Tagged: Eastern Conference

Getting More from Less… Major League Soccer

If you’ve read my previous article on Expected Wins 4 (Is European Football Really Higher Quality than Major League Soccer) you’ll know that there are teams out there who can, and do win, ‘without’ exceeding 50% possession.

In my next evolution of analysis, using the Family of Possession with Purpose Indicators on Major League Soccer, here’s some more granularity to go with that observation.

The filters set up for this effort are pretty simple – five of them to be exact:

  1. Teams who won games in MLS last year with less than 50% Possession,
  2. Teams who won those same games with less than the league average in overall Passing Accuracy (77%) and,
  3. Teams who won those same games with less than the league average in Passing Accuracy within the Opponent’s Defending Final Third (66.8%),
  4. Teams whose volume of Pass Attempts fall below the League Average (428.01), and
  5. Teams whose volume of Pass Attempts, into the Opponents Defending Final Third, fall below the League Average (117.54).

Why this approach?

To highlight what teams, and what volume of games those teams won, where ‘CONTROL’ of the game would most likely be interpretted as ‘minimized’ given a poorer ‘team performance’.

In addition, I also sense it may be a good way to differentiate between teams who use a Counter-Attacking “tactic” as part of their Possession-based game versus a team more inclined to play a Direct Attacking style/system.

The really hard part here is I’m not using video and I don’t have access to X,Y coordinate data – this is all put together using public data.

However viewed I hope you find this interpretation beneficial.

In setting the stage for the teams who did best getting more from less here’s the raw data to consider:

There were 234 games last year where a team won in MLS.

Of those 234 games, 122 of them the winning team had lower than 50% Possession.

In other words, 52.14% of all games won last year saw the winning team possess the ball less than 50% of the time.

Of those 234 games, 70 of them the winning team had less than 50% Possession and less than 77% Passing Accuracy.

In other words, only 29.92% of all games won last year had the winning team performance fall below League average in Possession and Passing Accuracy.

Of those 234 games, 53 of them the winning team had less than 50% Possession, less than 77% Passing Accuracy (across the entire pitch) and less than 66.8% Passing Accuracy in the Opponent’s Defending Final Third.

In other words, only 22.65% of all games won last year had the winning team performance fall below League average in Possession and Passing Accuracy (both within and outside the Opponents Defending Final Third).

By the way, for those curious, in only 19.66% of all games lost this year (234) did the losing team EXCEED the League Average in Possession and Passing Accuracy (both within and outside the Opponent’s Defending Final Third).

So more teams got more from less than teams who got more from more…

Here’s the teams who got more with less, and how many times they were successful in that effort:


The Red Bars signify Eastern Conference Teams while the Blue Bars show Western Conference Teams (last year).

For now it should be noted that DC United took 24 of 59 Points where they performed far below league average in passing.

In addition, New England also took 21 of their 55 Points in games where they performed far below league average – and six of those seven wins came after Game 25 – in other words after they signed Jermaine Jones!

With respect to Philadelphia – five of their six wins, using this filter, came after Jim Curtin replaced John Hackworth.

In looking at Toronto – all of their five wins, in this fashion, came in the first 11 Games of the season – two things perhaps to consider from this:

  1. Other teams in MLS figured out the counter-attacking/direct attacking nature of the team and changed their defending habits accordingly, or
  2. They had an injury or two that impacted this style of play and, under Nelsen, were unable to recover from a key attacker being missed.

Of note – Chicago recently brought in two DP Strikers – is that a signal to the rest of MLS that Frank Yallop really intends to go all out in this type of attacking approach?

Finally, FC Dallas appeared to be the more counter-attacking/direct attacking team in the Western Conference – and this data appears to substantiate that.

Oscar Pareja’s approach was good enough to make the Playoffs last year – but with Houston (under Owen Coyle) and Sporting, another possession-based team, set to join the Western Conference, might we expect to see Pareja take a different approach next year?

East meeting West:


Pretty telling if you ask me…

A marked difference in volume of teams that got more with less in the Eastern Conference.

This provides some pretty good evidence to support those having the belief or feeling that the two conferences played different styles…

Now what?

Well, for me, over the past few years I’ve found it pretty hard to differentiate between a team that works towards Direct Attacking, as a style, as opposed to Counter-Attacking.

And to be honest I’m not sure what the difference is; at least up until now.

Here’s my draft definition on how to define a team that Counter Attacks (as a tactic) as opposed to using Direct Attacking (as ‘the’ tactical system/style/approach).

  • The league average for passes attempted across the entire pitch is 428.01.
  • So for the purposes of this effort all teams that fall below that average will be viewed as Counter-Attacking teams until I see that their volume of passes attempted in the Opponent’s Defending Final Third also falls below that League average of 117.54.
  • My rationale is this – a consistent trend of low volume in passes attempted both within and outside the final third indicates to me that the team is attempting to play longer or quicker balls into the final third – that have less chance of being completed – in other words looking to penetrate with less overall control of the ball.
  • I welcome any additional thoughts on this…

In looking at these 52 games:

  • Only one game did the volume of Pass Attempts exceed the League Average of 428.
  • In that one game the volume of Pass Attempts within the Opponents Defending Final Third did not exceed the League Average.
  • DC United had that game.
  • Only 11 games saw the volume of Pass Attempts in the Opponents Defending Final Third exceed the League Average of 117.
  • New England had five of those games, Seattle had one, DC United one, Vancouver one, and Philadelphia three.
  • Therefore in 40 of the 52 games played, using this filter, it would appear that the team that won played Direct Attacking Football.
  • Meaning the teams that performed best in Direct Attacking football were DC United (7), Toronto (5 under Nelsen), Dallas (5), and Chicago (3).

Gut-Check on my Direct Attacking hypothesis – a pretty well known/attributed Direct Attacking team in the English Premier League is West Ham.  

Of their 19 games this year every single game saw their total Pass Attempts fall below the League Average of 426.73.

In 11 of those games their Pass Attempts, within the Opponents Final Third, fell below the League Average of 131.82.

They won seven of those 11 games.

In conclusion, the gut-check pans out – it appears that the outputs from West Ham match those developed based upon what is seen in MLS.

The data also confirms that Sam Allardyce, and his Hammers, are doing a pretty good job of executing that system as well.

In closing:

Doing more with less had a significant advantage for DC United, New England, Philadelphia, and Toronto – all those teams, tops in this filter, are in the Eastern Conference.

This information also supports the views, by many, that the two Conferences are different; the Eastern Conference has more teams that were successful in doing ‘more with less’ and more teams, who were more successful, in their Direct Attacking style/system.

It seems reasonable to me that this is a way for me to better quantify the difference between a team that counter-attacks as a ‘tactic’ versus a team that prefers to play more direct.

Best, Chris

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Major League Soccer – Week 28 – A Union divided? Not now…

Twenty eight games in – the screws are tightening and the pucker factor hit the Vancouver Whitecaps big time; see here: Valeri’s vicious volley from Villafana vanquishes Vancouver.

For me though, the real story is how the tables have turned in Philadelphia – I’ll get to that in just a wee bit – for now here’s my usual Possession with Purpose Family of Indices:

CPWP Strategic Index Week 28 MLS

CPWP Strategic Index Week 28 MLS

At this stage the top ten teams above the red line are the top ten teams in the Index.  Good; the End State of trying to match the league table without points seems to be holding steady and the correlation this week (R2) remains a steady and strong .82.

There are at least two key issues this week – who continues to push up the table to make the Playoffs and who continues to push for the Supporter’s Shield – Seattle took a hit this week – but – then again they won the US Open Cup – winning silver is never a bad thing.

In terms of making the Playoffs – tight races for sure.  Some teams have a possible 18 points to get while some others have 15 points to get – with that many points available Vancouver, Philadelphia, Colorado, Toronto, Houston, and even San Jose are still in the hunt.

Moving on to the APWP Strategic Index and peeling back changes to the Philadelphia Union: 

APWP Strategic Index Week 28 MLS

APWP Strategic Index Week 28 MLS

LA Galaxy continue to be attack mad – and some familiar faces appear up near the top as well – remember Portland and New York from last year?  Well… they are still here and still dangerous.

But this isn’t about those three teams – today’s focus is about Philadelphia and how the Union have come together.  In order to see that let’s peel back how they differ from earlier this year with John Hackworth leading the cause.

Here’s the statistical details – do they show any changes?  

  • The average number of total passes with John was 454 per game; under Jim it’s 367 per game – a HUGE difference!
  • The average amount of possession with John was 50.85%; under Jim it’s 44.04% – a HUGE difference!
  • The average penetration per possession under John was 22.04%; under Jim it’s 26.14% – in terms of volume that also represents a HUGE difference!
  • The average Shots Taken per penetrating possession under John was 20.11%; under Jim it’s 19.06% – not big but worthy…
  • The average Shots on Goal per Shot Taken under John was 29.83%; under Jim it’s 38.30% – a HUGE difference!
  • The average Goals Scored per Shots on Goal under John was 36.78%; under Jim it’s 41.14% – a HUGE difference!
  • The average Goals Scored under John was 1.17; under Jim it’s 1.93 – a HUGE difference!

In all, there are considerable differences in team attacking performances under the direction of John Hackworth versus Jim Curtin.

This isn’t offering that one coach is better than the other; what it does offer – however – is that with a slightly different playing style – the output of a team, with the same players, can change.

Top be precise, the volume of passes, and percentages of possession, penetration, shots on goal, and goals scored are considerably different; and those differences do lead to an increase in goals scored and total points.

Said a different way – the Union are possessing the ball less – which in turn means the opponent is possessing the ball more, which, in turn,  means there is more time and space in the opponent’s own Defending Final Third if the opponent loses the ball and the Union can capitalize on that open space.

Might the Union Defending team performance indicators support that?  Let’s see; here’s the DPWP Strategic Index:

DPWP Strategic Index Week 28 MLS

DPWP Strategic Index Week 28 MLS

In looking specifically at the Union; here’s the breakdown on the Union Defending team performance outputs under John Hackworth versus Jim Curtin:

  • The opponent average number of total passes with John was 440 per game; under Jim it’s 468 per game – a big difference!
  • The opponent average amount of possession with John was 48.90%; under Jim it’s 55.96% – a HUGE difference!
  • The opponent average penetration per possession under John was 21.26%; under Jim it’s 21.25% – no difference!
  • The opponent average volume of passes in the Union Defending Final Third with John was 101.50; under Jim it’s 126.27 – a large increase in volume of penetration.
  • The opponent average volume of passes completed in the Union Defending Final Third with John was 69.07; under Jim it’s 81.05 – an increase in volume of completed passes in the Union Defending Final Third.
  • The opponent  average Shots Taken per penetrating possession under John was 19.49%; under Jim it’s 13.95% – a worthy difference…
  • The opponent average Shots on Goal per Shot Taken under John was 39.61%; under Jim it’s 37.78% – a worthy difference…
  • The opponent average Goals Scored per Shots on Goal under John was 36.90%; under Jim it’s 34.12% – a worthy difference…
  • The opponent average Goals Scored under John was 1.71; under Jim it’s 1.25 – a HUGE difference!

In all, there are worthy differences in team defending performance between John and Jim.

In answering the leading question into DPWP – the answer is yes…

  • The volume of penetration has increased markedly under the leadership of Jim Curtin in comparison to John Hackworth – it’s that difference that leads many to believe that the defensive line of the back-four has dropped deeper…
  • In addition, with dropping deeper, it’s expected that the space will get tighter – with less space, and time, opponent shots taken and shots on goal volume should decrease.
  • Under John, the opponents volume of shots taken was 12.36 per game with 4.79 shots on goal per game – under Jim, shots taken is 11.40 per game while shots on goal is 4.00 per game.
  • So they not only decrease in volume, they also decrease in percentage as noted in the bullets above.
  • Finally, under John Hackworth, Goals Against were 1.70 per game; under Jim Curtin they are 1.36.

Bottom line here – the Union are simply better in defending, and in turn, their deeper drop, in defending, has led to an improved attack.

In Closing:

For those only interested in Total Points – under John Hackworth – the Philadelphia Union had earned 11 points in 14 games; under the guidance of Jim Curtin (now) the team has 27 points from 15 games.

If that pattern continues (1.8 points per game) the Union could finish with 47 points – and in an Eastern Conference – that just may be enough to make the Playoffs.

All for now …

Later this week, my run down on the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, and a special review on Expected Wins looking at all four leagues together…

Looking to answer this question – is comparing individual players on Barcelona to FC Koln, to Southampton, to LA Galaxy worthy given that the four leagues all have different patterns to winning – or do they?

Best, Chris

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The MLS Playoff chase heats up – here’s my Quick Thoughts for this Weekend

The playoff races really begin at this stage of the year – it’s pucker time for most to even include those battling for the Wooden Spoon.

Here’s my lay down on who falls down or rises to the occasion.

First up:

Sporting KC versus Houston Dynamo – I’m not really sure anyone needs an education in team performance this year to figure out that a win here for Houston is highly unlikely. And with dropping three points to DC United last weekend Sporting are probably set to go full steam this game.

That, in and of itself, might be the exact thing Houston is hoping for.  Dominic Kinnear is a crafty guy and he likes his team to have grit and play physical.

I don’t imagine there will be a lot of free and open space in this game – given that a set-piece goal could win it if the Houston back-four can cover the wings.

Sounds like a load of bollocks, I suppose, but there is no love loss between these two teams and, Houston, as silly as it sounds, still have a shot at the playoffs; especially considering that the Eastern Conference is such a mess.

I’m not sure why I like Houston in this game but I do…  there…

Seattle versus Colorado – The Sounders should be riding a huge wave of positive emotion after that smashing victory against Portland last weekend – will there be an emotional let-down?  Perhaps – but I think Seattle want to make the best of every remaining home game knowing that they still have two games to go against LA Galaxy…

A win here for Seattle means just as much as that win last weekend in Portland – I don’t look for them to take their foot of the pedal at all…

Besides, Colorado are not part of the Cascadia trio – and if Seattle is really going to want the chance to rub salt in the wounds of Vancouver or Portland – I’m sure they’d prefer to try and beat one of those two teams in a playoff match as opposed to boring old Colorado.

Not really a reasonable thought for a Head Coach to have – but perhaps it’s a reasonable, cynical, thought for an Emerald City Supporter to have?  Others will know better than me about that.

Toronto versus New England – Another classic match-up on who possesses the ball more.

With both teams playing a somewhat counter-attacking style I suppose this game could end up being really boring unless one team gets an early goal and the other looks to press forward to draw even; making the counter-attacking approach even deadlier.

For now, with Defoe out injured, I can see New England winning; they don’t HAVE to win given how pear-shaped the Eastern Conference is but three points would do the Revolution well…

Montreal versus Columbus – One of the most boring games on the slate this weekend in the MLS – will Montreal have a larger home crowd than Chivas this weekend?  Probably – but does that team deserve it?  Probably not.  If not for Chivas USA and the complete collapse of their ownership this year Montreal would be the out-right ‘organizational laughing-stock of this League…

If Columbus lose – wow!  What a nightmare loss of three points that will be for Berhalter, Inc…

Chicago versus Dallas – An interesting match-up in betting who possesses the ball more.   Neither team really likes to enjoy possession and I’d figure this game might resemble a ping-pong match more than anything.

The challenge, again, for Chicago, will be to shut down an opponent with a defensive set-up that simply isn’t that good.

Even worse for Chicago is the speed that Dallas will bring.  As much as I’d like to believe Chicago will look to possess the ball this game it’s almost like they really can’t afford to do that given the strength of the Dallas counter-attack.

At the end of the day this game could be pretty boring – a long ball affair for Chicago looking to get second chance balls and an attempt by Dallas to possess with the slow intent to penetrate and score.  All told I would offer Dallas wins this by virtue of having greater speed…

Vancouver and Portland – Both teams need three points and both teams have a long history of playing each other.  The two things are mutually exclusive.

I look for Caleb to play a tighter game out of the back and no… I don’t honestly think he runs that tantalizing formation (never did) – it was more to prove a point that significant (player/performance) changes need to be made in the back-four to have this team compete at the highest level.

All said and done who wins this game probably comes down to who controls their emotion and discipline the best.

Who lacks it probably loses and who controls it probably wins.  In that, if history has any bearing, it is likely Vancouver who wins.

San Jose versus Real Salt Lake – Here’s the game where San Jose really need to take stock and win.  Their defense is pretty strong and if their attack can manage to put at least one past Nick Rimando then the Earthquakes could win…

DC United against New York Red Bulls – For me the biggest challenge here is how well the DC United defense can shut down a resurgent Bulls.  Too much power in attack versus a cerebral United that plays smart and handled Sporting KC quite easily last week.

If this game was simply a match between Olsen and Petke it’s an easy pick, for me, with DC United.

But Thierry Henry is really – really good and  New York does have a habit of making mincemeat pies against other Eastern Conference competition.  All said and done my gut instinct screams New York but my heart hopes for DC United.

Chivas USA and LA Galaxy – Is a pre-game prediction really needed for this one?  I’m sure Cabrera will do everything he can to prepare his team for the Galaxy – and these games have been known to be pretty tight at times.

All that said can Arena, Donovan, and the Galaxy really afford to throw away missing three points in this match-up?  I don’t see it… Galaxy should win but I don’t see the Galaxy looking to run the score up.

All for now – looking forward to the Sporting kickoff here in an hour or so…

Best, Chris

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What’s up with the Revolution?

It’s no secret that the New England Revolution have been on a seven game slide – nil pwa has become the routine where three points used to be the norm.

In their first 12 weeks of Major League Soccer the New England Revolution had won seven times, drawn twice and lost just three games; included in that stretch was a five game winning streak just before the skid began.

In their last seven games they’ve lost four games (three at home), to Eastern Conference teams, and three away games to Western Conference teams.

In considering that significant difference in results is there a corresponding difference in my Possession with Purpose Key Team Indicators in attack and defense?

I think so; but before offering thoughts on that here’s the Attacking PWP diagram for the Revolution in three categories: (Weeks 1-12, Weeks 13-19, and Total – Week 1-19)



Some thoughts based upon the Key Team Attacking Indicators:

Pretty clearly the amount of average possession has changed (in attack) for New England, in the last seven weeks, compared to the first 12 weeks; an increase in average overall possession by 7%.

What’s even more intriguing is that New England simply don’t win games when they out possess their opponent.

In the 19 games played New England have exceeded 51% possession seven times – and in each of those games they’ve lost!

Put another way – counter-attacking seems to suit this team when it comes to ‘results’ – or – the team has been behind, to begin with, too often and that game state has driven an increase in possession – indicating they are chasing the game.

Another interesting output has been their overall passing accuracy.

In the last seven games  their passing accuracy has increased by almost 8%.

For me that indicates they are playing shorter passes more frequently – again reinforcing the increase in possession percentage (a function of passing).

To continue, as the differences mount.

In this losing streak the Revolution have also increased their volume of passes in the opponent final third.

All told the average, in the seven straight losses, is 165 per game with a 32% completion rate versus 113 passes at 29% completion rate.

For me that indicates they might be playing too patient at times – looking for that perfect pass; when, with fewer passes and a lower completion rate they were scoring more goals.  A good indicator they were catching their opponent off-guard/out of position.

How about shots on goal per shots taken?

The Revolution are putting shots on goal, ~42% of the time, compared to just 27%, when having less possession and less penetration.

Again reinforcing that counter-attacking style of hitting the opponent on a quick attack after a change of possession.

Bottom line here is the Revolution goals scored average is .43 during this losing streak compare to 1.75 during the first twelve weeks.

Therefore it’s pretty clear to me that the Team Attacking PWP Key Indicators add value in isolating what might be happening during this losing streak.

With respect to Team Defending PWP Key Indicators; using the same three categories:



Most should know that the ‘goal not scored’ has more value than the ‘goal scored’; defense is critical to winning games.  So while the Revolution have issues in attack they also have issues in defense.

If New England possess the ball more, when they lose, then it would appear the opponent might be the one playing the counter-attacking style.

In other words, that increase in passing volume, and penetration volume, (by New England)  is influencing how often their fullbacks and perhaps central midfielders are over-committing in attack.

And the most telling team indicator to me, in that, is the significant increase in the opponents putting shots taken – on goal.

Nothing speaks more clearly to having ‘open space’ than a huge increase in shots on goal…  the percentage increase in the opponents shots taken being on goal goes from 26% to 46% – a whopping increase of 20%!

And that huge increase in shots on goal, has, clearly generated an increase in goals against.

During their losing streak the Revolution have averaged 2.43 goals against per game – while in the first 12 weeks they averaged just 1.17 goals against per game!

In closing…

Clearly the New England Revolution team performance indicators HAVE changed between Weeks 1-12 and Weeks 13-19.

Now I don’t focus on individual players – each team has a roster and it’s up to the coach to build that roster based upon the style of play they want to employ.

All I will offer here is that whoever is playing, on a regular basis, simply isn’t getting the job done.

And when I look at the overwhelming differences in team performance from weeks 1-12 to weeks 13-19 it is clearly… not just one player…

So is their an easy solution to right the ship?

Hard to say – but based upon these team indicators (while not actually watching New England play) I’d offer they need to be less aggressive in normal attack and look to counter as the opportunity presents itself – while… also playing a very strong defensive game.

None of that should require significant time in training between games…

Finally, I mentioned earlier that New England had lost three straight away games to Western Conference teams… that got my interest peaked on which conference might be strong or weaker at this point in the season.  So with that here’s some fun facts…

  • Western Conference Teams have taken 102 points against the East while Eastern Conference Teams have taken just 69 points against the West…
  • In basic math that pretty much translates to the Western Conference taking points from their Eastern Conference counterparts 60% of the time… not even by any stretch.
  • And, by the way, guess what one Eastern Conference team is doing very well against Western Conference teams this year – aye – Sporting Kansas City.  They are tops with 14 points against the west while DC United are 2nd best with nine points againt the West.
  • Might that explain why those two teams that are so high up the table in the Eastern Conference…!!!???

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:



As promised the CPWP PI Away Index:



Best, Chris

Next up Week 17 PWP in review…