When Columbus and Portland face off this evening in MLS Cup, it will be a clash between two of the better passing teams in the league. Both feature midfields heavy on ball control, with international-caliber players pulling the strings supported by a back line that likes to get forward. In preparation for this game, I… Continue reading Exploring the passing tendencies of Columbus and Portland ahead of MLS Cup
This year’s American soccer season isn’t scheduled to end for a few weeks yet*, but my preparations for the off season have already started. Usually, the months between MLS Cup and the beginning of training camp are spent doing player scouting and filling in gaps in my data set. This year, however, I have something… Continue reading How I plan to spend the offseason
With the final weekend of the season coming up – dramatically branded Decision Day by the league office – this seems an appropriate time to update the Playing Time Evolution plots that I first published about a month ago.
Several months ago I wrote about a number of ways to visualize how often different players appear together. Since that writing I’ve continued to explore this question, and have revisited an older plot design that focuses on a single player and his or her teammates. This focus brings a measure of clarity that I would like to explore… Continue reading Comparing players’ teammates
The US Open Cup Final will be played tonight in Philadelphia. The game, between the hosting Union and Sporting Kansas City, will hopefully be an exciting finale to the 102nd edition of the tournament. This year’s event was the biggest in recent history, with 91 teams entering – including every American team from the three professional… Continue reading Taking it seriously: MLS and the US Open Cup
In my last post, I introduced a visualization that illustrates how playing time evolves as a season progresses. The feedback for that post was compelling enough that I decided to produce similar plots for every team in Major League Soccer.
Columbus Crew SC will play host to FC Dallas this weekend in a game that will be nationally televised on Fox Sports 1. While the game is still several days away, and will feature two clubs in third place in their conferences and fighting for playoff seeding, much of the conversation ahead of the game has instead… Continue reading Columbus – Dallas, and the question of lineup stability
There is a narrative about Major League Soccer that describes an emerging financial arms race between its teams. The Designated Player Rule, instituted in 2007 with the arrival of David Beckham, has allowed teams additional flexibility to spend larger sums of money on key players. Every team in the league has taken advantage of this… Continue reading Examining whether teams in MLS must spend big to succeed
I was inspired the other day by something Steve Fenn (@StatHunting on Twitter) wrote about analytics in soccer: IMO it’d be better if a club’s analytics 1st made sure metric was predictive, or at least repeatable. — Steve Fenn (@StatHunting) July 28, 2015 This question of repeatability is something that resonated with me, so I… Continue reading League Parity, and Repeatability of Points Per Game
The week of the All-Star Game is upon us. Most teams in Major League Soccer hit the midway point of their season a few weeks back, the Gold Cup just finished, and the CONCACAF Champions League is starting soon. This seems a decent time to step back from the season, take stock of the trends… Continue reading Comparing MLS Goalscoring Rates to Recent History