Central Winger: Backe's adjustments pay off vs. LA

McCarty's shift to true defensive midfield role key for RBNY
Backe's adjustments pay off vs. LA
Soccer Analytics

McCarty - Central Winger

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

Sitting in the stands last month at Red Bull Arena, watching New York face New England, I had the chance to see Thierry Henry's fantastic, looping finish over Matt Reis – quickly followed by the Frenchman pulling his hamstring and being replaced in the 25th minute. While New York continued on to a victory against the Revs, consensus was that’d be the last three points RBNY picked up for quite a while.

OPTA Spotlight: San Jose's proclivity for providing service

Quakes' attacking prowess result of proclivity for providing service
San Jose's proclivity for providing service
OPTA Spotlight

Each week, and OPTA will highlight one aspect or trend from that weekend’s action using analytics and events during the match to explain what forces are at play and how they pertain to the big picture.

Castrol Weekly Top 20: Santos rises above them all

United striker claims No. 1 spot thanks to brace vs. Dynamo
Par For The Course
Castrol Index Wk. 8

Maicon Santos - Castrol Index

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

When you look at the track record of former Toronto FC players, what Maicon Santos is doing this year for D.C. United isn’t all that remarkable.

After all, guys like Edson Buddle, Conor Casey, Dwayne De Rosario, Jeff Cunningham – believe me, the list goes on, and on, and on – have gotten the post-TFC career bump, resulting in Golden Boots, MVPs, Supporters’ Shields and MLS Cups.

Central Winger: Whose goal is best? It's all about timing

How much value does a golazo deserve in terms of winning games?
Central Winger: For what it's worth
Soccer Analytics

Juninho - Central Winger

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

In Week 6, David Beckham's curling, 91st-minute golazo put the LA Galaxy ahead of the Portland Timbers 3-1. This goal was spectacular – vintage Beckham – and won the AT&T Goal of the Week by collecting 73.8 percent of the votes. However, Beckham's shot overshadowed the absolutely crucial go-ahead goal scored by his teammate Juninho just a few minutes earlier.

On the score sheet, each of these goals count as a single tally for each player. But are each of these goals truly worth the same?

01 May 10:19 am

À en croire les déclarations de l’entraîneur et des joueurs de Montréal avant le match de samedi dernier, Portland est une équipe physique très menaçante sur coups de pieds arrêtés. Vraiment ?

Central Winger: Defensive concerns plague TFC, NY

Model shows TFC, Red Bulls allowing far more than they should
Defensive Deficiencies
Soccer Analytics

Pontius - Central Winger

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of D.C. United

Last week, this column introduced a simple model that predicts how likely a shot is to result in a goal. Based upon descriptors such as distance from goal and if the shot resulted from a header, and trained with all of last year's MLS shooting data collected by OPTA, we were able to compare each player's goal total to the amount of goals that the player was expected to score based upon the quality of their opportunities.

24 April 11:20 am

Deux autobuts et de nombreux autres buts offerts directement par l’adversaire ou résultant d’erreurs des gardiens et joueurs de l’équipe qui encaisse, les cadeaux ont été nombreux lors de la dernière journée.

OPTA Spotlight: Examining TFC's defensive struggles

Reds' 3-2 loss to Chicago highlighted reasons why Toronto can't stop conceding goals
OPTA Spotlight: TFC's defensive struggles
OPTA Spotlight

At the beginning of each week, and OPTA will highlight one aspect or trend from that weekend’s action using analytics and events during the match to explain what forces are at play and how they pertain to the big picture.

Pardon the hackneyed phrase, but pinpointing the source of Toronto FC’s defensive struggles in 2012 isn’t exactly rocket science.

23 April 6:19 pm

Toronto FC came out in their normal 4-3-3 lineup against Chicago minus Danny Koevermans and Nick Soolsma. Crossing has been a huge inconsistency for Toronto which makes it even more perplexing as to why they keep doing it. According to @OptaJack, TFC are attempting the most crosses by any team in 2012.

Central Winger: Shot efficiency and MLS scoring leaders

Kamara less than clinical, but Sporting KC thriving anyway
Profligacy Problem
Soccer Analytics

Kamara - Central Winger

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

Not all shots are made the same.

I remember playing a college soccer game away at a specific school that was particularly frustrating. The gentleman running the soccer-specific scoreboard – which included things such as "shots" – enjoyed being particularly liberal when crediting the home team with a shot. By half time, the scoreboard read 20 shots to one – but only 1-0 in favor of the home team. At this point (even without the egregious score keeping), it was clear to me that shots mean nothing. At least, without added context.

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