At one point last season someone asked me if I tracked plus/minus stats for players. At that time I did not, but could see the value in it. I went back and calculated the stat and found some very interesting results. I continued to track it from that point forward and will again track it for the 2014 season.
What is plus/minus? It is basically goal differential on a player's level instead of a team level. You take all the goals that are scored while a player is on the field and subtract all goals that are given up. Historically this is a stat that has been heavily used in hockey and has since found its way into other sports like basketball. It is also finding its way into soccer as more and more people that look at stats have been using it to determine how well a team plays while a player is on the field.
On the season, RSL had a goal differential of +16. This was the second best goal differential for a season in team history (2010 had a goal differential of +25).
First lets take a look at the forwards. These stats represent the regular season only. Neither the playoff nor US Open Cup matches were taken into account.
I was pretty surprised by the results found here. It somewhat makes sense that Plata had the best plus/minus as he played the most minutes. I would have never have guessed that Sandoval would rank second best among the forwards. On the flip side I was shocked that RSL was only a +2 when Findley was on the field. It was also interesting that the player with the best MpTG stat among the forwards (Garcia) only ranked in the middle of the plus/minus rankings. I am not sure how to interpret that.
Above are the stats for the midfielders. Of course, the first thing that stands out is Javier Morales. Morales' +18 is the best plus/minus on the team. He also had the best MpTG on the team as well. I did find it interesting that Gil's plus/minus was not great for the minutes that he played. Also, perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised that Stephenson (and to a lesser extent Alvarez) were released due to their poor plus/minus rankings.
Finally we take a look at the defenders. Some of these numbers really surprised me. I wasn't too surprised with the group at the top, especially with the amount of minutes that they played. I think there are two numbers that really stood out to me though. First is the -6 of Lovel Palmer. I think we can all agree that Palmer was a really good person and will be missed on the team. But, this number is a clear indication on why he was traded. On the defensive side of the ball, he was not good.
The second surprise was the +2 for Chris Schuler. Statistically he was by far our best defender on the season when he played. It is surprising to see that our offense struggled though while he was on the pitch. Again, this doesn't take into account the playoffs and we all saw what he did there scoring 2 goals. But over the course of the regular season a different picture was painted. This is something to keep an eye on going into 2014.
Finally, I divided the minutes by the plus/minus number. This gives us a plus/minus per minute. Basically it tells how long it takes for a players plus/minus number to go up (or down for Palmer and Maund).
|Player||Min||+/-||per min. played|
I was very surprised by these results. I would not have guessed that Sandoval and Salcedo would have topped the list. It was also a little surprising to see that out of the everyday players that it was Wingert with the best rating.
What do you see from the information above? Do you have any take-a-ways that I missed? I would love to hear any comments.