Dallas v Kansas City: Local Player Showdown

This week's Local Player Showdown features defending champion Dallas taking on Kansas City. As will now be familiar to devotees of this blog, I first compared these two cities using a 20 mile distance limit from their respective MLS stadia and selected players from that area regardless of which MLS team they actually play for. Only players with hometowns within 20 miles of FC Dallas's Toyota Stadium or Sporting KC's Children's Mercy Park were included. Points totals are based on MLS Fantasy points through Week 7 of the MLS season.

As happened last week with San Jose, somehow the numbers for Dallas came out a little different when I ran my R code this time. Specifically, at the 20 mile distance limit, this week Google tells me that 7 players are in the Dallas team whereas last week it was 8. No transactions occurred in MLS prior to the end of Week 7 that would account for difference. I suspect that querying Google sometimes returns different points from which the mapdist function calculates distance. In this case, the hometown in question is Highland Village, TX, which this week Google says is just over 20 miles from Toyota Stadium. For its part, Kansas City (whose player search included both Missouri and Kansas) has only 2 MLS players from hometowns within 20 miles of Children's Mercy Park. Neither team has enough players (6 field players and 1 goalkeeper) to field a legitimate team under FIFA's Laws of the Game. Nevertheless, here are the cumulative scores of the two cities at the 20 mile mark:

Kansas City    Dallas
44                 77

Predictably, the 7 men of Dallas defeats the two men of Kansas City, although not by as wide a margin as one might expect. Kansas City have Matt Besler to thank for this. In fact, Mr. Besler accounts for all 44 of Kansas City's points at 20 miles.

How broad a net must we cast for either of these cities to field a legitimate team? Dallas needs only to pick up a goalkeeper to add to the 7 players it already has. To do this, as was the case against San Jose last week, the distance limit needs to be increased only 9 more miles to 29 miles from Toyota Stadium. Dallas actually has 15 players with hometowns within the 29 mile limit, one of whom is a goalkeeper. I trimmed the 4 farthest field players from Dallas's squad to reduce the team to 11 (10 field players and 1 goalkeeper).

The story is quite different for Kansas City. At just over 25 miles, Kansas City picks up a goalkeeper, at which point it also has 4 field players (the 2 players from the 20 mile squad plus 2 more). Five players are not enough, though, and the next player--a field player--arrives at just over 36 miles. At this point, Kansas City needed only one more field player to reach the FIFA minimum team size, but the next nearest MLS player's hometown is an astonishing 241 miles away! Perhaps even more astonishing is that this town is Tulsa, OK! Although I keep banging on about St. Louis as being the hometown of more MLS players than any other US city (5 players as of Week 7), Tulsa, OK, is 20 miles closer to Children's Mercy Park than St. Louis. Wow!

Kansas City's resulting 7 player team spanning 241 miles cannot in any meaningful sense be considered "local", but I still went ahead and ran the code to compare the 11 men of Dallas against the 7 men of Kansas City. Here is the result:

Kansas City    Dallas
89                148

Once again, Dallas comes out on top, this time by a considerable distance. And for the first time in the history of the Local Player Showdown, we have a repeat winner.

For those of you in the Kansas City metropolitan area wanting to know which side of the state line is pulling its weight here, these are the hometowns of the Kansas City 7-man squad:

1   Kansas City MO
2 Overland Park KS
3        Olathe KS
4       Leawood KS
5       Leawood KS
6  Lee's Summit MO
7         Tulsa OK


Can any other MLS city take down thus far mighty Dallas? Can any other city field a full-strength team within 29 miles? According to the MLS schedule, Portland will be the next to try!

The only new R code for this week's Local Player Showdown was the use of dplyr's %in% to filter my USISSL data frame for three states rather than just one state, as had been the case for the past two weeks. I started creating a vector of the three states that I ultimately had to search through in order to get 7 players for Kansas City. I then used %in% to pull out those players with home states in my data frame that matched the states in this new vector. Here is my pertinent code:

> target<-c("MO", "KS", "OK")
> KC<-filter(USISSL, Home.State %in% target)

A pretty neat solution to this filtering issue, one that I had learned sometime before but since forgot. Thank you to the person who answered this question on Stack Overflow for reminding me!

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