Kamara Finlay Celebration CLBvNY
Greg Bartram / USA Today Sports Images

Sirk’s Notebook: Nickels, Dimes & Pennies Edition

Given that we are just 53% of the way into the season, the statistical accomplishments of Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay are somewhat mindboggling. Also, Steve Clark has done something rare for a Crew SC goalkeeper.

In light of all that, here’s a standalone Mr. Numbers Nerd Notebook looking at some of the astonishing statistical feats that you may have unwittingly witnessed at MAPFRE Stadium during Crew SC’s 2-1 victory over the visiting New York Red Bulls. Stay tuned for another Sirk’s Notebook later in the week.

 

MR. NUMBERS NERD: DOUBLE NICKEL EDITION

With Ethan Finlay’s two goals and Kei Kamara’s two assists in Saturday night’s 2-1 win over the Red Bulls, each player entered “double nickel” territory, whereby a Crew SC player shows to be adept at creating goals and scoring goals, as evidenced by a season of at least five goals and five assists. Finlay now has 5 goals and 10 assists, whereas Kamara now has 12 goals and 5 assists.

These mark the 29th and 30th double nickel seasons in Crew SC history. Also, Kamara has become the 17th Crew SC player to post a double nickel. Finlay, meanwhile, has become only the 6th player in Crew SC history to post multiple double nickels. He had 11 goals and 7 assists last season.

Here are the double nickel seasons, sorted by frequency:

  • 5x: Brian McBride (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002)
  • 4x: Jeff Cunningham (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003)
  • 3x: Guillermo Barros Schelotto (2007, 2008, 2010), Federico Higuain (2012, 2013, 2014)
  • 2x: Brian West (2000, 2001), Ethan Finlay (2014, 2015)
  • 1x: Adrian Paz (1996), Stern John (1998), Jason Farrell (1998), Dante Washington (2000), Robert Warzycha (2000), John Wilmar Perez (2001), Brian Maisonneuve (2001), Edson Buddle (2002), Alejandro Moreno (2007), Eddie Gaven (2007), Kei Kamara (2015)

This list could still grow in 2015. Both Higuain (4 G, 4 A) and Justin Meram (3 G, 3 A) are on pace to achieve double nickel status this year. If they do, it would be the first time in Crew SC history that four players got a double nickel in the same season. It’s something to keep an eye on.

 

MR. NUMBERS NERD: NICKELS AND DIMES EDITION

It’s hard to believe that there is still pretty much half a season to go, yet Finlay and Kamara have already reached some rarified air in the annals of Crew SC history. When we raise the double nickel threshold so that a player also needs to record a dime in the goal or assist category, these two current stars are keeping some amazing historical company.

Kamara is the just the 7th player in Crew SC history to bag at least 10 goals in a double nickel. Here’s the list of all 10 occurrences:

  • 1998: Stern John (26 G, 5 A)
  • 1998: Brian McBride (10 G. 7 A)
  • 1999: Jeff Cunningham (12 G, 5 A)
  • 2000: Dante Washington (15 G, 9 A)
  • 2001: Jeff Cunningham (10 G, 13 A)
  • 2002: Jeff Cunningham (16 G, 5 A)
  • 2013: Federico Higuain (11 G, 9 A)
  • 2014: Federico Higuain (11 G, 7 A)
  • 2014: Ethan Finlay (11 G, 7 A)
  • 2015: Kei Kamara (12 G, 5 A) (so far…)

Finlay, meanwhile, is in similarly rare company. He has become the 8th player in Crew SC history to dish at least 10 assists in a double nickel season. He is the first to do it since Guillermo Barros Schelloto’s legendary MVP-winning campaign in 2008. Here is a list of all nine occurrences, where Schelotto is the only one to do it twice:

  • 1996: Adrian Paz (6 G, 10 A)
  • 1998: Jason Farrell (5 G, 10 A)
  • 1999: Brian McBride (5 G, 10 A)
  • 2000: Robert Warzycha (6 G, 13 A)
  • 2001: Jeff Cunningham (10 G, 13 A)
  • 2001: John Wilmar Perez (8 G, 15 A)
  • 2007: Guillermo Barros Schelotto (5 G, 11 A)
  • 2008: Guillermo Barros Schelotto (7 G, 19 A)
  • 2015: Ethan Finlay (5 G, 10 A) (so far….)

Jeff Cunningham is the only player in Crew SC history to post a double dime, which he did in 2001. Both Finlay and Kamara are a smidge off that pace.

A few more games like Saturday would put them well on their way.

 

MR. NUMBERS NERD: CLEAN SCORE SHEET EDITION

Goalkeepers are known for their clean sheets, not their scoresheets. Forget double nickels, or nickels and dimes. When a goalkeeper puts up a penny, it’s big news.

William Hesmer scored one of the most famous goals in Crew SC history when his stoppage time equalizer at Toronto’s BMO Field on October 16, 2010, provided one of the most #LOLTFC-est of #LOLTFC moments.

This never gets old:

But Hesmer was more of a finisher, not so much a creator. On Saturday night, when Ethan Finlay tied the game in the 33rd minute, Steve Clark became just the sixth goalkeeper in Columbus history to record an assist. Here are the six goalkeeper assists in Crew SC history:

Bo Oshoniyi
April 13, 1996
Columbus 4, D.C. United 0
CLB: McBride (Oshoniyi) 86’

The first is by far the most famous. From when Oshoniyi executed his dropkick from his goal box, the ball never touched the ground again until it bounced just before crossing the goal line at the other end of the field. In between, Oshoniyi sent a long ball to McBride, who popped the ball into the air, ran onto it, and volleyed a shot that would cap a 4-0 victory in Crew SC’s inaugural game.

This goal has to be seen to be believed. See it. Believe it.

Brad Friedel
July 25, 1997
D.C. United 1, Columbus 1 (D.C. won shootout 3-1)
CLB: Marino (McBride, Friedel) 76’

This one seems pretty easy to guess what happened. It would appear that Brad Friedel punted the ball and—surprise!—Brian McBride got his head on it. And then—surprise!—Sneaky Pete Marino was lurking nearby to finish the chance.

Juergen Sommer
August 22, 1998
Columbus 3, Tampa Bay 1
CLB: John (McBride, Sommer) 59’

I’m noticing a trend here. A goalkeeper, a Brian McBride, and then a goal. In this case, it was insatiable goal hound Stern John putting the ball into the net.

Tom Presthus
June 2, 2002
Chicago 5, Columbus 4
CLB: Cunningham (Presthus) 25’

Aha! A goalkeeper assist that does not involve Brian McBride! Instead, this is a different sort of assist that is easy to guess. It would appear that Presthus booted the ball over the top and the speedy and lethal Cunningham ran onto the ball and finished the breakaway.

Andy Gruenebaum
September 29, 2012
Columbus 3, Philadelphia 2
CLB: Arrieta (Gruenebaum) 50+

The Hebrew Hammer’s helper came deep into first half stoppage time. A terrific dribble and finish from Jairo Arrieta sealed the deal, as seen here at 2:58 minutes:

Steve Clark
July 4, 2015
Columbus 2, New York 1
CLB: Finlay (Kamara, Clark)

Clark followed the familiar goalkeeper assist template, with Kei Kamara serving as his surrogate McBride. Steve says “ASSIST!” Yes! Yes! Yes!

 

Questions? Comments? Hoping Clark can become the first goalkeeper to record a double penny? Feel free to write at sirk65@yahoo.com or via twitter @stevesirk

Steve Sirk’s latest book, “Kirk Urso: Forever Massive”, is available at the Crew SC Shop or by ordering online HERE. All proceeds go to the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund for congenital heart defect research.

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