Category: PWP Home and Away

Gluck: What adds more value? Goal Scored or Goal Prevented?

With soccer statistical analysis growing daily, a longer headline might be: 

What do the tea leaves show about team performance measurements in Major League Soccer?  Does the goal prevented show greater value, relative to points earned, than the goal scored?

Even that’s a bit wordy though… maybe it’s…

Soccer Statistics:  What does “right” look like now?

If you read The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong – July 30, 2013 by Chris Anderson (Author), David Sally

There is a section called “On the Pitch, which explains how the game is a balance of strategies.  Preventing a goal is more important to earning points than scoring one, the game is about managing turnovers, and the game can be controlled by both tiki taka as well as keeping the ball out of play longer than the average team does.”  Sourced from this article written here https://www.forbes.com/sites/zachslaton/2013/07/30/everything-we-know-about-soccer-is-wrong/#686a7ab47831

My analysis shows:

Goals scored have more value (relative to points earned) than goals prevented.

Furthermore, I don’t just see the game as a balance of strategies, I see it as a balance of team statistics driven by team operations, strategies and tactics.

In the last four years the balance between how well a team attacks, versus how well the opponent attacks against that team, has more value (relative to points earned) than simply goals scored or prevented.

Finally, what shows as a valuable (balanced) team performance measurement for one team does not hold true as a valuable (balanced) team performance measurement for all teams; either home or away.

Composite Possession with Purpose (CPWP) Indices:

The CPWP index is generated by subtracting team attacking statistics (APWP) from opponent team attacking statistics (DPWP).  This is my way of ensuring I capture a teams’ balanced performance (with and without the ball).

Intimate details on my PWP formulas can be seen in my academic paper published with the International Research Science and Soccer II, published in 2016.   “Possession with Purpose: A Data-Driven Approach to Evaluating Team Effectiveness in Attack and Defense C. Gluck and T. Favero”.

Breaking News:  An abstract on the use of Possession with Purpose Index as a tool for predicting team standings in Professional Soccer has just been approved for presentation (as a poster) at the World Conference on Science and Soccer – Rennes, France 2017.

General information and other relevant articles published, stemming from my research include:

Over the last four years I’ve measured these leagues/competitions using PWP analysis:

  • Major League Soccer 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,
  • English Premier League 2014,
  • Bundesliga 2014,
  • La Liga 2014,
  • UEFA Champions League 2014,
  • Men’s World Cup 2014, and
  • Women’s World Cup 2015.
  • The lowest correlation this index has had, to the league table, was in MLS 2016 (.75).  The highest correlation this index has was for the EPL and La Liga of 2014 (.94).
  • I’d put the lower correlation in MLS 2016 down to increased parity across the league, but I’ll leave how my index can be used to measure parity, in a league, for another day.

In this analysis I’ve evaluated 18 MLS teams that have played 34 (17 home and away) games in each of the last three years (2014, 2015, and 2016).  This equates to 1003 games of data or 2006 total game events for home and away teams.

My analysis excludes New York City FC, Orlando City FC, Chivas USA, Minnesota United FC, and Atlanta United FC as these teams have not played 34 games in each of the last three years.

Data will be presented in three separate categories, total games, away games, and home games.

In addition to evaluating team performance using my standard PWP Indices I have added three additional families of indices to my analyses.  They are:

  • Composite Possession with Purpose Indices Enhanced with Crossing Accuracy (CPWP-CR),
  • Composite Possession with Purpose Indices Enhanced with Clearances (CPWP-CL),
  • Composite Possession with Purpose Indices Enhanced with Crossing Accuracy and Clearances (CPWP- CR/CL), and
  • My benchmark for passing the common sense ‘giggle check’ is, as always, Goal Differential.

Data arrays:

Total Games

Total game observations for consideration:

In every instance goal differential had the strongest correlation to points earned in the league table.

In every instance a CPWP index had the second and third highest correlation to points earned in the league table.

Best, in order of frequency for correlation to points earned, is provided below:

  • Goal Differential – 18 times 1st *benchmark
  • CPWP Index – 14 times 2nd or tied for 2nd
  • CPWP-CL Index – 6 times 2nd or tied for 2nd
  • CPWP-CR Index – 3 times 2nd or tied for 2nd
  • CPWP-CRCL Index – 3 times 2nd or tied for 2nd

Teams not fitting the norm (PWP Index solely being 2nd best) were: Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders, and Toronto FC.

When viewing the DPWP, seven teams showed stronger correlations to points earned (preventing the opponent from scoring goals).  They were:  Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, and Sporting Kansas City.

Meaning 11 teams showed the APWP indices as having higher correlation to points earned; i.e. scoring goals was more important than preventing goals scored.

Away Games

Away game observations for consideration:

In every instance, but one, goal differential had the strongest correlation to points earned in the league table.  The outlying team, where goal differential was not the best correlation to points earned, was Colorado Rapids.

  • I think this exception is worth noting.
  • For me, goal differentials’ correlation to points earned has been THE benchmark in determining whether or not my team performance indices ‘make sense’.
  • Exceeding the benchmark, even once, confirms for me as a soccer analyst, that my approach adds value when looking for ways to help explain the game better.

In every instance a CPWP index had the second and third highest correlation to points earned in the league table.

Best, in order of frequency for correlation to points earned, is provided below:

  • Goal Differential – 17 times 1st *benchmark
  • CPWP Index – 9 times 2nd
  • CPWP-CL Index – 7 times 2nd
  • CPWP-CR Index – 2 times 2nd or tied for 2nd
  • CPWP-CRCL Index – 1 time 2nd or tied for 2nd

Teams not fitting the norm (PWP Index solely being 2nd best) were: Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, and Toronto FC.

When viewing the DPWP indices, ten teams showed stronger correlations to points earned (preventing the opponent from scoring goals).  They were: Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers, Philadelphia Union, and Toronto FC.

Meaning ten teams showed the APWP indices as having a higher correlation to points earned; i.e. scoring goals was just as important as preventing goals scored.

Home Games

Home game observations for consideration:

In every instance goal differential had the strongest correlation to points earned in the league table.

In every instance a CPWP index had the second and third highest correlation to points earned in the league table.

Best, in order of frequency for correlation to points earned, is provided below::

  • Goal Differential – 17 times 1st *benchmark
  • CPWP Index – 10 times 2nd
  • CPWP-CL Index – 7 times 2nd
  • CPWP-CR Index – 2 times 2nd or tied for 2nd
  • CPWP-CRCL Index – 1 time 2nd or tied for 2nd

Teams not fitting the norm (PWP Index solely being 2nd best) were: Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, and Toronto FC.

When viewing the DPWP indices six teams showed stronger correlations to points earned (preventing the opponent from scoring goals).  They were: Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union, Sporting Kansas City, and Vancouver Whitecaps.

Meaning 12 teams showed the APWP indices as having a higher correlation to points earned; i.e. scoring goals was more important than preventing goals scored.

Summary:

The CPWP indices are not perfect but they do show very strong, consistent, correlation to points earned in the league table.

In every instance the balance of a teams’ success in possession, passing accuracy, penetration, shot creation, shots taken, shots on goal, and goals scored AND preventing the opponent from doing the same, exceeds either APWP (scoring goals) or DPWP (preventing goals scored).

The same CPWP index was not the best CPWP index for every team relative to points earned in the league table.

Teams playing in away games had different CPWP indices (showing greater correlations to points earned) than games played at home.

The DPWP indices did not, consistently, have a greater correlation to points earned than the APWP indices.

Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, New England, Portland, Real Salt Lake, San Jose, and Toronto consistently showed CPWP-CR and CL indices had greater correlation than the standard CPWP index.

Correlation of all indices, to points earned, differed between home and away games.

Final correlations to points earned for all teams measured (combined) the last three years in MLS were:

  • Goal differential =  .87
  • APWP   = .53 // DPWP = -.51 // CPWP = .74
  • APWP-CR = .52 // DPWP-CR = -.50 // CPWP-CR = .72
  • APWP-CL = .49 // DPWP-CL = -.46 // CPWP-CL = .66
  • APWP-CR/CL = .49 // DPWP-CR/CL = -.47 // CPWP-CR/CL = .66
  • Goals Scored = .63

Conclusions:

The balance of attacking, versus stopping the attack of the opponent, has more value in measuring team performance (relative to points earned in the league table) than goals scored or prevented.

Goals scored, on average, (APWP) have more value (relative to points earned in the league table) than goals prevented (DPWP).

The correlation of team measurements, relative to points earned, varies from team to team, both home and away.

Therefore the value of individual player statistics (used to create those team statistics) varies from player to player, both home and away..

For example:  The CPWP-CR and CPWP-CL indices showed 2nd best for correlation to points earned for Colorado, Columbus, Chicago, FC Dallas, Houston, Montreal. New England, Portland, Real Salt Lake, San Jose, and Toronto (in away or home games) over the last three years:

Therefore, the players who play on those teams should have their individual statistics (for crosses and/or clearances) weighted differently than players who play on the other teams; because the value of their successful crosses/clearances had greater weight relative to those teams earning points.

Last but not least, what the other leagues/competitions offered after one season/competition:

  • EPL // APWP = .92 // DPWP = -.88 // CPWP =.94
  • La Liga // APWP = .93 // DPWP = -.90 // CPWP = .94
  • UEFA Champions League // APWP = .74 // DPWP = -.66 // CPWP = .81
  • Bundesliga // APWP =.89 // DPWP = -.84 // CPWP = .93
  • Men’s World Cup 2014 // APWP = .58 // DPWP =-.77 // CPWP = .76
  • Women’s World Cup 2015 // APWP = .63 // DPWP = -.77 // CPWP = .76

Both the Men’s and Women’s World Cup competitions saw the value of the goal prevented greater than the goal scored.  In all other instances the balance between the two showed greater correlation.

Anderson and Sally weren’t wrong at all; it’s more about what right looks like depending on what league/competition is being evaluated.

Best, Chris

You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp

COPYRIGHT: All Rights Reserved.  PWP Trademark

NOTE:  All the data used in my analysis is publicly available with the exception of the Women’s World Cup 2015 data; my thanks to OPTA for providing me that data last year.

CPWP Predictability versus MLS Results (Week 18 and 19)

Having been away on business last week I was unable to publish last weeks predictability versus reality results; in catching up here’s how things went in Week 18 and Week 19 versus the Composite Possession with Purpose Predictability Index (CPWP PI); excluding the Chivas USA v DC United match later this evening.

To begin here’s the CPWP Predictability Index for teams at Home, followed by, the CPWP PI for teams playing Away for Week 18/19…

CPWP PI HOME WEEK 18

CPWP PI HOME WEEK 18

CPWP PI AWAY WEEK 18

CPWP PI AWAY WEEK 18

Before digging into the results versus predictability note the significant difference in team performance at Home versus Away.

Pretty compelling evidence to reinforce what most believe, the home team usually does better… but… some teams can and will perform very strong on the road.

In reviewing the results… 

If you want the game by game comparison for Week 18 & Week 19 it can be found at the end of this article.

For now know that the CPWP PI accurately reflected five of the eight wins (draws excluded) for Week 18.

In addition, the CPWP PI accurately reflected seven out of seven wins (draws excluded) for Week 19.

If keeping track (after four weeks of leveraging the CPWP PI) it has been accurate in predicting 20 of 27 games (excluding draws); that’s a 74% success rate.

In Closing…

In general, the home team has won 74 games at home; while the away team has won 47 games on the road – the home team average percentage chance of winning based purely on results is 62%.

It would appear that the use of the CPWP, as a predictability model, gives someone a 12% better chance of predicting the outcome of a game then by purely picking the home team to beat the away team…

Perhaps others have a different view?

Best, Chris

+++++++++++++++++++++++Detail+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Week 18:

San Jose, at home, lost to DC United 1 – 2.  San Jose, at home, has a .0368 CPWP PI while DC United, on the road, has a -.2174 – the CPWP PI was not accurate.

New York, at home, won against Columbus 4-1.  New York, at home, has a .1184 while Columbus, on the road, has a .1047 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Toronto, at home, won against Houston 4-2.  Toronto, at home has a .0886 while Houston, on the road, is -.1706 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Philadelphia, at home, drew with Colorado 3-3.  CPWP PI does not measure for draws.

Montreal, at home, lost to Sporting KC 1-2.  Montreal, at home, is -.0170 while Sporting KC, on the road, is .1112 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

New England, at home, lost to Chicago 0-1.  New England, at home, is .2516 while Chicago, on the road, is -.2241 – the CPWP PI was not accurate.

Vancouver, at home, lost to Chivas 1-3.  Vancouver, at home, is .1912 while Chivas, on the road, is -.1827 – the CPWP PI was not accurate.

LA Galaxy, at home, won against Real Salt Lake 1-0.  LA, at home, is .0476 while RSL, on the road, is -.1278 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Seattle, at home, won against Portland 2-0.  Seattle, at home, is .2669 while Portland, on the road, is .0486 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Week 19 (with the Chivas versus DC United game left to play):

Philadelphia, at home, defeated New York 3-1; Philadelphia, at home, is -.0107 while the New York, on the road, is -.0711 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Columbus lost, at home, to Sporting KC 1-2;  Columbus, at home, is.0797 while the Sporting KC, on the road, is .1112 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Toronto, at home, drew with Vancouver 1-1. (not measured).

LA, at home, beat New England 5-1; LA, at home, is .0476 while the New England, on the road is -.0565 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Portland, at home, beat Colorado 2-1.; Portland, at home, is .0271 while Colorado, on the road, is -.0452 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Sporting KC, at home, beat LA 2-1. Sporting, at home, is .3362 while LA, on the road, is .1393 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

New York at home, drew with San Jose 1-1. (not measured).

Columbus, at home, beat Montreal 2-1; Columbus, at home, is .0797 while Montreal, on the road, is -.0950 – the CPWP was accurate.

Chicago, at home, drew with Philadelphia 1-1. (not measured).

Dallas, at home, beat New England 2-0; Dallas, at home, is .0599 while New England, on the road, is -.0565 – the CPWP was accurate.

Houston, at home, drew with Toronto 2-2.  (not measured).

Real Salt Lake, at home, drew with Vancouver 1-1. (not measured).

 

Road Warriors – Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders have one of the most advanced statistics programs in Major League Soccer. 

And while I don’t have a specific gauge that tracks the effectiveness and efficiency of their statistical analysis it’s a good bet their approach has had some level of influence in how their organization performed this year.

NOTE: Given recent developments this article has been offered up on the SB Nation Blog, as a Fan Post, for the Seattle Sounders.

To read the article, in its entirety, click here.

As always feel free to offer comments here or on the Sounder at Heart SB Nation Fan Post site.

Best, Chris

MLS – Reading the Tea Leaves and Predicting Week 20 Outcomes…

A full slate of games for Week 20 that started off with a smashing win by San Jose over a very shabby Chicago – were you surprised; you shouldn’t have been. 

Chicago Fire have the worst average in overall team defensive performance of any team in MLS this year  – and it certainly doesn’t get better on the road.  Read my latest on the Attacking and Defending PWP Indices from Week 19 here.

In addition; San Jose – believe it or not – are one of the most frugal teams in Defensive Possession with Purpose this year (3rd best in my Index to be exact {2.2510}).

To start – a reminder of three things:

  1. The Possession with Purpose Predictability Indices work from PWP “without” Goals Scored or Goals Against – in other words I use the bell curve of five activities, not six, in order to offer an Index of prediction.
  2. To date, after four weeks, the PWP PI has been 74% accurate in predicting the outcomes of games – if you just pick the “home” side to win every game you’d have a 62% chance of being accurate.
  3. This Predictabiliy Index is not leveraged until after most teams have played at least 17 games – there is not enough historical data to generate worthy trends prior to the half-way point in the season.
  4. The two PWP Predictability Indices (Home) and (Away) are provided below for your consideration before I offer up the predicted results.

Home:

CPWP PI HOME WEEK 18

CPWP PI HOME WEEK 18

Away:

CPWP PI AWAY WEEK 18

CPWP PI AWAY WEEK 18

Let the games begin…

  1. San Jose at home to Chicago – results are already in – San Jose wins – PWP PI indicates San Jose should have won (.0368) to Chicago (-.2241).  PWP PI was accurate.
  2. Real Salt Lake at home to Montreal – Home PI for RSL =  .1374 / Away PI for MIFC = -.0170.  PI predicts RSL win.
  3. Colorado at home to Chivas USA – Home PI for CRFC = .1754 / Away PI for CUSA =  -.1827.  PI predicts CRFC win.
  4. Toronto at home to Sporting KC – Home PI for TFC = .1010 / Away PI for SKC = .0929.  PI predicts TFC win.
  5. New England at home to Columbus – Home PI for NER = .2516 / Away PI for CCFC =  .2047.  PI predicts NEW win.
  6. Vancouver at home to FC Dallas – Home PI for VWFC = .1912 / Away PI for FCD = -.2379.  PI predicts VWFC win.
  7. Montreal at home to Portland – Home PI for MIFC = -.0170 / Away PI for PTFC = .0486.  PI predicts PTFC win.
  8. Seattle at home to LA Galaxy – Home PI for SSFC = .2669 / Away PI for LAG = .1031.  PI predicts SSFC win.

In Closing…

That’s from a clinical/objective standpoint looking at the comprehensive ‘bell curve’ of activities that teams have offered in their first 19 weeks of play.

There are intangibles, as always, in soccer – with 22 players, 2 Assistant Referees, 1 Referee, 2 Head Coaches and the potential for 6 total substitutions most anything can happen that might turn a game on its head.

I can’t account for those intangibles but if teams have a propensity for making mental mistakes, getting red cards, or yielding PK’s, on a regular basis, than those intangibles will pile up and impact/influence overall team performance.

Good examples of intangibles at this stage include some:

  • New England are in a slump – seven straight losses
  • FC Dallas are on an up-swing
  • As are Chivas USA
  • Montreal have two games (in four days) against two of the best attacking teams in the Western Conference
  • Colorado have some injuries to deal with
  • Seattle is taking on an LA team that just got thrashed by Manchester United – but LA are simply one of the top performing teams in attack and defense (regardless of being home or away)
  • Toronto are really beginning to gel in attack
  • Portland are one of the best road teams in MLS this year and the addition of Liam Ridgewell does appear to have made their defensive scheme better.
  • Western Conference teams have simply done better against Eastern Conference teams this year (105 points now for the West versus just 69 points for the East in head-to-head competitions).

Editorial…

  • And they are considering moving Sporting KC to the West at some point in the future?  WOW – talk about an unbalanced Major League Soccer Conference scheme!
  • As much as it pains me to say it there should be one Conference and one League or a split to create four Conferences (two east {north/south} and two west {north/south}).
  • If the league is going to operate based upon the ‘entitlement’ that once a team is “in they stay in” (forever with no relegation) then the sooner this league organizes itself like other major sporting leagues in this country the better.

Finally, and perhaps the most controverisal of my views.

  • I don’t look at individual statistics
  • The game is played by a team… and teams win and lose – individual players don’t.
  • Actions, as much as “non-actions” both impact and influence the outcome of games.
  • And no… the statistics that folks should consider generating for this league, as a whole, should not mirror those of Baseball.
  • The further away from Baseball type statistics the better it will be for others (new to the game) to really understand how much of a ‘team game’ soccer really is.

That’s my soap-box rant for the day – a good podcast to listen to where I explain that view is here:  Yellowcarded Podcast.

  • The time hack to begin listening starts around the 3 minute mark and goes to the 35 minute mark
  • Towards the end of that 35 minute mark I respond to a question about the MLS Castrol Index that speaks to my views on the strengths and weaknesses of individual statistics
  • MLS Castrol Index – An individual Index (sponsored through MLS) that is so obtuse and inaccurate it’s mention is hardly worthy as I feel like it’s a backhanded recommendation to click on it and review the outcomes – don’t waste your time!

Best, Chris

 

Are Seattle Sounders and Sporting KC simply too strong?

Plenty of action these past two weeks in Major League Soccer – the most telling is the huge lead in points that Seattle holds over all the other teams in a very competitive Western Conference.

Not to be outdone, in the Eastern Conference, it appears Sporting KC have also begun to open up an insurmountable lead – especially with that victory against LA Galaxy yesterday.

Are these teams so good, compared to the others, that the Playoffs are merely a warm-up session for what might be one of the most exciting MLS Championship games ever?

It’s hard to latch onto that view, this early, so in working through my Possession with Purpose (PWP) Indices and their supporting key indicators, I’ll let you decide.

For your consideration:

  • PWP Attack as of Week 19 & PWP Attacking Predictability looking forward past Week 19
  • PWP Defense as of Week 19 & PWP Defending Predictability looking forward past Week 19
  • Composite PWP as of Week 19 & CPWP Predictability looking forward past Week 19

To begin the Attacking (APWP Index excluding the CUSA v DCU game)…

APWP INDEX WEEK 19 MLS

APWP INDEX WEEK 19 MLS

Both Seattle and Sporting are in the top five for how effective their teams have been in attack; others present include LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, and the New York Red Bulls.

Yet when looking at the internal key indicators there are a number of teams that remain productive; with at least 14 games remaining, for most teams, Columbus lead the league in Passing Accuracy at 80.64%; while LA Galaxy, Vancouver, Real Salt Lake, Sporting, and Portland all hover over 78%.

In terms of penetration per possession, probably the most intriguing of all the statistics, New England lead, by a wide margin, with 30%; while Houston, Philadelphia, LA Galaxy, and Real Salt Lake round out the top 5.

Both Sporting and Seattle rest in the tail end of this indicator at 21.65% and 20.79% respectively.  Other teams doing well this year in attack, but at the lower end of penetration, also include Portland, Columbus, DC United, Colorado, and DC United.

In my view this indicator (in attack) is heavily influenced by the defensive approach of the opponent – or – the attacking approach of the team.  

Only three of the top ten teams in this category average greater than 50% possession and, again, only four of the top ten teams in this category average greater 78% passing accuracy.

It would appear that teams who spend a greater percentage of their possession within the opponents Defending Final Third do so as a result of more direct attacking than possession based attacking.

And when it comes to scoring goals only three of the top eight teams are in the top half of all teams that score goals.

As for the two teams with the lowest goals scored per game – well both San Jose and Montreal are not only the worst in goals per game they are also the worst in penetration per possession; so when your poor you’re really poor.

As for Goals Scored, Seattle lead the league in goals scored per game (1.94); with Portland, New York and FC Dallas at (1.6); others following close behind include Philadelphia (1.57), LA Galaxy, Toronto FC and Vancouver all tied at 1.53 with Colorado (1.47) and Sporting KC rounding out the top ten at 1.45.

Clearly there are plenty of teams in this league who have strong averages in goals scored; the difference maker for this category is how well those same teams behave in defense.

Here’s the Defending (DPWP) Index after Week 19 (excluding the CUSA v DCU game):

DPWP INDEX WEEK 19 MLS

DPWP INDEX WEEK 19 MLS

Like in the APWP Index, both Seattle and Sporting KC are in the top five – the big surprise here for me is where San Jose falls in this Index; it’s pretty clear that if they had an effective Attack, and could score goals, they would be in the Playoff race big time.

Others showing well include LA Galaxy (again); Colorado, Columbus, and DC United.

On the tail end it’s Chicago, Montreal, Houston and a much improving Chivas USA.

In terms of looking at the internal key indicators Opponents of Sporting have the worst passing accuracy, averaging just 71.81% per game, Real, Portland, Philadelphia, Chicago, DC United, New England, San Jose, and Colorado all, also, hold their opponents under 76% passing accuracy per game.

With respect to penetration, that tricky category that can be leveraged in so many ways, the leader in allowing opponent penetration this year is Portland (25.97%) with Real Salt Lake a close second (25.08%) followed by FC Dallas, Vancouver, LA Galaxy, DC United and Toronto FC; all ceding greater roughly 23% of their opponents possession into penetration.

I offer this because some teams like to cede some amount of penetration in order to maximize opportunities for quick counter attacks – that can pay off at times but in the case of Portland, this year, it has completely backfired.  Even after this weekend they still have the 3rd worst Goals Against in the league – ceding PK’s hasn’t helped.

But in comparison to LA Galaxy, who has ceded penetration almost as much as Portland, their own Goals Against sits at .94 (2nd best in MLS this year)…

As for Seattle and Sporting?

Sporting cedes the 2nd lowest amount of penetration into their own defending third while Seattle cede the 4th lowest amount of penetration.

In terms of ‘payoff’ (for that stingy final third defense) Sporting has the lowest Goals Against in MLS (.9 per game) while Seattle has the 8th lowest in Goals Against (1.33 per game).

From a ‘top of the table viewpoint’ it would appear stingy is good when it comes to minimizing opponent penetration.

So how do things show for the Composite (CPWP) Index so far (Excluding the CUSA v DCU game today)?

CPWP INDEX WEEK 19 MLS

CPWP INDEX WEEK 19 MLS

Like the APWP and DPWP Index, both Seattle and Sporting are in the top five – but – so are the LA Galaxy…  (all you need to do is make the playoffs…)

As for the statistical correlations after 19 weeks?

The APWP Correlation to Points in the League Table is (R2) .64; DPWP is (-.57) and CPWP is (.72).

Goal Differential (always the best single indicator) is (.87) while Goals Scored is (.70) and Goals Against is (-.63).

All told, the CPWP Index continues to remain a better overall Team Performance Index than Goals Scored and/or Goals Against.

Before closing here’s the CPWP Predictability Index (CPWP PI)…

CPWP PREDICTABILITY INDEX WEEK 19 MLS

CPWP PREDICTABILITY INDEX WEEK 19 MLS

An important caveat here; there is a clear difference in how teams perform on the road versus at home – it should be noted that Sporting KC, Chivas USA, Philadelphia, Chicago (And up until yesterday Portland) have all taken more points on the road than at home…

As a reminder the CPWP PI uses the same PWP key indicators with one exception (Goals Scored versus Shots on Goal)…

So while Sporting has the best (home and away) CPWP PI,  the team with the best Away CPWP PI is Columbus, with LA Galaxy, Sporting, Portland and Real Salt Lake rounding out the top five.

In home games Sporting, Seattle, New England, Vancouver, and Colorado round out the top five.

What’s that mean when a team has a high predictability rating and a low points total?  

I think it’s a great indicator of defensive mistakes and/or poor finishing – defensive mistakes when the team has a higher average of Goals Scored and poor finishing when a team has a lower average of Goals Against…

In other words when a team is performing at their best they should have a high Goals Scored and a low Goals Against.

If they already have a low Goals Against then the gap is Goal Scoring…. if they have a high Goals Scored then the gap is Goals Against….

Results versus Expected Results… (CPWP – CPWP PI)…

Overachieving teams – teams that have a higher CPWP than CPWP PI include FC Dallas, DC United, Colorado, LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew – in other words these teams are getting results when the balance of the other PWP Key indicators don’t necessarily point to great results.

A great example here might be where DC United have 13 points from five games where the opponent has given them a PK.

Underachieving teams – teams that have a higher CPWP PI than CPWP include Chicago, Chivas, Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto – in other words these teams are “showing” all the indications of teams that generally do well but aren’t doing well – this could be a great indicator of bad luck or some other issue where something goes pear-shaped.

What’s intriguing for me as a Portland Timbers supporter is the CPWP Index is higher than the CPWP PI; which reinforces my view that the poor results this year are not ‘one-off defensive mistakes’ but a compilation of a more systematic issue with the overall defending…  with the addition of Liam Ridgewell in the back-four perhaps that helps turn the ship towards greater success?

In closing…

Yes, Seattle and Sporting KC are doing well, not only from a ‘table standpoint’ but from a ‘team performance standpoint’; in the overachieving versus underachieving category both teams hover pretty close to zero – in other words the results they get match the expected results they should get…

Best, Chris

 

Reflections of MLS Week 16; Predictable or not??? And what about Chivas USA these last three games… anything there in PWP to see?

As you know I’ve attempted to create a Predictability Index (PI) from my Possession with Purpose (PWP) analysis.  Here’s a link in case you missed the first article on PWP Predictability.

Before looking at the overall results here’s a reminder on where all the teams stand after 17 weeks:

CPWP INDEX End of Week 17

CPWP INDEX End of Week 17

Not every team has played 18 games yet so the Index is not equal – just like the MLS Table; Toronto have four games in hand over some teams in the Eastern Conference and the LA Galaxy have as many as five games in hand over some teams in the Western Conference.

When looking at the Western Conference CPWP (where all teams have played 14 games) the Index has LA atop (.2380); with Seattle 2nd (.2008); Colorado 3rd (.1578); Portland 4th (.0616) and Vancouver 5th (.0470).

All told that’s 3 of the top five teams in the Western Conference – not ideal but pretty close.

When looking at the Eastern Conference CPWP (where all teams have played 14 games) the Index has Sporting FC atop (.2219); with Columbus 2nd (.1578); DC United 3rd (.0807); New England 4th (.0347) and New York 5th (-.0416).

All told that’s four of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference – again not ideal but pretty close.

How does last year compare to this year after Week 17?  I’ll cover that in my next article…  For now since most teams have eclipsed the 17 game barrier I use the separate Home and Away CPWP Predictability Indices…

A reminder, of sorts, the CPWP PI is not intended to predict draws; it’s strictly an attempt to “test” how well it can/could predict wins.

The diagrams (along with individual Team Index numbers)  are provided at the end of this article.

Before kick-off; a reminder that last weekend’s games saw the CPWP PI had relevance in five out of six games where a team won/lost versus drew.

So for teams that won on the road this week we have:

Chivas USA defeating San Jose and DC United defeating Toronto FC.

The away CPWP PI for Chivas USA is -0.19; the home CPWP PI for San Jose is -0.04; the PI indicates Chivas should have lost – they won (inaccurate).

The away CPWP PI for DC United is -0.16; the home CPWP PI for Toronto FC is +0.09; the PI indicates DC United should have lost – they won (inaccurate).

So for teams that won at home this week we have:

FC Dallas defeating Philadelphia Union; Real Salt Lake defeating New England Revolution, Vancouver Whitecaps defeating Seattle Sounders and Chivas USA defeating Montreal.

The home CPWP PI for Dallas is +0.07; the Away CPWP PI for Philadelphia is -0.02; the PI indicates Dallas should have won – they won (accurate).

The home CPWP PI for Real Salt Lake is +0.04; the Away CPWP PI for New England is 0.00; the PI indicates Real Salt Lake should have won – they won (accurate).

The home CPWP PI for Vancouver is +0.18; the away CPWP PI for Seattle is -0.06; the PI indicates Vancouver should have won – they won (accurate).

The home CPWP PI for Chivas USA is -0.28; the away CPWP PI for Montreal is -0.11; the PI indicates Montreal should have won – they lost (inaccurate).

In closing… and that promised look at Chivas USA.

All told where there weren’t draws the CPWP PI was three out of six games.

Excluding draws that’s two weeks of (5 for 6) and (3 for 6); (8 for 12) = 66% accurate.

Clearly betting against Chivas USA at this time is not a worthy endeavor.

Here’s the differences in their Possession with Purpose indicators in the first 14 weeks compared to the last three weeks:

  • First 14 Weeks (APWP = 2.1425 / 2nd worst in MLS)
  • First 14 Weeks (DPWP = 2.5341 / 2nd worst in MLS)
  • First 14 Weeks (CPWP = -0.3915 / worst in MLS)
  • Last three Weeks (APWP = 2.2217 / 5th worst in MLS)
  • Last three Weeks (DPWP = 1.9502 / BEST in MLS)
  • Last three Weeks (CPWP = 0.2715 / BEST in MLS)

With that significant change in Defending PWP it’s worth a quick look to see what’s what in the first 14 Weeks versus the last three weeks…

  • First 14 Weeks Opponent (Possession 57.14%, Passing Accuracy 79.73%; Penetration 15.84%; Shots Taken per Penetration 19.34%; Shots on Goal versus Shots Taken 38.15%; Goals Scored versus Shots on Goal 43.21%)
  • Last three Weeks Opponent (Possession 57.96%; Passing Accuracy 79.67%; Penetration 19.21%; Shots Taken per Penetration 15.27%; Shots on Goal versus Shots Taken 22.92%; Goals Scored versus Shots on Goal 0.00%)
  • The differences?  Opponent penetration has increased while the number of opponent shots taken and shots on goal and goals scored have decreased.
  • Without having seen any of their games I would offer that Chivas has decided to open up the opponent opportunities in penetrating in order to tighten the screws a bit deeper inside the 18 yard box…
  • In other words they are not running two banks of four players atop and outside the final third – they have dropped a bit deeper and are now running their banks of four more within and around the 18 yard box.
  • Perhaps others who follow Chivas USA more closely could offer visual information to determine if that is an accurate assessment?

 As promised the CPWP PI Home Index:

CPWP HOME PREDICTABILITY INDEX AS OF WEEK 16

CPWP HOME PREDICTABILITY INDEX AS OF WEEK 16

As promised the CPWP PI Away Index:

CPWP AWAY PREDICTABILITY INDEX AS OF WEEK 16

CPWP AWAY PREDICTABILITY INDEX AS OF WEEK 16

Best, Chris

Next up Week 17 PWP in review…

Possession with Purpose – Predictability Indices – Major League Soccer

After some superb discussion at the World Conference on Science and Soccer folks back in 2014 I first wrote this article; I’ve since improved the Total Soccer Index (though I haven’t published the new algorithm).

Here’s my most recent article on predictability (Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer) – it was this article that led to me presenting the PWP TSI Predictability topic at the WCSS 2017 (Rennes, France) last year.

Anyhow…  back to this article.

To do this we agreed that Goals Scored needed to be removed from the equation.  In doing that here’s how the Composite PWP Index offers up an Expected Wins Index number for MLS teams (both home and away) and then separately for home and away games.

I took this extra step since most feel or think that teams who play at home have a better chance of winning than teams who play away from home; and indeed the average for home teams this year is 1.58 points, per game, versus away teams being 1.09 points per game.

Caveats prior to the diagrams:

  1. There will always be an issue with the sample size when looking at a predictability model based upon team performance (within a single game) as opposed to specific individual actions by players like shots taken and shots on goal – repeatability here is not those specific instances of activity but the ‘comprehensive instances’ of ‘team activities within a game’…
  2. For me that represents the primary bell curve of the game as opposed to, in my view, the 3rd or 4th standard deviations of the bell curve where goals are scored… I hope that makes sense???
  3. There are only 17 home and 17 away games – again that sample size is extremely small – but the volume of team activities within those games ‘should’ provide a general (bell curve) picture on what regular activities a team takes in order to score goals and/or prevent goals being scored.
  4. The Predictability Indices are the PWP Indices (minus) the percentages of Goals Scored versus Shots on Goal.
  5. No additional analysis to go with the CPWP, APWP and DPWP Predictability Indices – in my view there simply aren’t enough data points yet; when all the teams have reached 10 games played (both at home and away) I’ll break open the analysis as a real predictive tool to try and predict a win, draw or loss.
  6. For now consider they represent a ‘visual diagram’ that also includes the current Correlation (R) the Indices have with respect to total points or an average of points per game played in MLS.

The Composite PWP Predictability Index (PI):  The CPWP PI has a best Correlation with respect to Average Points earned in the MLS League Table (R) .52

CPWP Home and Away Predictability Index Week 15 MLS

CPWP Home and Away Predictability Index Week 15 MLS

The CPWP PI for Home games has a best Correlation with respect to Average Points earned in the MLS League Table (R) .66:

CPWP Home Predictability Index Week 15 MLS

CPWP Home Predictability Index Week 15 MLS

The DPWP PI for Home games has a best Correlation with respect to Average Points earned in the MLS League Table (R) .60:

DPWP Home Predictability Index Week 15 MLS

DPWP Home Predictability Index Week 15 MLS

The APWP PI for Away games has a best Correlation with respect to Sum of Points earned in the MLS League Table (R) .58:

APWP Away Predictability Index Week 15 MLS

APWP Away Predictability Index Week 15 MLS

In closing….

The visual diagram with the best Correlation to Points in the MLS League Table is CPWP-PI with an R of .66; and the second best is the DPWP-PI with an R of -.60.

So from a, point going forward approach, it would seem to me that the best visual diagram to use when offering up analysis later this year is the CPWP-PI compared with “Average” Point taken per game as opposed to the “Sum” of Points in the MLS League Table.

We will see if that holds true in a few weeks time; thanks for your patience.

Best, Chris

 

MLS Soccer – PWP through Week 14 – A deep dive on Dom’s Houston Dynamo…

It’s hard for me to fathom a team wearing orange kits not doing good – just seems wrong to me.  And after making the Playoffs last year it seemed reasonable they’d be knocking at the door again this year.

Not true – at least not yet – so this week is a Study in Orange, to an extent, leveraging many of the supplemental statistics I collect in addition to those supporting my Indices.

To get things started here’s the top-to-bottom Attacking (APWP) Index through Week 14 (represents teams with as many as 16 games and as few as 11 games)…

APWP Through Week 14

APWP Through Week 14

After 14 weeks the APWP Index offers Seattle as the best attacking team in MLS.

What that means is the Sounders are one of top ten teams in possession, passing accuracy, throughout and within the Final Third, while also being effective at taking shots and converting those to shots on target, shots on goal, and goals scored.

Conversely, the most ineffective team in MLS, at this time (consistency wise) is Houston – let’s take a quick look at the differences between these two teams for comparison…

Possession:  Seattle = 51.56%;  Houston = 47.52%

Passing Accuracy Entire Pitch:  Seattle = 77.18%;   Houston = 74.78%

Passing Accuracy Final Third:  Seattle = 64.88%;   Houston = 65.80%

Penetration Percentage into the Final Third:  Seattle = 20.09%;   Houston = 22.57% *

Shots Taken per Penetration:  Seattle = 19.03%;   Houston = 20.25% *

Shots on Goal per Shot Taken:  Seattle = 40.16%;   Houston = 29.06%

Goals Scored per Shot on Goal:  Seattle = 43.53%;   Houston = 19.24%

Goals Scored per game:  Seattle = 2.13;   Houston = 1.00

I’ve put an asterisk (*)  in two categories to reinforce a great talking point at the World Conference on Science and Soccer last week; teams that appear to penetrate more times per overall possession percentage have a tendency to take more shots that are less effective than teams who are a bit more deliberate in their penetration and shot selection.

Since I don’t track shot location it would be interesting to see the general tendencies of Houston when it comes to shot location.

An exception, and aren’t there exceptions to just about everything, is New England – but only with respect to percentage of penetration per pass completed – their’s is 29.04%; considerably higher than either Seattle or Houston.

A big difference, however, is looking at Shots Taken per penetration – the Revolution average 15.55% in that category.

What that means is the Revolution do penetrate more per possession but they actually take far fewer shots per possession (patience) and in turn their shots on target are 4th best in MLS.  That increase in shots on target also drives towards 1.5 goals scored per game.

But back to the deep dive on Dom’s Dynamo; if I were their Sporting Director for the day here’s some additional team performance questions and the answers as of today:

Do we score more goals per game than other teams?  No; we are tied for 2nd worst in goals scored per game this year.

Do we give up more PK’s than other teams?  Yes, we concede .43 PKs against per game this year; 2nd worst in MLS.

Do we concede more corners than other teams?  No; we concede the 7th fewest corners per game this year.

Do we concede more successful crosses than other teams?  No; we concede the 6th fewest successful crosses per game this year.

Do we concede the most Yellow Cards than other teams?  No; we concede the 3rd fewest Yellow Cards per game this year.

Do we concede the most Red Cards than other teams?  Yes; we concede the 5th highest number of Red Cards per game this year.

How are we doing in Defensive Clearances compared to other teams?  We have the 6th fewest clearances per game this year.

Do we have the fewest Tackles Won than other teams?  Yes; we have the 7th fewest tackles won per game this year.

Do we have the most Offsides than other teams?  No; we have the 7th lowest average in offsides per game this year.

Do we have the best passing accuracy across the entire pitch than other teams?  No; we have the 6th worst passing accuracy per game this year.

Do we have the best passing accuracy within the final third than other teams?  No; we are 8th worst in passing accuracy within the Final Third this year.

Do we have the best Shots on Goal percentage than other teams?  No; we are the worst team in MLS putting Shots on Goal per Shots Taken ths year.

Do we have the best Goals Scored percentage than other teams?  No; we are the worst team in MLS in Goal Scoring per Shots on Goal this year.

Do we have the best Defensive PWP in stopping their Opponents this year?

DPWP Through Week 14

DPWP Through Week 14

No; we are the 4th worst team in preventing their opponent from successful possession, passing accuracy, penetration, shots taken, shots on goal and goals scored against this year.

Here’s a few more questions and answers…

Do we yield concede more fouls in their Defending Third than other teams?  Yes; slightly more, we are 8th worst in fouls conceded within their Defending Third.

Do we concede more Goals Against than other teams?  Yes; we have the 4th worst Goals Against this year.

Do we have a large Goal Differential than other teams?  Yes; we have the 3rd highest Goal Differential this year.

Do our Opponents have a higher average of Passing Accuracy than against other teams?  Yes; Opponents of Houston average 78.61% Passing Accuracy; that is 2nd worst this year.

When considering all the other teams and the Composite PWP (the difference between attacking and defending) where is Houston?

CPWP Through Week 14

CPWP Through Week 14

Through Week 14 the Houston Dynamo sit 2nd worst in CPWP.

Last year they finished 12th best in CPWP and were 5th best in CPWP when viewing just Eastern Conference teams…

How is their CPWP at home versus on the road?  There CPWP is -0.4625 on the road – the worst in MLS and their CPWP at home is -0.0589; 4th worst in MLS.

A few other questions as the Houston Dynamo Sporting Director today:

  • What do we do that increases our chances for winning?
  • If we concede fewer Corners and fewer crosses why are we still having a higher than average Goals Against?
  • What does our scouting report say?
  • Who’s in the queue on the trade list to get this team better?
  • Who do we have in the Academy pipeline that can help?
  • When does Brad Davis come back?
  • How’s the fitness level of the players?
  • How’s the locker room atmosphere?
  • Do we have too many average players making more than the average number of mistakes?

Obviously there are more questions than can be asked from an individual player standpoint…

But considering that almost every manager got sacked last year (see diagram below) who coached a side finishing in the bottom half of this Index, there appears to be compelling evidence that Houston needs to make some significant changes somewhere in order to get better.

 

End of Season 2013 CPWP Index

End of Season 2013 CPWP Index

Is there cause for concern? 

I think so – obviously there are far more questions to ask and answers to look for but the performanc indicators for Houston, so far this year, seem compelling enough to cause concern.

Balancing the needs of the organization against the budget is always a tough call but it appears to me that individual player personnel changes are needed – where – I don’t know because I don’t track individual player statistics – the public domain data isn’t good enough.

As for the diagram above – a few additional points to make in seeing what that Index offers:

  1. The top five “Eastern Conference teams” in this Index all made the Playoffs.
  2. The top five “Western Conference teams” in this Index all made the Playoffs.
  3. The Coach of the Year came from the team with the best overall CPWP last year; Portland.

In closing….

I’m not obtuse enough to believe that the current CPWP Index, for this season, represents the final Index.  Nor do I expect that the top five for both conferences will be in the top ten of the End of Season 2014 CPWP Index.

The Intent with this Index is to ‘closely match’ the League Standings not ‘exactly match’ the League Standings.  So far it’s pretty close – I’ll take that.

And since we are near the half-way point of the season I will look to pick out at least one team to review every few days (in the bottom half of this Index) to offer up answers to more of those basic questions.

Best, Chris

 

 

 

 

MLS Possession with Purpose Week 13 – Plenty of surprises…

Some stunners and bummers this week for plenty of soccer supporters across North America; who’da thought Montreal would get a clean sheet against New England and Real Salt Lake would get completely schooled by Seattle…

Others like Philadelphia reinforced they do not want to be a bottom dweller, as some suspect this year, by beating up on Chivas, and DC United took advantage of a depleted Sporting KC to take three in DC.

For sure this week, like a few others this season, reinforced why games need to be played.

So who was tops this week in Attacking PWP (APWP) – it may surprise you – (Columbus Crew) it did me for a start, but in review, the overall data supports the basic intent of PWP –

    • A documented method for measuring team performance from my six step process.
    • An index that ranks teams for their performance based on this method.
    • The index, while excluding points, comes close to matching results in the MLS league table.

So here’s a look at the top five teams in APWP this past week and some comments to follow for consideration:

Top 5 APWP Week 13

Top 5 APWP Week 13

A couple of things…

Note the Completed passes in the Final Third vs Completed Passes across the Entire Pitch (4th column from the left).  Three teams in the top 5 APWP this week all faced teams who attempted to bunker in; how can we tell that?

By the lower percentage of penetration versus completed passes for Columbus (13.80%); LA Galaxy (14.48%) and Philadelphia Union (16.30%).  And when viewing other teams who have played against these teams the results are similar…

When Seattle played Chivas earlier this year they had just 13.94% of their total passes completed in the final third; against Toronto they did slightly better at 18%.

Columbus versus Chicago was 16.59%, LA versus Chivas was 15%, FC Dallas versus Chivas was 15%, Portland versus Chivas was 14% – so there is clearly a pattern.

It’s probably not as obvious with Toronto as Chicago or Chivas but a realistic assumption can be made that some outputs in PWP will help indicate what pattern of defense a team might encounter.

So how about the attacking portion that really matters – shots on goal and goals scored?

In the case of Columbus and LA both hit the magical 100% and that is what put them in the top five of APWP.

That’s not a bad thing; on the contrary it actually reinforces in my mind how fragile the game of soccer can be when it comes to mistakes and their impacts on the game.

Consider the overwhelming domination that Seattle had this past weekend; their inability to be ‘top of the heap’ in APWP is not a negative on the team.

Where the complete domination shows up is when you add in the Defending PWP…

Defending PWP Week 13

Defending PWP Week 13

It’s pretty clear here that three teams stood out from the rest; Colorado (3-nil clean sheet), Philadelphia (3-nil clean sheet) and Seattle (4-nil clean sheet).  And that defensive dominance will carryover to the Composite PWP Index shown a bit later.

For now though take a look at the #4 team in DPWP – Montreal Impact – many might have considered that 2-nil win against New England a surprise…

But here’s an interesting tidbit of information about New England in Composite PWP this year.

At home New England perform better than their opponent in APWP 2.42 to 1.91 while on the road their APWP is 2.24 versus their opponent APWP is 2.44; in other words New England are far less productive performing on the road than at home.

Given that, and Montreal showing tendencies in performing better at home, perhaps it isn’t such a big surprise after all?

Here’s the differences between home and away for all teams in MLS at this time:

Home versus Away - Who is better and worse in MLS after Week 13

Home versus Away – Who is better and worse in MLS after Week 13

Bottom line here is that Chivas USA are clearly (far right amber bar) much much better in overall APWP on the road than at home; is it any wonder given their average audience is about 5 people… just kidding…

On the other side we already know about New England – but other teams not liking the road, so much in team performance, are Houston, San Jose, Colorado, Real Salt Lake and Toronto.

Road warriors, though not dominate / winning road warriors also include Chicago Fire (don’t forget that 5-4 win in Red Bull Arena), Philadelphia, Columbus and Portland.

The other takeaway here is how strong and equally consistent are Vancouver and LA Galaxy; there’s almost no difference in their PWP on the road versus at home.

One could argue the same for Portland but with them giving away so many PK’s this year, plus Red Cards (to begin with), there really isn’t value in offering up consistency with the Timbers until after they start playing mistake free football.

In closing, here’s the top to bottom in Week 13 Composite PWP…

Composite PWP Index Week 13

Composite PWP Index Week 13

A few final thoughts and an update of sorts in general… 

Portland did quite well in scoring goals in the run of play this week, and they really proved how effective they can play in direct attacking – Adi has added value; when – not it – but when they get mistake free in the back-four they should push their way up the table…

That might be looking at the Timbers through rose colored glasses, so be it… it is what it is.

With respect to my weekly Attacking and Defending PWP Players of the Week; sadly I can longer offer up these awards.  There is simply too much time needed to dig through the new MLS Chalkboard to come up with relevant individual player statistics to support one player over another.

On the one hand some of the new format works well; on the other hand it has completely hampered additional, detailed, defensive analysis…  notice that ‘blocked crosses’ is no longer a statistic that is made publicly available.

Finally, and I’m a bit jazzed about this; I got a phone call late last week from the folks organizing the World Conference on Science and Soccer, asking me to present my Major League Soccer Possession with Purpose Index analysis.  The better part of last week and early this week I’ve been putting the finishing touches to that presentation.

When I get it done and the Conference is completed I will post it here on my blog site.  Really looking forward to listening in to all the presentations.

Best, Chris