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.

Central Winger: Finding the No. 8 for Klinsmann's midfield

Who are the top candidates to become the USMNT's new Claudio Reyna in midfield
Central Winger: New No. 8 for Klinsmann?
USMNT's new Reyna?

Zusi, Davis, Nagbe - Central Winger

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There are five MLS representatives on Jurgen Klinsmann's US national team squad set to take on Jamaica this week and next. Two are goalkeepers. A third is a probable starting defensive midfielder. The fourth is a winger.

Armchair Analyst: And down the stretch they come...

How you start matters, but how you finish is what's remembered forever in MLS
Armchair Analyst: Down the stretch they come
Great Stretch Runs

Armchair Analyst: Supporters' Shield

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SAN FRANCISCO -- "You can't win a title in March, but you sure can lose one."

Central Winger: Secondary pass completion rate

Secondary pass completion rate in MLS dominated by defense
Central Winger: Pass before the pass
Soccer Analytics

RBNY vs. Chivas Overhead - Central Winger

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The completion of a pass has a strong argument for being the most integral part of team success. No matter a team's style – route one at one extreme, tiki-taka at the other – completing your attempted passes at a high rate generally means that your team is successful in what it is trying to accomplish. By extension, analysts and fans alike have begun to look at player-specific pass completion rates as a decent proxy for player skill.

OPTA Spotlight: After breakout, what changed for Shea?

After a breakout 2011 season, what changed for Dallas' rising star?
OPTA Spotlight: Shifting perceptions of Shea
Shea: 2011 vs. 2012

This time a year ago, Brek Shea was the poster boy of the American development system.

Here was a physically overwhelming prospect – 6-foot-3, rangy with speed and agility to burn – who had honed his abilities with the US U-17s in Bradenton, Fla., before jumping to Major League Soccer as a raw, but extremely promising, 17-year-old.

The trajectory was steadily upwards from that point, and by the 2011 season, Shea was ready for his breakout campaign.

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