MLS Next Pro: Games analysis with Coach Simo Idrissi


Major League Soccer (MLS) has launched a new reserve league called MLS Next Pro. The second season of 2023 of MLS NEXT PRO features 27 clubs across the United States and Canada. Atlanta United 2, New York Red Bulls II, and LA Galaxy II are among the teams that joined the league from the USL Championship.

The league provides a platform for young players to develop their skills and gain experience in a professional and high-performance setting. The regular season runs from March to September, with teams competing in regional conferences.

A quantitative analysis of the current standings shows that Colorado Rapids 2 is at the top of the list with 29 points, while LAFC2 is at the bottom with 7 points. The standing list is a valuable and logical number that helps understand teams within striking distance of the top list.

The inaugural season of MLS Next Pro was a success, with exciting games and promising young talent on display. As the league continues to grow and evolve, it will be exciting to see how it shapes the future of soccer in North America.

However, we can manufacture the revelry without passing through qualitative analysis. We are a bunch of journalists watching and describing what we see. So we want Simo Idrissi to help up understand what is going on.

Journalist: Hi Coach Simo, did you watch some MLS NEXT PRO games lately?

Simo Idrissi: I watched many games, especially 2023. The last games I watched:

Columbus Crew 2 (2 4) Chicago Fire II

FC Cincinnati 2 (2 1) Philadelphia Union II

Huntsville (3 4) NYCFC II

New York (4 1) New England Revolution II

Colorado Rapids 2 (2 2) Earthquakes II

TFC II (3 0) Orlando City B

ATL UTD 2 (5 0) Inter Miami II

North Texas SC (2 0) Galaxy II

Journalist: What, how did you remember all of that?

Simo Idrissi: I prepared for this technical showcase. I collected the results after watching each game again. When you told me to open up a discussion about MLS NEXT PRO, I was determined to be professional. However, I already was watching all these games MLS, USL, MLS NEXT PRO, and colleges.

Journalist: Great, tell us, what did you notice? How can we explain the rivalry to the soccer audience, coaches, and players today?

Simo Idrissi: Ok, the rivalry expression leans towards performance. Due to time constraints, I would share my analysis of the eight games. Because if you watch the other teams, you will find the same scenario. So here we go starting, ATL UTD 2 lost the game and received five scores, New England Revolution II lost the game with four scores against them, and Orlando City B lost game three against them. The remaining games provided high scores, but the losing team scored and gave them a fine impression.

When a team scores nothing and receives 3, 4, or five scores against them, traditionally speaking, everybody could perceive this team as weak. How do we describe that? When tactically using defense, a team prevents the opponent from scoring. However, to manage this style, they should stay focused all 90 minutes or more without committing any mistakes. Usually, the opponent scores one or two. It is acceptable for fans and superiors to understand because the result allows an explanation they worked hard and can develop for the better. If the team scored one and the opponent is two, that is another positive feedback. Due to the level of competition and performance, the creation of challenges and obstacles popped up.

Less than two scores against them mean the defensive style is acceptable, and if they received no scores against them, the defensive style is excellent. However, if a team received more than two scores, the defensive attribute, and roles are weak.

The same thing would happen to attack attribute style because if attackers score zero, that means the attacking style is weak, and if they score one or two is acceptable, and if they score more than 2, they are superb. But be careful because, in this case, the rivalry or competition can be extremely vague. Scoring goals never explain winning or losing games.

Journalist: I understand the reasoning behind the scoring gaps, but you mentioned tradition. What is this means? Do you want to say it is a culture instead of a tradition?

Simo Idrissi: I referred to specific practices, customs, and beliefs passed down from one generation to the next within a soccer culture. If you go to Europe, Africa, and Latinos, you will feel that the result of losing with more than 3 is unbelievably shameful and embarrassing.

A team losing games with high scores is no joke, and their manager loses the job immediately. Bayern Munich has cut ties with Nagelsmann and replaced him with Thomas Tuchel. If you analyze the standing of Bayern Munich, you will find that they were scoring excellently. There is no metaphor, but it is a result and performance. The club sensed something that can or could affect the performance and changed Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel.

I call it soccer tradition, but the cultural aspect is what a coach brings to a team to enhance performance. Making a difference should be a priority.

Journalist: I see your point. We lack the traditional aspect, and bringing anyone to manage our teams could exacerbate the issue. You mentioned the comparison of defense and offense performances based on scores. So if the difference isn’t significant, such as:

Columbus Crew 2 (2-4) Chicago Fire II

Huntsville (3-4) NYCFC II

In comparison to:

New York (4-1) New England Revolution II

TFC II (3-0) Orlando City B

ATL UTD 2 (5-0) Inter Miami II

Simo Idrissi: I understand what you want to ask and allow me to stop you here. To explain the quantitative analysis precisely, I say that the standing is the performance of each team. There are points there, Huntsville lost the game with four scores against them, but they scored 3. The result made their attacking style better but made their defense weak. It is an explanation for having only 9 points on the standing list. Chicago Fire II attacking style scored four, and the defensive style received three, which also makes the game analysis predictable and similar because the standing result showed that Chicago Fire II got 12 points.

Using qualitative analysis helps find the result measurement. For instance, considering how many games have already been played and how many remain.

However, when we examine the top rankings, the circumstances shift and are often disregarded. New York’s four goals scored, and one conceded made their offense appear effortless and effective, while New England Revolution II’s defense seemed disorganized. I did not use the weak term in this case but instead, the disorganized or out of shape because New England Revolution II has 23 points, which made their performance safer.

So, describing the result, standing, and using qualitative and quantitative analysis can refine ideas to be clear and precise. Please, everybody should stop any manufactured ideas that say all of these teams are good or bad unless they measure the performance the same way I did. All of what I said are one way to determine the currency and rate or even the accuracy of the performance.

Journalist: it is a great idea to share with our listeners and readers the standings according to the MLS NEXT PRO website: FC Cincinnati 2 13 pts, Timbers2 12 pts, Real Monarchs 12 pts, Chicago Fire II 12 pts, TFC II 10 pts, Inter Miami II 10 pts, Galaxy II 10 pts, Huntsville 9 pts, LAFC2 7 pts. You can continue now.

Simo Idrissi: A team can have many conflicts and mistakes in the style of play, selecting roles, or selecting positions. Two to three games with low performance can be acceptable, but to lose 5, tight 4, and win one is the same as if a team lost 9-0-1.

In my experience as a player and a coach, I have been in analogous situations. The league started, and my expectation was correct. A team could survive if preparing a replacement that I should make. I always perform and have enough solutions, and losing two or three games is fine, but correcting mistakes and collaborating harder with the players to enhance results, needs enough experience from a coach to switch from performance to performance.

Journalist: what do you mean by the experience of a coach? Do you mean many young coaches can hurt MLS NEXT PRO system?

Simo Idrissi: To read the standing, teams at the bottom in this season are losing the game due to style of play and management, and updating their team’s performance requires more tools. I do not see coaching philosophy as young or old coaches, but I see it in the dimension of the tools rate a coach can use to correct mistakes and enhance performance. Losing or winning a game is not a performance anymore but a result. Performance happens before results. Please highlight this carefully.

Journalist: What a conversation! I learned a lot today. To have you with us is a blessing, Coach Simo Idrissi. We are looking for a more technical platform and highlight the exact scenarios you did. We at SCPPNews, appreciate your time and look forward to seeing MLS NEXT PRO developed by having highly competent like you. We want to see better coaches taking control of our professional teams.