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, March 10, 2014

Crunching the Numbers- Opening Night

By Charles Barnard

Welcome back to Crunching the Numbers. For those that are new to the blog, Crunching the Numbers is my Monday morning look back at the previous RSL match. I dive into all the stats and present to you what interesting information that I can see.

Before beginning this morning I wanted to say a few things. First, when it comes to statistical analysis, the bigger the sample size the better. When you try and pick out trends in the early part of the season they will fluctuate greatly from game to game. This is due to the very small sample size. I will continue to try and point out interesting things but just keep this point in mind for the first few weeks of the season.

Second, I want to give thanks to Dustin Chapman. For those who don't know, Dustin (@itschappy) holds a yearly Twitter award show called the Chappys. The 2014 version of the show was held last Friday. I am honored to say that From the Upper Deck won an award for best RSL blog. I am pretty humbled that this little blog was able to win that award. I want to thank Dustin for this and also thanks to everyone that helps contribute with the blog.

Since there is a limited amount of data so far this season, I will also be including some of my (non-statistical) observations from the match.
  • Last season when Alvaro Saborio and Joao Plata played together RSL scored a goal every 34 minutes. This was the best of all strike partnerships on the team.
  • When Nat Borchers and Aaron Maund played together last season the team gave up a goal every 45 minutes.
  • Against the Galaxy, Maund was successful in 22 of his 23 pass attempts. 
  • Plata led the team with 4 shots all of which were on goal. Last season only 38% of his shots were on goal and he only scored on 8% of the shots that he took (both were lowest among forwards on the team).
  • Plata was successful on 2 of his 5 attempted crosses (40%). Last season Plata was only successful on 22% of the crosses he attempted (Note: watch for a post on crosses later this week). He also led the team with 3 key passes (key pass is a pass that leads to a shot).
  • Since coming back from injury last year Cole Grossman has played 105 minutes. During that time the team has scored 4 goals or a goal every 26.75 minutes. 
  • Last season RSL scored 33% of their goals after the 75th minute. That trend continued as Plata scored in the 80th minute of play. 
Overall I thought RSL played well against a very good team on Saturday. It was great to see that Plata had such a good night. Although it was just one game it was good to see that he improved on so many of his numbers from last season. Hopefully this will continue.

I was very impressed with Maund. Even with his good preseason form I wasn't sure how to rate him going into this match. He ended up being very solid on the defensive side of the ball. But his most impressive play on the night had to be his flick on goal from the Plata cross. That ball hits the back of the net on most nights. It was also great to see how improved his passing out of the back was. Cassar made a point in his post game interview about how well Maund did with his passing. It is nice to think that we have such depth at center back. 

I continue to be impressed with Luke Mulholland. He came into the match and made an instant impact. It was a shame that his goal was incorrectly waived off. We knew from the preseason that he is very good with set pieces but his passing really impressed me in this match. People are saying that he is the next Johnny Steele but I think he will be better than Steele was for us. 

It was also good to see Jordan Allen make the field. It truly shows the confidence that the coaching staff has in him that they would put him in when they did. The kid has all the talent in the world but that was not what impressed me on Saturday. It was his very intelligent play of taking the ball into the corner to kill the match that impressed me. How many 18 year old's in his situation would have made an attempt at goal in that spot? Probably most. He seems a very mature player for his age. I think he will continue to get playing time for this team. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this match. And are there any specific stats that you would like me to track for this upcoming season? Let me know.  


  1. Charles, I am excited to follow your award winning blog this year!

  2. Congrats on the award. I have to say, I've been impressed with your statistical abilities and savvy analysis of the numbers. Excited for another solid year! Thanks for the posts!