Tim Parker kicks the ball long
Melissa Majchrzak-USA TODAY Sports

Which MLS teams play the highest percentage of long balls after the first two weeks of the 2020 season

One of the great things about Major League Soccer in its 25th season is there’s a variety of tactics and formations used throughout the league.

It’s not about the old-school 4-4-2 and looping long balls out of the back.

That’s not to say bypassing lines isn’t something in today’s modern game. It’s done to quickly get out of pressure, to quickly transition from defense to offense once a ball is won or to get that late equalizer.

So through the first two weeks of the MLS season, which team plays the most long balls?

The New York Red Bulls lead the league, as 21.92 percent of their passes have been long balls. Considering how strong the team is at winning duels and how quickly they look to transition to offense, that’s not much of a surprise.

The Philadelphia Union, who play similar to the Red Bulls, are fourth at 17.19 percent long balls.

It might surprise that expansion side Inter Miami CF are second at 18.79 percent, but consider Diego Alonso’s squad played with 10 men for 36 minutes on the road against D.C. United after Roman Torres was sent off for DOGSO.

Who is on the other side of the spectrum? The Portland Timbers, who only play long balls 9.46 percent of the time. They’re followed by Atlanta United (9.85), Nashville SC (10.64) and LAFC (11.95).

Check out the full list below.