The throw-in is the second most common on-the-ball event in soccer, closely followed by the more traditional pass via the foot. Yet it's unsurprising that throw-ins are analyzed considerably less than the more rare set plays like free kicks and corner kicks.
Throw-ins aren't glamorous – but they are undoubtedly important. And the Houston Dynamo seem to have picked this low-hanging fruit.
As the calendar turned from 2011 to 2012, Eddie Johnson was running low on second chances.
A move to link up with former US teammate DaMarcus Beasley south of the border at Puebla had just fallen through, a bizarre turn in a career that had increasingly become defined by what wasn’t in the cards rather than by what lay ahead.
How often can you call an All-Star Game historic? Ground-breaking? Or even revolutionary?
Well, the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game will classify as all of the above, no matter who wins the match or whether or not a goal is even scored.
Unless you've been under a rock these last few weeks, you've likely heard about the Smart Soccer revolution that's being pioneered by adidas through their miCoach technology.
PHILADELPHIA – The final decision is Ben Olsen's, but that doesn't mean we can't take a crack at the starting lineup for Wednesday's AT&T MLS All-Star game (8:30 pm ET, ESPN2, TeleFutura, TSN/RDS in Canada; LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
Of course, instead of taking multiple aspects into consideration like Olsen – form, on-field chemistry, personal preference et al – this lineup is determined strictly by the numbers.
Last week, with the help of Opta chalkboards, we explored the possibilities that arise when we are able to determine how likely a pass is to be successfully completed based upon key metrics such as pass distance, location and angle. Using this model, we were able to determine which players tend to complete passes that the average MLS player would not.
There’s a certain strain of ludditism that runs through soccer fandom, a resistance to new and distinct ways of thinking about the game. In part that’s because quantifying the “mysteries of greatness” seems so far beyond our ways of understanding both physiology and the mentality of the typical player.
But the other part is that our collection of data is incomplete. Almost every movement in soccer (set pieces being the exception) is a unique situation, which flows into another unique situation, and so on and so forth.
NEW YORK – adidas and Major League Soccer today announced that MLS will integrate the adidas micoach Elite System league-wide in 2013, marking the world’s first “smart league.” The announcement comes ahead of the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, which is set to be the world’s first “smart game” integrating the micoach Elite System.
If you haven't already, give this morning's OPTA Spotlight on Danny Koevermans and his contributions to Toronto FC over the past year a quick read.
What will Toronto FC do now?
That was the question on most observers’ minds as Danny Koevermans lay in a crumpled heap clutching his left knee on the Gillette Stadium turf. And as the Dutch striker was carted off by stretcher, the answer to that question started to become clear: What ever TFC do, they’ll do it without their attacking talisman.
Weeks ago, we explored the argument that not all shots are made equal. In retrospect, this makes a lot of intuitive sense – a strike from the center of the six-yard box is a lot more likely to result in a goal compared to a header from outside the penalty area. Luckily, these events have happened enough times that we are able to quantify just how much danger each of these opportunities pose.