Welcome to From The Upper Deck, my blog about RSL and soccer in general. I have a lot of passion for the beautiful game. I am just a fan that likes to sit in the upper deck and take it all in.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Value of a Good Forward

The year is 2008. This year in RSL history we saw the strike partnership of Robbie Findley and "Dr. Goals" Kenny Deuchar. During that time in my fandom I spent a lot of time on bigsoccer.com. During one point, there was a lot of negativity going around for Deuchar. While I conceded that he was not scoring many goals himself, it just seem to me that the team played better when he was on the field. He just seemed to make a lot of plays that led to goals.

So I came up with a process to determine how effective the team plays when a particular forward is on the field. It is kind of basic, but here is what I looked at. I looked at each match we played. For each forward I made a note of how many goals were scored while they were in the match (not how many goals they scored, but how many goals the team scored). Then I made another note for how many goals were scored while they were not in the match. This gave me a basic understanding of how well our offense would run while each forward was actually on the pitch

Now I understand this is a very basic look at things from a very high level. There are many other factors that go into how well a player is playing. But I do think there are things to be learned from these numbers. I thought it would be fun to follow our forwards this year to see how they were doing by using my formula. 

First though, I thought it would be fun to look at last years crop of forwards to see how they did. As a team, RSL averaged scoring a goal every 66.52 minutes. Here is a break down of each forward that played significant minutes. 

Saborio: When Sabo was on the field we scored a goal every 61.26 minutes. When he was off the field we scored every 95.86 minutes.

Espindola: When Espy was on the pitch for us we scored every 70.47 minutes. When we was not playing we scored every 69.55 minutes.
Paulo Jr: When PJ was playing we scored every 79 minutes. When not playing we scored every 60.03 minutes. 
Bonfigli: When Bonfigli played we scored every 70.4 minutes. When not playing we scored every 66.05.

So what do these numbers tell us? Well, we didn't score when Sabo didn't play. I think we all knew that. But I found it very interesting that we had a higher scoring rate when Espy didn't play than when he did. It is the same with our other forwards (We pretty much sucked when PJ was on the pitch). 

I then ran the numbers for this year. Granted we are very early into the season but this is what I found out. Our team average is currently at a goal every 90 minutes. Here is the break down of the forwards.

Sabo: RSL is scoring every 89 minutes that Sabo is on the pitch. When off they are scoring every 91.5.

Findley: RSL is scoring a goal in every 301 minutes that he is playing. When not playing RSL is scoring every 37.25 minutes.
Plata: RSL is scoring a goal in every 55.5 minutes. When not playing RSL scores every 228 minutes. 
Sandoval: RSL scores every 40.33 minutes that Sandoval plays. When not playing every 164.5 minutes. 

Again, what are we learning from this? Well, until he scored against Seattle, Robbie Findley had not been on the pitch when RSL had scored. And it seems that balls get into the back of the net when Plata and Sandoval are playing. 

It is very early and these numbers will change greatly after each match in the beginning. I think I will try and calculate these out every month or so. Please let me know what you all think. You can find the results that I ran on bigsoccer from 2008-2010 here.

-Charles (ccb1212)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Seattle at RSL (3-30-2013) Recap

On Saturday night RSL got back to their winning ways with a dominate 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders. The match saw the return of Javier Morales to the pitch as well as a coming out party for Devon Sandoval who had his first MLS start.

There were so many good things that came from this match. If it wasn't for the brilliant play of Seattle keeper Michael Gspurning, RSL might have had five or more goals. The offense played at a level that we have not seen in a long time. It was great to see Robbie Findley get a goal, but then it was heartbreaking to have to see him leave the game so quickly afterwards.

The play that lead to Gil's goal was a thing of beauty. I was really happy that Gil was able to put one away as  it has seemed that every match he has had a least one good chance on goal. This might be the thing that really gets him going.

I thought the midfield play overall was wonderful. Unlike against Dallas where it seemed like we were bypassing the midfield completely, in this match the midfield simply dominated. I thought that both Grabavoy and Velasquez both had a very good match. The back four played solid as well with Mansally having what I thought was his best match in an RSL uniform.

The highlight of the night for me was the play of Devon Sandoval. He has impressed me every time I have seen him play and he really stepped up for his first start. His work rate is outstanding. As I have said in the past, his positioning is great for such a young player. The way he plays with his other teammates on the pitch is also wonderful. He is always making that last little pass that springs his teammates in on goal.

The only down side that I saw in that match was from Joao Plata. Don't get me wrong, I think he did play well. But he had two one-on-one's with Gspurning and was unable to put either one away. He has to do a better job with those. I think the thing that bothered me the most was that after those two chances he almost became too determined to score. It got to the point that he was taking poor shots when he should have looked for his teammates instead.

This was a huge win in the early season for RSL. They really needed to get three points at home against a struggling Seattle team. With the heavy road schedule at the first of the year for RSL, it is very important to get as many points as they can from their home matches.

-Charles (ccb1212)