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, August 28, 2013

Statistically Speaking- Olmes Garcia

This has been a season of surprises for RSL. In a year that many thought would be a rebuilding year, RSL has come out and shattered offensive records and sits atop the league in the race for the Supporters Shield. One of the biggest surprises on the season has been the play of Olmes Garcia.

Garcia was signed towards the end of the pre-season. Very little was known of the 20 year old striker when he was signed by the team. There were no expectations for him for this season. Many people thought he would see very little playing time or perhaps not play at all.
Garcia with a header challenge in a reserve
match earlier this season.
It wasn't until his first MLS match that people sat up and took notice. In fact, on his very first touch in MLS he put a header off the crossbar. Three weeks later Garcia scored his first MLS goal against Vancouver. On the play that scored the goal, Garcia showed his speed, ball handling ability, and a beautiful shot that got him nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.  By this point, the fan base was starting to understand the diamond in the rough that RSL had found. Garcia has quickly moved on to become a vital part of RSL and a huge fan favorite.

Garcia's stats are off the charts. I thought it would be good to really dive in to see all the things that Garcia is doing well.

Garcia has played 831 minutes so far this season. He already has an impressive 5 goals on the season which comes out that he is scoring .54 goals every 90 minutes played. That is the second best scoring rate on the team. That is a very impressive number for such a young player playing his first season in MLS.

What is more impressive is how well the team plays as a whole when he is in the game. During those 831 minutes, the team has scored 21 times, that comes out to a goal every 39.57 minutes that Garcia plays. That is the best on the team by 4 minutes per goal (Velasquez is next at 43.56). As a starter, Garcia has played 539 minutes with the team scoring 10 goals in that time period (a goal every 53.90 minutes) which is a good number for a starter. What is most impressive is seeing how well he has done coming off the bench. He has played 292 minutes as a sub. In that time, RSL has scored 11 times! That is a goal every 26.55 minutes.

Garcia is very active when he is in the match. On the season he is averaging 3.14 shots per 90 minutes that he plays. This is second highest on the team (Sabario is at 3.81). He is averaging 1.30 shots on goal per 90 minutes played which is also second highest on the team only behind Saborio's 1.45.

Garcia's assist statistics are also very impressive. With 4 assists on the year he is averaging .43 assists per 90 minutes played. That is the highest assist rate on the team! This is a huge part of Garcia's game that has flown under the radar. As he showed in the game against Columbus, the is very good at crossing the ball into dangerous spots.

Another very impressive stat that he has is his COR score. Currently Garcia has a COR score of -24.59 (the lower the number the better). Not only is Garcia one of only three players with a COR score below zero, but his score is almost 20 points below the next best player (Morales at -5.61). This shows that Garcia has great statistics all the way around.

Finally there is something that Garcia does very well that I don't have a stat for. The best way I describe it is that he forces defenders to make mistakes. I can't count how many times I have seen Garcia pressure a defender and that defender either gives up the ball or just kicks the ball out of bounds to avoid Garcia from stealing it. He has also created two penalty kicks on the season.

The exciting thing for RSL fans is that Garcia is still so young and should only continue to get better. The future is bright for Olmes Garcia.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Saborio Conundrum- Could RSL be a better team without Sabo in the lineup?

Who is the best striker on RSL? That is a very easy question to answer. Without a doubt RSL's best striker is Alvaro Saborio. Not only is he RSL's best striker, he is one of the best strikers in the league. He is scoring goals left and right for the team this season. Of course Sabo is the best striker at RSL. The next question is a little harder to answer. Could RSL actually be a better team when Saborio is not playing?

What? Are you crazy? There is no way that RSL is better without Sabo. What are you smoking? Are you one of those "Trade Sabo" guys?

Just hold on a second and hear me out. First let me preface this by saying I am a big fan of Sabo. And in no way do I buy into the "Trade Sabo" argument. And to be honest, I am not even saying that RSL is better without Sabo. But looking at the stats raises some interesting questions. Lets look at both sides of things (the team with and without Saborio) and then see what conclusions can be found. 

Saborio has played 12 games so far for RSL and has scored 9 goals on the season. That comes out to a .82 goals per 90 minutes played. That is an amazing stat. That is the both the highest scoring rate in the league as well as a club record. He is leading the team in shots per 90 minutes and shots on goal per 90 minutes. He also has two assists on the year.

When Saborio plays, he is the focus of the offense. RSL has scored 15 goals while Sabo is on the field. With Sabo scoring 9 goals that means 60% of goals scored are his goals. After factoring in his two assists, Sabo was involved in 73% of the goals scored when he plays.

All of these numbers are really impressive. But there is another side of things that makes you wonder if Sabo is too much of the offense.

On the season Sabo has played 991 minutes. Like I mentioned above the team has scored 15 goals in that time. That comes out to a goal every 68.79 minutes. He has not played 1439 minutes on the season. In that time the team has scored 33 goals or a goal every 43.61 minutes. That is a pretty big difference. And by this point of the season there is a pretty good sample size to look at.

But, there are more stats that raise some questions. One of the highlights this season has been the increased goal scoring productivity from the midfield. RSL midfielders have scored 22 total goals on the season. But while Saborio has been on the field, the midfield has only scored 3 times. Here is another way to look at it: Midfielders are scoring at a rate of a goal every 75.73 minutes when Sabo is not playing. When he is playing that number drops to a goal every 330.33 minutes for the midfielders.

One final stat to consider. When Saborio plays, RSL has a record of 4-4-4. When he doesn't play, RSL's record is 9-4-2.

So what does it all mean? It is hard to tell for sure. My thinking is that when Saborio doesn't play everybody else thinks that they have to step up their game. The midfield pushes higher up into the attack and the team scores more. When he is playing, does the rest of the team feel that he will carry them through? I am not sure.

The feeling would have been justified last year. Sabo was the offense. He had 17 goals and 3 assists on the season. When he played, the team scored a goal every 61.26 minutes. When he didn't play that number dropped to 95.86 minutes. I think it is interesting to note that the team scoring rate while Sabo is on the field is only a little higher this season compared to last season.

But the makeup of the team is very different this season than last. The team doesn't need Sabo to carry them when he plays. Saborio is a lethal striker. But we have seen how potent the offense can be when the team is getting goals from the midfielders and the strikers. The question is: Can there be a blending of the two where Sabo is just as effective but we also continue to get production from other players on the field? RSL will be even more dangerous than they are right now if this can happen.

Back to my original question - is RSL a better team when Saborio is not playing? To be honest I am not sure. Even after seeing all the stats it still sounds crazy to me that the team might be better without him. But the stats are pretty convincing. I would love to hear any opinions on the subject.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Crunching the Numbers- Columbus

When it comes to looking at the stats after an RSL match, not all matches are created equal. Sometimes it can be a chore to find interesting stats after a low scoring loss. And then there are matches like the Columbus match which is at the other end of the spectrum. After a 4-0 win there are so many interesting stats to look at and so many things that jump out to me. So to fit them all in, here is an extended version of Crunching the Numbers.
  • RSL has now scored 48 goals in 2430 minutes or a goal every 50.63 minutes. RSL has now set a club record for the most goals in a season.
  • The team has given up 33 goals or a goal every 73.64 minutes.
  • RSL has scored 23 goals at home (1.77 goals per game) and 25 goals on the road (1.79 goals per game).
  • Over the past nine games, RSL has scored 20 times or a goal every 40.50 minutes.
  • RSL midfielders have now scored 22 times on the season. Last season they only accounted for 13 total goals.
  • RSL now has seven players with 4 goals or more on the team. Last season the team only had three players with 4 or more goals.
  • The team has now scored 19 goals after the 75th minute in matches. This accounts for 39.58% of all goals scored.
  • Devon Sandoval and Olmes Garcia have now played 282 minutes together. During that time RSL has scored 8 times or a goal every 35.25 minutes.
  • Garcia has now played 831 minutes total. During that time the team has scored 21 goals or a goal every 39.57 minutes.
  • Garcia now has 4 assists on the season. That comes out to .43 assists per 90 minutes that he plays. This is the best assist rate on the team. 
  • Sandoval has played 619 minutes as a starter. During that time the team has scored 12 times or a goal every 51.58 minutes. This is the best among all starting strikers. 
  • Sebastian Velasquez has now played 179 minutes off the bench. During that time RSL has scored 10 times or a goal every 17.90 minutes.
  • Carlos Salcedo has now played 811 minutes. During that time the team has given up 9 goals or a goal every 90.11 minutes. This is best among all center backs on the team.
  • RSL is a +18 when Javier Morales is on the field.
  • Cole Grossman has played 11 minutes the past two matches. The team has scored 2 goals during that time or a goal every 5.50 minutes. Not too shabby.
  • RSL has yet to play in a 0-0 match this season. Last season they played in four regular season matches and one playoff game that ended with a 0-0 score line.

RSL's offense continues to be on fire. Not only did they break their all-time scoring mark, they did it with 7 matches left in the season. Their scoring rate of 50.63 is almost 10 minutes better than their previous all time best season. That is incredible to think about especially when Alvaro Saborio has missed 15 matches over the course of the season.

A lot of the credit to the offensive explosion has to go to the RSL midfield. Never before in team history has the team gotten so much production from the midfield.  So far this season nine different players have played in the midfield for RSL. Of those players, seven have scored goals. 

All of Garcia's numbers are unbelievable. Everyone has been talking about his offensive game in regards to goals being scored. But I was shocked when I noticed his assist rate. At the moment Garcia is scoring 0.54 goals per 90 minutes and 0.43 assists. Looking at it that way, his play is directly leading to a goal almost every 90 minutes he is in a match.  

Velasquez really needs to be looked at as a super sub off the bench. The interesting thing is that he has really struggled as a starter. The team is scoring at a rate of a goal every 76.43 minutes when he is playing as a starter.  But the spark that he brings off the bench cannot be denied. The offense seems to pick up every time they bring him into a match. He was directly involved in both goals that were scored after he came in against Columbus.

I really like the strike partnership of Garcia and Sandoval. They seem to have really good chemistry when they pair together up top. Although Sandoval might not be the most technical or speedy forward that we have, I do feel his size and work rate are a real value to the team when Saborio is not available. I don't think that he plays really well together with Saborio but while Saborio is out I hope that he gets more playing time. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Man in the Middle Ref Preview- RSL vs Portland

Referee Preview:
 Baldomero Toledo

Friday August 30, 2013

Rio Tinto Stadium

RSL vs Portland

2013 MLS Matches Ref 15
Total Y’s 50
Total R’s 11
PK’s 3
Seasons Pro Ref 8

2013 Portland Refed Results: 2-1 W vs. LA Galaxy

2013 RSL Refed Results: None

A few highlights from Salazar’s profile:

Center Official for 2008 MLS Cup Final.
Center Official for 2010 MLS Cup Final.

The match tonight will see on of the most experienced refs that MLS has manning the middle. Toledo has had a tendency to issue cards in matches he is reffing. Currently he is averaging .73 red cards a match over the course of the 2013 season and 3.33 yellows. With that many cards issued it is interesting that he has only awarded 3 penalty kicks on the year. The 11 red cards are the most red cards given out this season by an MLS ref.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Crunching the Numbers- Portland

RSL came back down a man Wednesday night in dramatic fashion to get a 3-3 tie with Portand. Although the point is very helpful for RSL, Ned Grabavoy said it best when he mentioned that it kept Portand from getting two more points. There are some really interesting numbers coming out of the match. Lets take a look in the bonus edition this week of Crunching the Numbers.
  • RSL has now scored 44 goals in 2340 minutes. That comes out to a goal every 53.18 minutes. 44 goals passes the total goals scored in 2009 (43) and ties the amount of goals scored in 2011. The most goals ever scored by the team was 46 last year but the best scoring rate was in 2010 when the team scored a goal every 60.00 minutes. 
  • RSL has now give up 33 goals on the season or a goal every 70.91 minutes. If this number holds, it will be our worst defensive rate since 2007. If anyone is wondering, the club record for goals given up was in 2005 when the team gave up a goal every 44.31 minutes.
  • RSL has now scored 19 goals at home or 1.58 goals a game. On the road RSL has scored 25 times or 1.78 goals per game.
  • Over the past 8 MLS matches, RSL is scoring at a rate of a goal every 42.35 minutes. 
  • RSL midfielders have scored 19 times this season. Last season the midfield only contributed for 13 goals on the season. 
  • The team has now scored 17 goals between the 75th minute and the end of the match. That represents 38.64% of all the goals scored. In comparison between the 15th and 30th minute of matches, RSL has only scored 3 goals. 
  • RSL also finishes the half well. They have scored 10 goals between the 30th and 45th minutes.
  • Overall Olmes Garcia has played a total 769 minutes. During that time the team has scored 19 goals or a goal every 40.47 minutes. As a sub, Garcia has played 292 minutes with the team scoring 11 goals or a goal every 26.55 minutes.
  • Garcia and Joao Plata have played 329 minutes together. During that time RSL has scored 10 goals or a goal every 32.90 minutes. 
  • Tony Beltran has played 1699 minutes. During that time RSL has given up 18 goals or a goal every 94.39 minutes. This is the best defensive rate on the team.
  • For centerbacks the best defensive rating on the team is Chris Schuler. When Schuler plays, RSL has been giving up a goal every 83.08 minutes.
We are seeing things out of this RSL offense that we have never seen before. All time club records will begin to fall in the next game or two if RSL continues to score at the pace that they have been. In the last 8 matches, RSL has scored an incredible 17 times. Over the course of their first 18 matches, RSL only scored 16 times.

Garcia has not scored in a while for the team but statistically his numbers are through the roof. The team just continues to score when ever he is on the field. Let's look at his numbers another way. He has played 769 minutes which is 33% of the total minutes that RSL has played. Logical thinking would lead you to believe that if a player played 33% of all minutes that he would have been on the field for 33% of all goals as well. In this case Garcia has been on the field for 43.18% of all RSL goals. You might expect a little difference between those numbers for a player but the difference between Garcia's numbers are huge.

Although the offensive numbers are off the charts at the moment, the defense has been struggling. Take Beltran for an example. His 94.39 stat from above is impressive. Any time you play over 90 minutes before giving up a goal is a great stat. But over the past couple of weeks ago, that number was at 139. Now by no means am I saying all of our defensive problems are because of Beltran. I feel he is, by far, our best defender. But it just shows how bad the defense has been the past few weeks. I will be taking a closer look at our defense in a blog post next week. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Man in the Middle Ref Preview- RSL at Portland

By Alan Christensen 

Referee Preview:
 Ricardo Salazar

Wednesday August 21, 2013

Jeld Wen Field

RSL vs Timbers

Total Matches 135
Total Avg Yellows 2.7
Total Avg Reds .3
Total RSL Matches 11
Total Timbers Matches 8

2013 MLS Matches Ref 15
Total Y’s 39
Total R’s 4
PK’s 1
Seasons Pro Ref 12

2013 Timbers Refed Results: 4/6 Portland 2-0 Houston

2013 RSL Refed Results: None

A few highlights from Salazar’s profile:
Official for 2009 All Star Game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Which Everton defeated the MLS All Stars on penalty kicks.
Center Official for 2011 MLS Cup Final.

I believe Salazar tends to be a bit of a “mixed bag’ when it comes to managing a game.  He’s a veteran official and doesn’t mind being the center of attention for a match.  He’s also not afraid to hand out cards like candy.  We will see how RSL fans like him managing tonight.

Salazar resides in Bakersfield, CA.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Statistically Speaking- Robbie Findley

One of the best things about statistics is that they are emotionless. When a fan is thinking about or analyzing a player emotion gets involved. That emotion, either positive or negative, can affect the analysis that is going on. You don't have that in statistics. The numbers themselves have no emotion. The key is when you are looking at the numbers is to try and be as emotionless as possible.

There is no player on RSL that will bring up so much fan emotion and debate as Robbie Findley. It is safe to say that all RSL fans want Findley to do well. But some fans have a much more positive view of Robbie Findley than others. I have seen many debates on Twitter and various forums about Findley. He won in my poll that I conducted about who should start with Alvaro Saborio. Today I wanted to step back, take emotion out of the equation, and try and analyze Findley on a statistical level.

On the season, Findley has scored 6 goals and has 2 assists to his credit. On a whole those are pretty good numbers. The 6 goals ties him for second best in his career (he scored 12 in 2009). He is also second on the team with those 6 goals. He is scoring at a rate of a goal every 156.33 minutes which is also second best in his career. He is currently taking 2.69 shots for every 90 minutes he plays (4th on team) and is getting 1.25 shots on goal for every 90 minutes (3rd on team). He has a shots on goal percentage of 46.43% and 21.43% of his shots are hitting the back of the net (both 2nd best on the team). His COR score has dropped significantly in the past month and is now at 9.39 (the lower the score the better).

All of these numbers point to a player that is having a successful season. But not all of Findley's stats come out looking great. One of the stats that I like using the most is Minutes per Team Goal (MpTG). This shows me how well the team plays while a particular player is either on or off the field. When Findley is on the field RSL scores at a rate of a goal every 67.00 minutes. This is the worst goal scoring rate for any of the forwards on the team. When Findley is not playing, RSL is scoring at a rate of a goal every 48.59 minutes. And Findley particularly doesn't play well with Saborio. When the two play together, the team is scoring a goal every 92.25 minutes.

I thought I would take a look at how Findley does as a starter compared to how he does coming off the bench. When he is starting, the team scores at a rate of a goal every 76.27 minutes which is the worst rate among all starters. When Findley comes off the bench as a sub, the team scores every 33.00 minutes. That number sounds great, but it is also the worst rate among all forwards coming off the bench.

In the debate among fans, some people point out the fact that Findley does positive things that do not show up in the stat line; things like wearing down opposing defenses so when the fresh players come in they are able to be more effective. Findley has started 13 matches on the season. In those starts, RSL has scored 11 goals after Findley came out of the match. How many of those goals were scored due to Findley's hard work on the field? That is a good question and one that I don't have an answer to.

What is my opinion of Findley? Looking at the statistics I am torn about what to think. In my mind, this is a case where the stats don't tell the whole story. Think back to each of the goals that he as scored. Each of his six goals came from what I call a reaction play. It was a play that Findley didn't have time to think about what he was going to do, he just did it. Findley has problems when he has time to think about what he is going to do. That is when he seems loses confidence and ends up making a bad play. When he just plays and lets his athletic ability take over, he has been great.

I would love to hear what you think about Findley.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Crunching the Numbers- LA Edition

It had to happen sometime. It had been a long time since RSL had lost by more than one goal. Going into Saturday night it had only happen two other occasions on the season. The last time was back on April 27 when a short handed LA Galaxy came into the Riot and beat RSL 2-0. Since that match, RSL has been in every game they have played, until Saturday night. Even though it was a poor performance there were some interesting stats that came out of the match.

  • RSL has now scored 41 goals on the season. This total passes the season total amount in 2008. They are now scoring at a rate of a goal every 54.88 minutes. Next up in the race for the best offensive season in club history is the 43 goal mark set in 2009.
  • The team has now conceded 30 goals or a goal every 75.00 minutes. 
  • RSL has scored 22 times on the road compared to only 19 times at home.
  • RSL has given up 20 goals on the road compared to only 10 at home. 
  • Going into the match, Robbie Findley and Olmes Garcia had only played 13 minutes together. 
  • Joao Plata and Olmes Garcia have played 314 minutes together. In that time RSL has scored 9 goals or a goal every 34.89 minutes.
  • Garcia has played 277 minutes as a sub. During that time the team has scored 10 times or a goal every 27.70 minutes.
  • Going into the match RSL was giving up a goal every 138.09 minutes when Tony Beltran played. After giving up four goals that number has dropped to a goal every 107.27 minutes. This is still the best on the team by over 15 minutes a goal. Chris Wingert is next best with the team giving up a goal every 92.08 minutes that he plays.
  • Per @Optajack on Twitter (great feed to follow) this is the first season since 2008 where RSL has given up 4 or more goals in a game twice during the same season. 
Obviously when a team gives up four goals all the defensive stats are going to go way down. Beltran's numbers took the biggest tumble just because his was so good going into the match. He had not played in a match where RSL gave up 3 or more goals since June of last year. 

The late goal by Findley salvaged some offensive numbers for the team. But on a whole the offense did not look good in the match either. Findley has become a somewhat divisive figure as far as the fans are concerned. His individual stats are actually pretty good. His COR score is actually now fourth best on the team. Watch for a post later this week for an in-depth look at Findley and all his statistics.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Man in the Middle Ref Preview- RSL at LA

By Alan Christensen 

Referee Preview:
 Hilario Grajeda

Saturday August 17, 2013

StubHub Center

RSL vs Galaxy

Total Matches 66
Total Avg Yellows 2.6
Total Avg Reds .1

2013 MLS Matches Ref 12
Total Y’s 35
Total R’s 1
PK’s 2
Seasons Pro Ref 9

2013 Galaxy Reffed Results: 3/30 - Galaxy 2-2 Toronto FC
6/23 - Galaxy 1-0 Chivas USA

2013 RSL Reffed Results: None

Grajeda has reffed more matches for LA and RSL than any other team.  Grajeda has managed 9 Galaxy matches and 8 RSL matches.  He has never issued a red card in any matches he has reffed for either team.

One other interesting note on Grajeda, he was the 4th official for both the 2011 & 2012 MLS Cup matches.  I’m sure the Galaxy can be happy with both those results.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Finding the Diamonds in the Rough- Scouting with Andy Williams

It is safe to say that one of the biggest surprises this year has been the play of Olmes Garcia. No one really had a clue who this kid was when RSL signed him and even the team didn't expect him to make the impact that he has this year. But one of the people that knew of Garcia's potential when he came to the team was RSL Head Scout Andy Williams. I recently had the chance to talk to Williams to talk about all things scouting with the team.

Ever since it was announced that Williams would be taking on the scouting role in the front office, I had wondered what his job responsibilities were. "I filter through all the potential players that agents send to the franchise." Williams said. " I filter through the crappy ones and come up with a list of players that potentially could help us. From there that list goes to the coaching staff and they will take a look at them. We then review to see who should stay and who shouldn't stay on the list. We keep track of those players for a few games or watch their previous games."

"Another job I have is looking at college players that will be coming out next year in the draft, or in the next few years. We will keep track of them for a couple of years." Williams continued, "I also follow our academy players down in Arizona. I see who is playing well. if we need bodies for reserve games I will invite them to train with us."

I was curious to see what Williams used to identify potential players with the team. I was wondering if he used any type of statistical analysis in his scouting. "For me it is strictly watching the games. I am not into the data stuff...I just watch players."

Our conversation turned to the finding of Olmes Garcia. "We were actually looking at another player on his team. As we were watching more games we kind of saw him and kept our eye on him. The player that we originally wanted ended up going to another team so our focus turned to Garcia." That turn of events worked out very well for RSL as Garcia has become a bright young star for the team.

When asked about traveling overseas to scout players Williams said "I don't go overseas at the moment. All the traveling that I have been doing has been more the college stuff. I normally will travel about once a month." Williams also doesn't handle scouting opposing teams. "The other coaches do more of that. Miles (Joseph) CJ (Brown), and Jeff (Cassar) tend to break down videos of the opposing teams.

I mentioned the fact that I had seen Williams participate a lot with the coaches at team practices and asked if coaching would be something that he would like to do more of in the future. "About two months ago, Jason (Kreis) came to me and said he wanted me at all practices. I am not sure what he has in store for the long run. I enjoy being out there and watching the guys more than last year. I am involved more with practices and am learning that part of the field."

Whether Williams continues as the Head Scout or moves full time to the coaching staff, he is a value to this organization.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Striking Up a Partnership- Who Should Start with Sabo?

With the return of Alvaro Saborio to the line up, one of the main questions that RSL fans have been asking is who is the best forward to team up top with Sabo when we play our traditional diamond formation? The debate has raged on Twitter and on Big Soccer about who the best of our four remaining players plays best with Saborio. I thought I would take a look into this question.

It is a tough question to answer because it leads to many other questions. You have to look at how well the player is playing. How does each player do when they start? How do they do off the bench? And how well do they play with Sabo? I am going to try and tackle each one of these on a statistical level.

As far as statistics goes, I like looking at a stat that I call Minutes per Team Goal (MpTG). This stat takes a look at how often the team scores while a particular player or players are on the field. It gives an overhead view of how well the team plays while that player is either on the field or off of the field.

First, I am looking how each player is playing overall.

Player Min Team Goals MpTG Min not played Team Goals MpTG
Sabo 925 14 66.07 1235 25 49.4
Findley 914 13 70.31 1246 26 47.92
Plata 1164 22 52.91 997 17 58.65
Sandoval 623 13 47.92 1538 24 64.08
Garcia 738 17 43.41 1418 22 64.45

The first thing that stands out here is that Saborio's numbers are higher compared to some of the other forwards. This is because the first few games of the season that Sabo played in, the team really didn't score that many goals. Since he has come back, his MpTG stat has dropped dramatically. Another thing that is interesting is that the team scores the lowest rate while Findley is on the field and the highest rate when Findley is not on the field.

Since we are trying to figure out who is best as a starter along with Saborio, I thought it would be important to see how each player has done actually playing as a starter. 

Player Min Team Goals MpTG
Sabo 897 13 69.00
Findley 839 11 76.27
Plata 956 14 68.29
Sandoval 538 10 53.80
Garcia 477 8 59.63

Here we see that every player has a higher rate than the stats above. That is because more goals are scored in the second half after subs comes in. Subs will almost always have better stats per minute than starters. I did find it interesting that Sandoval has the best stats while playing as a starter. Again the team has the lowest scoring rate while Findley is a starter.

Maybe a better way to look at this is to see who is the best coming off the bench. Here are the stats the forwards have when they are not starting the match. One thing to note here is that the sample size for some of the forwards here is very low. 

Player Min Team Goals MpTG
Sabo 28 1 28
Findley 75 2 37.5
Plata 203 8 25.38
Sandoval 85 3 28.33
Garcia 261 9 29

Again you can see right away that the stats are much lower when they come in off the bench. Many people including Coach Kreis have commented on how well Plata does off the bench. The stats backs this up with Plata having the best MpTG off the bench. 

Finally, it is no question that Saborio will be starting. So lets take a look at how each player plays with Sabo.

Players Min Team Goals MpTG Min not played Team Goals MpTG
Sabo/Findley 369 4 92.25 1791 35 51.17
Sabo/Plata 234 7 33.43 1926 32 60.19
Sabo/Sandoval 71 1 71 2089 38 54.97
Sabo/Garcia 335 6 55.83 1825 33 55.3

The biggest number that jumps out is the MpTG for the Sabo/Plata combination. Plata does seem to have great chemistry with Sabo and this stats backs that up.

The last thing that I did was ask other RSL fans what they thought. Who did they think should start with Sabo. Here are those results.

Findley- 52%
Plata- 34%
Garcia- 13%
Sandoval- N/A

But do any of these stats answer the question of who should start with Sabo? Maybe, but probably not. I love looking at stats but I am the first to admit that they don't tell the whole story. What do you think? Who do you think should be starting with Sabo?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Crunching the Numbers- Houston Edition

RSL returned to their winning ways in MLS play with a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The win put the team back on top in the race for the Supporter's Shield. There were some interesting stats that I noticed coming out of this match, especially on the defensive end. Lets take a look:

  • RSL has now scored 39 goals in 24 matches or at a pace of a goal every 55.38 minutes. This is still on pace for a club record. 
  • The team has given up 26 goals on the season or a goal every 83.08 minutes.
  • The last time RSL was shut out in a match was on 4/26 against the LA Galaxy. RSL has yet to play in a 0-0 match this season.
  • Alvaro Saborio has scored 9 goals in 925 minutes of play or .88 goals every 90 minutes that he plays.
  • When Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert play together, RSL is 10-0-1 in all competitions. 
  • In the 8 MLS matches that Beltran and Wingert have played together, RSL has only given up 4 goals.
  • Beltran has played 1519 minutes on the season with the team giving up 11 goals during that time. That comes out to a goal every 138.09 minutes. When Beltran does not play RSL is giving up a goal every 42.73 minutes.
  • Carlos Salcedo has played 631 minutes. During that time RSL has only given up 5 goals or a goal every 126.20 minutes
  • Salcedo and Nat Borchers have played together for 540 minutes. RSL has only given up 4 goals during that time or a goal every 135 minutes. This is the best defensive rate among any of the centerback pairings that the team has played.
  • RSL has now scored 19 goals at home and 20 goals on the road. They have a goal differential of +13.
  • The team has scored 15 goals in the first half of games and 24 goals in the second half of games.

The biggest thing that jumps out is the defensive numbers with Wingert and Beltran in the lineup. RSL is just a much better team when they play. The fact that the team is 10-0-1 when these two players play is incredible, so is the only giving up 4 goals in 8 MLS matches. 

Having Salcedo come back is also a huge plus for the team. It is pretty amazing to think that he is only 19 years old. He still is making some mistakes as all young players do, but on the whole he has been wonderful on the back line. RSL has yet to lose a match that he has played in. 

Saborio has been on fire since coming back with the team. Overall he has scored 6 goals in the 4 matches that he has played in. He is tied for 5th in the golden boot race and has only played in 11 of a possible 24 matches! That is unbelievable. 

It will be interesting to see what RSL is capable of doing for the rest of the season with both the offense and defense playing well.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Man in the Middle Ref Preview- RSL vs Houston

By Alan Christensen

Referee Preview:
 Jose Carlos Rivero

Saturday August 10, 2013

Rio Tinto Stadium

RSL vs Dynamo

Total Matches 15
Total Avg Yellows 3.4
Total Avg Reds .27

2013 MLS Matches Ref 6
Total Y’s 18
Total R’s 1
PK’s 1
Seasons Pro Ref 2

2013 Dynamo Refed Results: 3/30 - Dynamo 2-0 Earthquakes

2013 RSL Refed Results: 5/8 - RSL 2-1 Revolution

Interesting to note, the only red card Rivero has given out this year was for the RSL vs Revolution game in which Carlos Salcedo was sent off for a second yellow card.  Rimando came up big, saving the penalty kick and securing a RSL win.  The red card was changed a few days later and there was no suspension for Salcedo as it was determined that the yellow was given to the wrong player.  Also interesting to to note, Rivero, rarely gives red cards.

Will there be controversy on the horizon tonight for RSL?  A young referee, and we know how much coach Kreis loves them, from a few post game comments last month.

Rivero is from White Plains, NY