2018 MLS season continues high-scoring start through Week 6

We talked about the goalfest to start the 2018 MLS season back in Week 2, and there's been little to slow down the matches since then.

High-scoring matches in Week 6 including the comeback in Orlando and Atlanta United's demolition of LAFC. Those two matches helped keep the average for the season above three goals per game. The 3.11 average is well above where the average was at similar points in the season since 2010.

Goals per game through ~6 weeks

It's not just the goals that are up. MLS teams are scoring more goals because they are creating more chances than they have typically in the past. Numbers provided by Opta show that the expected goals average per match is in line with the uptick in goals, outpacing what we have seen at similar points in the season since 2015.

Year Goals/Game xG/Game
2015 2.09 2.26
2016 2.58 2.77
2017 2.84 2.48
2018 3.11 3.13

Those numbers also show that the goals are not coming just because of some incredible finishing. Matches would be expected to average 3.13 goals per game based on the quality of the chances that were created. The amount of goals being scored is actually .02 less than that. Compare to that to last season, when matches were averaging .36 more goals than they would be expected to on average, or 2015 and 2016 when matches were averaging less than they would be expected to.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, some of the top leagues in the world are ending their seasons. When taking a look at the expected goals those matches are averaging, we can see that the start to MLS season has produced more goals and more chances.

League Goals/Game xG/Game
MLS 3.11 3.13
EPL 2.72 2.55
Bundesliga 2.71 2.73
La Liga 2.68 2.68
Serie A 2.68 2.58
Ligue 1 2.64 2.61

If the season continues as it has started, we could see the highest goals per game average since 2001. We'll just have to wait to see how the remaining 338 games go.