Season Reviews

Midseason review: Castrol Index v PSP’s postgame player ratings

Photo: Paul Rudderow

After some comments from readers last season, we published a post at the end of September comparing Philadelphia Union players’ rankings in the Castrol Index with the averages of their postgame PSP player ratings and followed that up with an end of the season comparison.

The Castrol Index is designed to be an objective measure of player performance in which “every move on the field” is assessed based on “whether it has a positive or negative impact on a team’s ability to score or concede a goal.” Player ratings, while informed by objective measures such as match statistics, are an inherently subjective assessment of how a player performed in a game. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see where the two ratings systems converge or diverge.

Now at the midpoint of the 2013 season, we again compare where Union players are ranked on the Castrol Index and their ranking based on the average of their PSP postgame player ratings.

Players are listed in the chart below according to their ranking within the team via the Castrol Index and PSP’s postgame player ratings. The Castrol Index information also includes each player’s ranking within MLS. Also included is the player’s ranking within the team in each category in 2012. The 2012 Castrol Index numbers include the league ranking for Conor Casey, Sebastien Le Toux, and Jeff Parke, who were not with the Union that season.

Castrol Index v PSP mid

With some small differences in position, the top 5 ranked players on the Castrol Index and the top 5 players from the average of PSP’s player ratings share 4 of the same players. The odd player out is Sebastien Le Toux, who comes in as the 4th ranked player in the Castrol Index and is the 7th ranked player according to the averages of PSP’s player ratings.

Other obvious differences include Michael Farfan, Keon Daniel, and Danny Cruz. Ranked 7th, 8th, and 10th, respectively, in the Castrol Index, Farfan comes in at No. 13 in PSP’s player ratings ranking while Daniel comes in at No. 14 and Cruz at No. 15. Going in the other direction, Antoine Hoppenot, Brian Carroll, and Kleberson all have higher rankings through PSP’s ratings than they do in the Castrol Index.

Comparing the player ratings averages from 2012 to this year, Michael Farfan, Raymon Gaddis, and Roger Torres have dropped the farthest with Gaddis dropping from the No. 6 to No. 12, Farfan from No. 5 to No. 13, and Torres from No. 11 to No. 17.

Turning to some new, and returning, faces, Conor Casey struggled through injury last season and ended the year ranked 237th in the league in the Castrol Index. He currently is ranked 17th overall. Similarly, Le Toux’s nomadic year saw him with inconsistent playing time to finish at a still respectable ranking of 93. He is currently ranked 54th. Clearly, Casey and Le Toux are two players who have flourished in Philadelphia.

Compare the upward movement of Casey and Le Toux with the downward movement of Jeff Parke. The 2012 Seattle Sounders Defender of the Year finished that season ranked 69th in the league. Midway through the 2013 season, he is ranked 169th.

We look forward to your comments below.



  1. If you look at the full Castrol Index you see that many of the highest players are either forwards or goalkeepers. This means that scoring or defending a goal is obviously weighted more heavily in their system. A little bit of apples/organges, but the differences with Daniel and Cruz probably reflect some truth that we are subjectively harder on them than we need to be.

  2. Ed Farnsworth says:

    Spugger, you may be correct regarding Cruz and Daniel.
    Regarding the weighting in the Castro Index, the media contact person there was very helpful when I got in touch for Casey, Le Toux, and Parke’s numbers from last year. I mean to followup with them on their offer of deeper analysis from their data. Hopefully I’ll be able to share a better understanding of how their system works.

  3. Great One says:

    The Castrol Index is so flawed. No one who watches the games would agree with the order they yield.

  4. Jim Presti says:

    There was a point where I was tracking the Full Index week to week along with the stats for the Union, but after awhile I realized how incredibly weighted the CI is for goals and saves. It really leaves DMIDS and FBs out to dry if they are not scoring goals or making chances. It doesn’t exactly take into account the players role.

  5. Southside Johnny says:

    I guess the way that I look at Castrol is that it yields a global objective measure of players’ theoretical contribution to success in scoring and preventing goals. Theoretical because it doesn’t seem to relate directly to scoring or saving so much as being in the right places and doing the right things to create and negate chances for scoring. No way any system will capture all the variables, but it seems to be pretty valid.

  6. PhillyHotspur says:

    You want telling ?

    The first Union Midfielder on this list comes in at 7 and is Farfan who barely starts.

    Union MF is such a joke

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