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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

End of Year Review- Minutes per Team Goal

I wanted to start writing end-of-year reviews looking at many of the stats that I have kept track of over the past year. In part one I take a look at what is probably my favorite stat to keep, minutes per team goal (MpTG). Although it is not a perfect stat, it does show trends on how well the team plays when a particular player is on the field compared to when he is not.

Last week's Chivas match was a perfect example of why I created this stat. No one can deny the effect that Javier Morales had on the team when he came on in the second half. It wasn't too long after that RSL scored not one but two goals. But if you look at the official stat sheet, Morales' name is no where to be found. According to official stats he had no affect on either goal. But that is not correct. He might not have scored a goal or got an assist but his positive play did help others to score those goals.

This is where MpTG comes in. It gives Morales credit for being on the field when the team scores the goals. When you look at this stat over the course of the whole year you can really see trends of which players affected the offense in a positive way and on the flip side which players caused the offense to struggle.

As a whole, the team played 3060 minutes over the course of the season scoring 57 goals. This comes out to scoring a goal every 53.68 minutes. Here is how each player did while they were on the field. Since this is an offensive stat I did not include any players that played on the back line or in goal. I also did not calculate stats for Grossman or Stertzer due to their limited minutes played.

Player Min Goals MpTG
Morales 2282 51 44.75
Garcia 995 22 45.23
Velasquez 892 18 49.56
Plata 1645 32 51.41
Grabavoy 2688 52 51.69
Sandoval 885 17 52.06
Beckerman 2281 42 54.31
Stephenson 790 14 56.43
Gil 2061 35 58.89
Saborio 1346 22 61.18
Findley 1260 19 66.32
Alvarez 981 13 75.46

There are a lot of interesting things to take note of when looking at these numbers. Garcia had been leading the team in MpTG for most of the season but at the end he started to slump and Morales' numbers dropped enough for him to lead the team. It is even more impressive that Morales led the team as a starter. Due to the nature of more goals being scored later in matches, many times players that are substitutes tend to have lower MpTG. 

I also find it very interesting that Saborio and Findley have higher MpTG. Statistically speaking the team as a whole scored better when they were off the field  than when they were on the field. 

Now lets take a look how the team did when each player was not on the field. 

Player Min not played Goals MpTG
Gil 1003 22 45.59
Findley 1800 38 47.37
Alvarez 2138 44 48.59
Saborio 1709 35 48.83
Beckerman 779 15 51.93
Stephenson 2180 41 53.17
Plata 1416 25 56.64
Velasquez 2078 35 59.37
Sandoval 2086 35 59.6
Garcia 1971 33 59.73
Grabavoy 372 5 74.4
Morales 778 6 129.67

In many ways this number is more eye opening than the first set of numbers above. I was really surprised to see that the team had the highest scoring rate when Gil was not on the field. Again Findley and Saborio does not show as well as expected in these numbers. The number that sticks out the most to me is the bottom one. RSL played 778 minutes without Morales and only scored 6 times. 

Finally here is the difference between the two numbers above. The higher the number, the longer it took the team to score when they player was not on the field compared to when he was. 

Player Difference
Morales 84.92
Grabavoy 22.71
Garcia 14.5
Velasquez 9.82
Sandoval 7.54
Plata 5.23
Beckerman -2.38
Stephenson -3.26
Saborio -12.35
Gil -13.29
Findley -18.95
Alvarez -26.87

I can't believe that it took RSL 84 minutes longer to score a goal when Morales was not on the field. There is no doubt in my mind that Morales was the team MVP this year and this stat really shows why.


  1. I love the analyzes you have put together over the season. Unfortunately, I think it is easy for readers to get caught up in the small differences and not recognize the large variability in the underlying statistics. For instance, it may look like Alvarez is a liability on the team. But, if the analysis could determine if the estimates of difference in minutes per team goal were significantly different from zero (a point at which there is no relationship between a player being on or not on the field and the team's goal scoring rate). It might help to contextualize these numbers better. As Consumer Reports always points out, difference of less than X points in the ratings are not meaningful. The same kind of differences in minutes per team goal are not meaningful would help readers to not get too caught up in small differences.

  2. Also, what is the difference between team scoring rate, and team rate of giving up goals when a player is on the field and not on the field?

  3. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate it. You make a good point in your first post and I will be giving some thought to how I can improve upon these stats next year.

    As for your second comment, I will be posting a review of defensive statistics in the next few days. One thing that I did not do in my stat tracking was keep offensive stats for defensive players and defensive stats for offensive players. I probably should have and will next year. The only player that I kept both set of stats for was Beckerman. So unfortunately I do not have the info that you were asking about.