What Expected Goals can tell us about Week 2 in MLS

Atlanta United FC ran roughshod over Minnesota United FC in the snow on Sunday, dominating the Loons to the tune of 6-1.

Josef Martinez scored three of the six goals, with Miguel Almiron providing two and Jacob Peterson providing the capper. On the day, it was clear that Atlanta were far and away the best team on the field.

The expected goals model provided by Opta shows that the scoreline got out of hand partly due to the fact that Atlanta’s finishing was so superb. Their xG output was just 2.14, which was lower than the ones produced by the Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew SC this weekend.

Individually, based on the shots that he took on Sunday, Martinez had an xG value of just 1.2 so the fact that he scored a hat trick showed how special he was on the day. Almiron’s finishing was even more impressive as his two goals came off two shots that had a total xG value of just .26.

On the other side, Minnesota had an xG output of 1.70 with a big chunk of that (.78) coming from Kevin Molino’s penalty kick.

Another team on Sunday also benefitted from special finishing as New York City FC scored four goals against D.C. United. In total, Patrick Vieira’s team would have been expected to score only one based on the chances they created. David Villa’s two goals were some of the best finishes of the weekend, helped by subpar goalkeeping on his second, while Maxi Moralez showed why he could be a major factor for NYC this year with his goal.

Take a look at the xG values from Week 2 and draw your own conclusions on each team's performance over the weekend thanks to data provided by Opta. Two important notes: penalties have a value of .78 and own goals are not factored into the values.

Game Result Home xG Away xG
Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake 2-0 .60 1.23
New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids 1-0 1.28 .18
Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC 2-2 2.00 1.56
Montreal Impact vs. Seattle Sounders 2-2 1.27 2.04
Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew SC 3-1 1.02 2.18
Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas 0-0 .91 .70
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-2 1.38 .46
New York City FC vs. D.C. United 4-0 1.08 .71
Minnesota United FC vs. Atlanta United FC 1-6 1.70 2.14
LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers 0-1 .71 2.20
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