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, June 19, 2013

Saving the Best For Last- When Does RSL Score Their Goals?

I was talking with a co-worker the other day about RSL when he brought up an interesting point. He told me he thought that the team really held back during and played more defensively the first half of games then really pushed for a goal in the second half. Now I didn't really agree with his assessment that the team played more defensively in the first half. But it did seem that we scored a lot more goals in the second half than the first. I thought I would dive into the numbers to see what I could find.

At this point in the season, RSL has scored 24 goals. Out of those 24, 8 were scored in the first half and the other 16 were scored in the second half. The average time that a goal is scored is in the 58th minute of the the match.

Now it doesn't shock me that the team would score more in the second half. There are many reasons for this. Offensive subs coming in with fresh legs will have a greater chance to break a defense down. As the game gets late, teams start throwing everything forward trying to get those last minute goals. But as I really started looking at the numbers, it surprised me by how much a difference there is between the first half and second half.

RSL has only scored in the first half in 5 of their 16 matches. Prior to the last two matches (against San Jose and LA), RSL had only scored 4 first half goals. The first half has really been a struggle for the RSL offense.

I then broke down when the goals were scored into 15 minute chunks of time to see when in each half the team was scoring.

Time 0-15 15-30 30-45 45-60 60-75 75-90
Goals Scored 3 1 4 3 3 11

I could not believe these numbers. 45% of all of RSL goals scored are scored in the final 15 minutes of the match! It is also interesting that RSL has only scored one goal between the 15th and 30th minute of matches played.

Things really get interesting when looking at the time goals are scored when individual players are playing. Here are the forwards and the average time a goal is scored when they are on the pitch.

Player Avg Time of goal
Saborio 72.17
Findley 44.00
Plata 50.00
Sandoval 55.31
Garcia 67.75

I was really surprised to see that goals are being scored earlier in the match when Findley is playing. But part of this number is due to the fact that many goals have been scored late after Findley has already come out of the match. The Saborio number is really interesting to me as well. The team scores very late when Saborio plays. The earliest goal that he has been on the field for was in the 53rd minute. 

I am still not completely convinced that RSL plays more defensively in the first half, but my co-worker might be on to something.  Although it would be great for RSL to get out to a lead earlier in matches, it is also nice to know that as the game gets late, RSL still has a great chance to score.


  1. This is really interesting, but is it common across the league to score late like that? I would be interested in seeing this stat on a team with a similar amount of goals this season.

    1. I might have to do some digging to see if I can find this out. I am going to keep track of this and will write an update later on in the season. I will include that information on that next post.