Central Winger: Pythagorean Expectation tested in MLS

Dr. Howard Hamilton's pythagorean expectation in focus
Central Winger: The doctor is in
Soccer Analytics

Union celebrate, Revs don't - Central Winger

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As soccer analytics continues its slow growth from infancy to childhood, it's natural for the movement to look at strides made in other sports and try to emulate them. Bill James’ Pythagorean Expectation is no exception.

30 October 1:32 pm

Notre émission de la semaine (à écouter ici) est entièrement consacrée à la première année de l’Impact de Montréal en Major League Soccer. Un bilan effectué avec des invités d’horizons très variés qui nous permettent de revenir sur la saison sous de nombreux angles différents :

Armchair Analyst: Philosophical differences for SJ, KC

2012's best teams take vastly different approaches to the game
Philosophical gap for SJ, KC
Armchair Analyst

SJ and KC - Analyst

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There is a philosophical concept called “embodied cognition,” and it is the one thing I remember from a class I took during my junior year of college. It was one of those classes taught by an enthusiastic, intelligent young professor who encouraged the students to argue past each other like it was a presidential debate.

In other words, it was a complete nightmare. The four people who’d taken Rhetoric 101 dominated while the rest of us huddled at our desks, trying to avoid eye contact and occasionally dozing off.

Analyst Extra: Donovan as playmaker still off the charts

Even if passion's dimmed, stats shows Landon Donovan still MLS' best
For Donovan, the abyss stares back
LD by the Numbers

Landon Donovan - Analyst

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About a year ago, I wrote this piece, titled “Will there be life after Landon?”

Central Winger: Finding context shines a light on crosses

The pass before the cross can end up making all the difference
Central Winger: Context on crosses
Soccer Analytics

EJ - Central Winger

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In chess, there is a concept called transposition which, according to Wikipedia, is "a sequence of moves that results in a position which may also be reached by another, more common sequence of moves.” In other words, it’s the road less traveled.

Looking at possible transpositions is important for chess computers because it reduces the amount of possible board variations that it needs to evaluate. For one particular board state – no matter the moves that came before it – the chess computer's move is always the same.

OPTA Spotlight: If not Jozy, what's plaguing US attack?

Statistics show US dominate the ball but lack a cutting edge
Punchless In Possession
Opta on US attack

Intentionally or not, Jurgen Klinsmann threw the dogs – media and fans, in this case – off the real scent on Monday when he announced his 24-man roster for what amount to must-win World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.

Central Winger: Are player position names still evolving?

Bringing new clarity to old terms like "holding" and "box-to-box"
Play Your Part
Defining positions

YP Lee for Central Winger

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade, you understand that soccer is now rarely played in banks of four with two strikers hovering ahead of them. One major tactical byproduct of the modern game has been the introduction of players that "play between the lines."

Naturally, we adapted our previous naming convention to include more "banks" of players. Instead of just the 4-4-2 or the 4-3-3, we began to identify derivatives such as the 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-1-2 as their own formations.

OPTA Spotlight: What can history tell us about #SKCvCHI?

Sporting ran roughshod over the Fire in June, yet lost. Why?
Dominance Is Not Enough
OPTA Spotlight

Dominance in soccer is a funny thing. After all, a distinct possession advantage, rampant chance creation and lock-down defense only truly matter if in the pursuit of goals. 

By just about any statistical definition – except, crucially, the one that matters most – Sporting Kansas City dominated the Chicago Fire in their last meeting at Livestrong Sporting Park on June 29.

HIGHLIGHTS: Pappa's goal the difference at LSP

Central Winger: With Tiffert, Sounders tidier in the final third

With Tiffert in the lineup, stats show that Seattle are noticeably tidier in the final third
Central Winger: Clean where it counts
The Tiffert Effect

Central Winger: Tiffert

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Since joining the Seattle Sounders in late July, Christian Tiffert has played 441 minutes across five starts and six total appearances. In these six matches, Seattle are 4-1-1 with a goal differential of plus-10. Like any statistician worth their salt, my first instinct is to try and append the "correlation doesn't imply causation" idiom to the conclusion.

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