Over the weekend I described the process I’m using to simulate MLS seasons, and the odds that a team reaches the playoffs. After using this tool for most of this year, I’ve recently tried extending this work to look at how team projections change during a season.
How I’m simulating playoff odds
Over the course of this season I’ve been occasionally running simulations of how the rest of the Major League Soccer season might end up. The feedback I’ve gotten from this work has been generally positive, and a number of people have asked about my methodology. This post is, finally, my attempt to explain the process… Continue reading How I’m simulating playoff odds
Exploring the passing tendencies of Columbus and Portland ahead of MLS Cup
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
Examining whether teams in MLS must spend big to succeed
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
League Parity, and Repeatability of Points Per Game
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
Comparing MLS Goalscoring Rates to Recent History
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
Lineup Continuity and Points Per Game
Several years ago, I wrote about the importance of continuity in a team’s lineup over the course of the season. The piece has since been taken down (it will soon be republished on this site), but the thrust of the argument was that the most successful teams in Major League Soccer were able to… Continue reading Lineup Continuity and Points Per Game
Plotting individual playing time against goal difference
I started working with a new type of impact plot tonight, looking specifically at playing time compared against team goal difference. Dots representing each player are plotted along two axes: the horizontal axis records how much of the season the player has seen, while the vertical axis indicates the team’s goal difference during the player’s time… Continue reading Plotting individual playing time against goal difference
Revisiting player use in World Cup qualifying cycles
Just before the start of the World Cup, I posted an exploration of the United States’ roster through its last five qualifying cycles. Now that the tournament has finished, here is an updated version that includes the four games played by Jurgen Klinsmann’s team.
Examining players used in World Cup qualifying cycles
The American roster for the World Cup has been named, and the intense discussion over Donovan’s exclusion (and that of Eddie Johnson before him) has begun to subside. This seems an opportune time to look back over how this World Cup cycle compares to the last few.