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.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Look at the Back Line- Analyzing the Defense

Last week, I took a look at the Minutes per Team Goal (MpTG) for the attacking players on the team. One of the requests that I had was to take a closer look at the defensive side of the ball. Since I brought up some interesting questions in yesterday's Crunching the Numbers, I thought it would be a great time to take a closer look at the defense.

With the defense, I look at something I call Minutes per Conceded Goal (MpCG). It is basically the opposite of MpTG. I take a look at how many goals were given up while a particular player was on the field. From there, I can figure out how many minutes on average it takes for the opposing team to score. I then take a look at all goals that were scored while that player was not on the field and can tell how many goals were given up when the player is not playing. This gives a look at how well the defense plays while that particular player is on and off the field.

The one main thing to remember about MpCG is that you want a bigger number unlike MpTG where the smaller number is better. Another thing that I did for the first time was that I started to calculate Kyle Beckerman in with the defensive players to see how much he affects the defense.

Here is a look at how well the defense plays when each player is on the field. As a team, RSL is currently giving up a goal every 70.54 minutes.

Player Min Goals MpCG
Beltran 1969 22 89.50
Beckerman 1921 23 83.52
Schuler 1080 13 83.08
Watson-Siriboe 630 8 78.75
Wingert 1465 19 77.11
Salcedo 991 13 76.23
Borchers 2160 31 69.68
Mansally 669 11 60.82
Palmer 940 16 58.75
Maund 270 6 45.00
McDonald 180 5 36.00

What can we learn from these numbers? The defensive struggles over the past two months are highlighted when you compare these numbers to the last time I looked at these stats. It is interesting that Chris Schuler is now statistically the best center back for the team. I was also surprised that Borchers' MpCG is so low. 

Now here is a look at how the team played when the players were not on the field. This also has an additional column that shows the difference between when the player plays and when he doesn't. In this case you want a positive difference number .

Player Min not played Goals MpCG Difference
Beltran 641 15 42.73 46.77
Beckerman 689 14 49.21 34.31
Schuler 1530 27 56.67 26.41
Wingert 1145 18 63.61 13.49
Watson-Siriboe 1980 28 70.71 8.04
Salcedo 1619 23 70.39 5.84
Borchers 450 6 75.00 -5.32
Mansally 1944 26 74.77 -13.95
Palmer 1682 21 80.10 -21.35
Maund 2340 31 75.48 -30.48
McDonald 2430 32 75.94 -39.94

You can see right away that the defense plays very poorly when Beltran and Beckerman do not play. Once again, Schuler comes out looking really good in these numbers. The interesting thing with McDonald is that even though he has very poor statistics here, the team has an even goal differential of 0 when he has played.  

Finally, here is a look at the center back pairings for the team.

Player Min Goals MpCG
Borchers/Schuler 540 5 108
Schuler/Salcedo 90 1 90
Borchers/Watson-Siriboe 270 3 90
Borchers/Salcedo 900 12 75
Schuler/Watson-Siriboe 360 5 72
Borchers/Maund 270 6 45
Borchers/McDonald 180 5 36

I don't think anyone would have guessed that the combination seeing the most time on the field would be the Borchers/Salcedo pairing. Schuler once again comes out looking good here. 

So what do all these things tell us? With all these positive numbers, is Schuler the missing piece to the defensive puzzle? I am not so sure about that. While it is true that he got hurt prior to the defensive struggles, the defense played pretty well in the games immediately after Schuler going down. 

What can you see from this information? Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent information, thank you again. It does look like we'd be lucky to have Schuler back soon, though I think Salcedo has been doing a very admirable job, especially considering his age. With Borchers mentoring, we may have a very solid Salcedo/Schuler back pairing that I feel very confident about in future years.