games New York, Toronto and Houston have lost at home this year or the number of one goal games LAG has won.
- Two, as in the number of games DCU has tied all season or the outrageous average number of goals per game LAG has ceded this year.
- Three, as in the number of games CMB has currently won in a row.
- Four, as in the number of game winning goals Steve Ralston and Kenny Cooper have scored for their respective teams.
- Five, as in the number of game winning assists Guillermo Barros Schelotto has generated for CMB or the number of multi-goal games Mr. Donovan has had for LAG this season.
- Six, as in the number of consecutive games Luciano Emilio scored a goal earlier this year.
- Seven, as in the poor number of goals RSL has scored in away games all year or the number of games CHI played earlier this year without losing or tying.
- Eight, as in the number of yellow cards Mr. Nagamura has received for CHV this season or the number of times CMB has won a game by one goal.
- Nine, as in the number of shutouts CHI’s Jon Busch has had this year.
- Ten, as in the number of games since LAG’s last win or the number of goals CHV has scored in the last 15 minutes of this year’s games (they’ve scored just one in the first 15 minutes).
And then there’s zero. I can’t remember from third grade math whether zero is really a number or not (perhaps the absence of a number?). But zero has been real important to Real Salt Lake this year. That’s the number of times they’ve been beaten at home. If not for such dominance, RSL would have seen its playoffs hopes dashed a month ago, so I guess for RSL fans, no number is the most magical number of all.