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.

Monday, July 8, 2013

RSL Back Line Under the Microscope

It has been over a month since I took a close look at the RSL defenders. Without a weekend match to go over, I thought this would be the perfect time to revisit our back line and see how they are doing now. As a reminder, with the defense I look at minutes per conceded goal (MpCG) not minutes per team goal. With MpCG, the higher the number the better. Here are the player stats for MLS games:

Player Min Goals  MpCG
Maund 90 0 N/A
Beltran 1429 11 129.91
Mansally 368 3 122.67
Borchers 1260 12 105.00
Salcedo 451 5 90.20
Wingert 778 9 86.44
Schuler 1080 13 83.08
Watson-Siriboe 630 8 78.75
Palmer 683 10 68.30

For comparison sake, the team as a whole is giving up a goal every 95.00 minutes which is second best in team history. Maund is at the top of the list with the one match that he played being a shutout. Beltran's numbers continue to be very impressive. This is why I have been saying that when we look back at the players we lost for Gold Cup, it might be Beltran who we will miss the most.

Mansally's MpCG is also very high, although in somewhat limited minutes. I find this interesting as most people consider Palmer a better defender than Mansally. With Palmer having to sit out the next match with a red card suspension, RSL will have no choice but to give Mansally more time. If he plays well I would very much advocate he take over Palmer's spot as Beltran's backup.

Palmer's numbers really surprise me. I have liked Palmer when he has played. He really seems to be an offensive minded player. But in looking at the numbers, that might not be a good thing. Look at it this way: Beltran has played 746 more minutes than Palmer, but the team has only given up one more goal when he has played. That is pretty staggering. 

Here is a look at how the team does when a particular player is not on the field:

Player Min Not Played Goals  MpCG
Palmer 1039 8 129.88
Schuler 630 5 126.00
Watson-Siriboe 1080 10 108.00
Wingert 900 9 100.00
Salcedo 1259 13 96.85
Maund 1620 18 90.00
Mansally 1345 15 89.67
Borchers 450 6 75.00
Beltran 281 7 40.14

The number that totally shocked me in looking at this was Schuler's. The defense has played great since he has been injured. And prior to the team giving up two goals to Philadelphia, that number was at 180! The team needs Schuler to get healthy for added depth in the back line, but I am not sure if he should be put right back into the lineup.

Finally here is a look at the center back pairings and who plays best together.

Players Min Goals  MpCG
Borchers/Maund 90 0 N/A
Borchers/Schuler 540 5 108
Borchers/Salcedo 360 4 90
Schuler/Salcedo 90 1 90
Borchers/Watson-Siriboe 270 3 90
Schuler/Watson-Siriboe 360 5 72

I think the most interesting thing to take away from this is how many different combination that we have used this year. The fact that our defense has played so well with so little consistency with who is playing in the back line is pretty incredible. 

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