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.

Central Winger: Who is the most effective passer in MLS?

Who is MLS' most effective passer? Answer might surprise you
Man With A Plan
MLS' best passer?

Central Winger: Dax McCarty

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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.

OPTA Spotlight: Who's midseason favorite for MLS MVP?

At the season's midpoint, who's the frontrunner for MLS MVP?
OPTA: Wondo or De Ro for MVP?
Midseason MVP?

Last week, we asked the editorial staff to cast their midseason votes for MLS’ Most Valuable Player award. Two players were consistent presences at No. 1 and No. 2: San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski and D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario.

Central Winger: How much is a consistent lineup worth?

Lineup juggling proves to be ineffective for MLS managers
Familiarity Breeds Success
Soccer Analytics

SKC - Central Winger

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Some teams have the luxury of trotting out a consistent starting lineup week after week. Some do not – usually either as a result of excessive injury concerns or consecutive poor showings.

OPTA Spotlight: Goals are up, but what does it really mean?

Goals per game are up in MLS, but what does it really mean?
In Pursuit Of Paydirt
OPTA Spotlight

Here's an encouraging statistic no matter how you dissect it: Scoring is up 12 percent in Major League Soccer through the first four months of 2012.

Thus far into the season, teams are scoring at a clip of 2.64 per game through 146 regular-season contests. That's a figure that's up from 2.36 per game over the same period in 2011. But if goals keep finding the nets at this rate, the overall improvement over last season will only be 3 percent.

Central Winger: Church of Bielsa comes to MLS in 2012

How high pressure has hopped the pond to MLS in 2012
Church Of Bielsa
Soccer Analytics

Bielsa - Central Winger

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I'm not going to say that building out of the back is a bad thing. Some of the most memorable goals in league – and world – history have come from long sequences that started with a simple pass from the central defense.

But it may not be the most efficient thing. The vast majority – 71 percent – of goalscoring possessions have originated in the offensive half of the field this season. Only 13 percent have originated in the defensive third.

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