Central Winger: Houston have a weapon on the throw-in

Dynamo are on a roll, and here's a majorly overlooked reason why
Central Winger: Houston's secret weapon
Soccer analytics

Brad Davis - Central Winger

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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.

OPTA Spotlight: How EJ rediscovered himself in Seattle

Seattle, Rosales help revive Johnson's previously sputtering career
Finally Grown
EJ's return to grace

OPTA Spotlight: Eddie Johnson

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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.

25 July 12:26 pm

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. 

OPTA Spotlight: Who the stats say should start vs. Chelsea

If Ben Olsen only took the numbers into consideration, these players would make up the MLS 11
Opta Spotlight: Who stats say should start vs. Chelsea

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

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.

Central Winger: New model illustrates passing tendencies

Improved model illustrates MLS attacking, possession tendencies
Central Winger: New model illustrates passing tendencies
Soccer Analytics

Zusi - Central Winger

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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.

Armchair Analyst: How smart, exactly, is adidas' miCoach?

Introduction of adidas' miCoach opens new data streams for MLS
How smart is "smart soccer"?
Armchair Analyst

Lampard goal - Analyst

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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.

MLS, adidas to launch first "smart soccer league" in 2013

adidas micoach Elite System to debut at 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, fully integrated in 2013
This Is Smart Soccer

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. 

OPTA Spotlight: Koevermans out, now what for Toronto?

Can TFC replace the production of talismanic striker Koevermans?
OPTA Spotlight: Toronto's dilemma
Now what for TFC?

OPTA Spotlight: Koevermans

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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.

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