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Wondolowski edges Fernandez for Castrol player-of-year

Here's the news from the league:

Castrol, an official sponsor of Major League Soccer, has released its final rankings report for the 2011 MLS regular season, ranking all players from the data collected since the MLS season began in March. With a total of more than 2,600 game time minutes and a cumulative point total of 9.31 out of 10.0, Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes is officially the “Castrol MLS Index Player of the Year.”

Wondolowski finished up the season as a top goal scorer—in large part due to the high point value assigned to shots made nearest the goal; shots closer to goal are given a greater point value, as they represent a greater opportunity for success than those made from further away. Wondolowski’s shots from the goal averaged a distance of just under 10 feet (9.82), besting second ranked Alvaro Fernandez of Seattle Sounders FC, who trails at almost two full feet behind (11.42 ft).

Similar to the way in which shots made nearer the goal are assigned a greater point value, passes resulting in an end ball closer to the opposing goal are also weighted favorably on the Castrol Index for MLS. Wondolowski excels at this, ranking highly in “good” passes.

October marks the final month of MLS regular season play. Castrol will be present throughout the playoff season and at this year’s MLS Cup, to debut the new “Predictor” technology. The newly created tool for MLS forecasts the teams that will emerge victorious from game play against one another, based on empirical data collected during the season. The Castrol MLS Predictor takes such factors into account as the number of goals expected to be scored, the number of goals expected to be conceded and whether or not the team is playing at their home stadium or on the road.

“It’s been an exciting season for us here at Castrol, with movement up and down the leader board from the league’s top players,” said Tracy Drelich-Knauer, Associate Promotions & Sponsorship Manager. “We’re thrilled that the Castrol MLS Index has become a resource for fans and we look forward to finding out how our cutting edge technology for the Predictor compares to results of the MLS playoff matches.”

Celebrating its inaugural year, the Castrol MLS Index has provided an opportunity for fans to engage in the sport, and to join in the discussion spurred by sophisticated analysis, previously privy only to coaches and players. Castrol's team of performance analysts have used the latest technology to provide data for the 2011 MLS season and determine the sport’s first Castrol MLS Index Player of the Year. In assessing every player’s actions for net positive or negative impact on a team’s ability to score or concede a goal, analysts have logged more than 1,800 player movements per match, examining the merits of every action.

The Castrol MLS Predictor is live at http://www.mlssoccer.com/mlscup/2011/castrol-playoffs-predictor as we head towards MLS Cup 2011, scheduled for November 20 in Los Angeles.

To view the full Castrol Index, visit www.MLSsoccer.com/castrolindex.

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