It’s been awhile, I suppose, since a score-line of 6-nil has popped up in Major League Soccer and given the rarity, at least this year, I figured it’d be a worthy way to peel back how things are going in my traditional review of Major League Soccer each week.
As for the last time a score-line like that happened I haven’t got an historical clue but it’s the biggest difference in a score-line I’ve seen since analyzing team performance on Possession with Purpose.
In fact I do recall a five – nil win earlier this year, by New England, over Seattle. And a five – nil win, by Montreal, over Houston last year, but nothing comes to mind for a score-line of six – nil. (Perhaps?) others may know of a really lopsided win like this one in the history of MLS.
In all the games so far this year this was the most dominating ‘result’ and ‘outright team performance in possession with purpose’ of anyone; in case you were wondering – in the Timbers game against San Jose, this past weekend, their APWP for that game was 2.6938.
So when I mean comprehensive – I mean from, square one to the opponents goal, comprehensive… Only seven times have teams shattered the 3.0 barrier in the APWP Index this year; here they are in order:
- LA Galaxy 6-nil win over Colorado, Week 26 = 3.1740
- FC Dallas 4-1 win over Houston, Week 5 = 3.1032
- LA Galaxy 5-1 win over New England, Week 16 = 3.0858
- Columbus Crew 3-nil over Houston, Week 25 = 3.0675
- Chicago Fire 5-4 win over New York, Week 9 = 3.0302
- Sporting KC 3-nil win over Montreal, Week 9 = 3.0062, and finally
- DC United 3-1 win over Chivas USA, Week 19 = 3.0008
Note: the games in bold print, with italics, are games where the losing side had a Red Card.
For me, this reinforces that my ‘not‘ counting Red Cards, as a separate data point, to influence this Index, is appropriate.
If I were to add Red Cards, to the Index equation, a team would be penalized twice.
With that offered here’s the overall Composite PWP through Week 26:
The R2 (correlation of this Index to Points in the League Table) is .79 this week; compared to .80 last week…
Relation to the League Table:
- Five out of the top six Eastern Conference teams, in this Index, are currently above the red line in the League Table; with Philadelphia and New York swapped in this Index compared to the League Table. (80% accurate)
- Five out of the top five Western Conference teams, in this Index, are currently above the red line in the League Table. (100% accurate)
- Gentle reminder – the End State of this Possession with Purpose Analysis is to create an Index that comes as close to matching the League Table, as possible, without using points earned from wins or draws.
Moving on to the Attacking PWP Strategic Index:
As expected, the top team in APWP remains LA Galaxy – all told a 10% lead over all other teams in MLS. Chivas USA, and Wilmer Cabrera (bless him for trying) remain bottom.
The worst team in attack specifically for Week 26 (only) was Vancouver; with DC United 2nd worst and Toronto FC 3rd worst. DC United and Vancouver played to a nil-nil draw so that’s probably no surprise.
As for Toronto – well, who bloody knows?
As offered by my friends Stephen Brandt (along with Keith Kokinda) on this latest podcast it appears to many in the northeast that Toronto is battling hard to become the Chivas USA of Canada; seems they are doing a pretty good job of that!
In concerning Portland, who had some records this past week in Shots Taken and Shots on Goal.
We already know, this year, that a critical element to scoring goals (that isn’t really measured publicly) is Time and Space.
In watching that game there is no question the Timbers had time or had space – but rarely did they have both…
As much as it may pain some folks San Jose, believe it or not, were in the right place at the right time (given the volume of shots faced) more often than not… after all they did block nine of those 32 shots offered.
And if you didn’t know, Portland have four games where their opponent has blocked nine or more shots this year. Only one other team has had that many shots blocked in more than one game – LA Galaxy; twice.
Seattle has the record this year – they had 12 shots blocked by, guess who, San Jose in Week 23!!! And guess who one of the teams was that blocked nine or more against LA – yup – San Jose!
Can you say ZONE DEFENSE?
So I’m not sure I completely agree with Caleb Porter when he indicates it’s not about tactics anymore (to paraphrase).
I would offer he really knows it is – but when dropping two points, at home, again… I can certainly empathize with him voicing that in a press conference.
For me, what that translates to is this… given the amount of time left in the season there is absolutely no value and benefit going over technical weaknesses in detail.
They are known, understood, and they need to be filed, recognized for what they are, and move on.
In other words – roll the sleeves up and just bloody get on with the job in hand – win…
Come this next weekend, against Colorado, who were COMPLETELY humiliated by LA Galaxy – you can bet Mastroeni is not only wanting his team to win to get back in the race – but he’s also probably wanting his team to win in order to keep his chances of running the Rapids next year a reality…
With that said, here’s the Defending PWP Strategic Index through Week 26:
I read somewhere, here, that Columbus Crew were the biggest over-achievers in Major League Soccer and slow in defending; bollocks… complete and utter bollocks.
You simply can’t convince me that this team performance Index, with a -.7o correlation to points in the League Table, supports Columbus being “over-achievers and slow in defending”…
Let’s not forget that Columbus is the most consistent team in passing accuracy across MLS (least standard deviation i.e. consistency of purpose)
Indeed, as the Composite PWP Index points out at the beginning of this article, the Columbus Crew are simply a strong team that has been consistently strong throughout the year.
- At Week four they were best in the CPWP Index
- At Week seven they were 2nd in the CPWP Index
- At Week 12 they were 3rd in the CPWP Index
- At Week 18 they were 5th in the CPWP Index
- And at week 22 they were 5th in the CPWP Index
- Now – they have climbed back up to 3rd best in the CPWP Index
- Not sure there have been many teams, besides LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders, who have been as consistently strong in consistency of purpose.
So like I said – bollocks to them being pidgeon-holed as over-achievers… and while many may disagree, for me, this is just another example of how poorly the mainstream media do in really knowing, understanding and communicating what football (soccer) is all about.
In regarding Houston… and their position in DPWP.
The addition of Luis Garrido has added value; they have pushed up past Chicago Fire SC, and are mere thousandths of a point behind both Montreal and Toronto in team defending.
As for Toronto – they continue their slide…
I’m simply having a hard time wrapping my head around Nelson being sacked, I do see statistical information supporting the sacking but most organizations lean towards ‘results’ as opposed to ‘statistical indicators’… and when it came to results Toronto were third best in the Eastern Conference before Ryan was sacked.
(Perhaps?) this is a ‘team organizational decision making indicator’ (from Toronto FC) where statistical information has as much, if not more value in a coaching change, than ‘results do’???
The screws get turned even tighter… winning is the key but within that phrase there remains the need to tactically ‘get it right’… meaning defense is absolutely critical.
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