I’m sure there’s many ways to determine what Head Coach might best lead the US Men’s National Team out of darkness…
I’ve narrowed my scope of who might fit best by limiting the selection pool to those who currently lead a team in Major League Soccer. This obviously includes a broad band of candidates – you need to start somewhere.
In today’s environment, world class national and domestic teams are great at “controlling the ball” AND/OR great at “controlling the opponent when they don’t have the ball”.
I’ve taken that statement and converted it into measuring four categories of possession:
- Points per game a Head Coach averages where their team has equaled or exceeded 55% possession,
- Points per game a Head Coach averages where their team has possession greater than or equal to 50% possession but less than 55% possession,
- Points per game a Head Coach averages where their team has possession greater than or equal to 45% possession but less than 50% possession, and
- Points per game a Head Coach averages where their team has less than 45% possession.
My intent is to try and quantify/qualify three basic styles of play:
- Possession-based with controlled possession starting from the back,
- A mixture of controlled possession and controlled counter/direct -attacking, or
- A team relying solely on “controlling the opponent when they don’t have the ball” and offering counter/direct attacking as a method of penetration.
My relationships between the four measured categories of possession and three styles of play are:
- #1 with #1,
- #2 & #3 with #2, and
- # 4 with #3.
Its’ not perfect, but then again, soccer isn’t perfect either.
Note: Prozone has identified ~ 7 styles of play – I try to keep things simple.
I’ve made a list of five Head Coaches for consideration:
- Gregg Berhalter,
- Oscar Pareja,
- Caleb Porter,
- Peter Vermes, and
- Jesse Marsch
Why didn’t I include Jason Kreis?
He’s been relieved of coaching duties twice and failed to make the playoffs with Orlando City. Something, somewhere isn’t working… nothing personal.
Here’s their initial PPG by each category from 2014 to 2017 (excluding the final two games):
The cells highlighted in green show which Head Coach had the highest PPG (per year) in the four categories listed.
It’s pretty clear those five coaches having varying strengths in earning points relative to the four categories of possession.
Here’s their average PPG over the last three years in an attempt to quantify/qualify their “consistency of purpose” – a phrase usually associated with Dr. Deming:
So how do their teams perform against conference opponents?
An attempt to measure how well each coach’s team performs against a “known quantity”; similar to the US Men’s National team playing “known” CONCACAF opponents…
Note the 2017 data excludes the last two games of this season.
Jesse Marsch shows best (“consistency of purpose”) in:
- Earning points per game in three of four possession categories over the last three years,
- The Total Soccer Index versus “known” opponents over the last three years,
- Goal differential versus “known” opponents over the last three years,
- Earning points versus “known” opponents over the last three years.
Who’s your choice?
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