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