Soccer is an interesting sport. Two people can watch the exact same game and see two very different things. A certain play may stick out in your mind and might affect all future thoughts about those involved. Those thoughts could be positive or they could be negative. Add in emotion and the passage of time, and something that you remember to be true and think to be true was really not the case.
Let me give an example of this. I was having a conversation about RSL's outside backs with a co-worker. I made the point that Lovel Palmer was much better at crossing the ball than Tony Beltran. My co-worker agreed with me. We both brought up the game in Vancouver last season where Palmer sent in that perfect cross into Sandoval that was headed home for a goal. Of course Palmer was better with his crosses.
This is the perfect example where one amazing play clouded my memory of all other plays that had occurred over the course of the season. This is the reason why it is important that we pay attention to statistics. Statistically, Tony Beltran had a higher percentage of completed crosses last year than Lovel Palmer.
Crossing is a stat that some people asked for last season but was one that I did not track. When I was preparing my data base for this season though I decided to include it. On Saturday, Joao Plata led the team with successful crosses at a 40% success rate. Since I had not tracked this before, I had no idea if 40% was good or not. So I decided to take the time and look back to 2013 to see how our players did with their crosses.
It took a little bit of time to pull out all the data but the results were pretty interesting. Here is everyone on RSL with 10 or more cross attempts. All of this data came out of the Opta Chalkboard on mlssoccer.com.
|Successful Cross||Unsuccessful Cross||Attempts||Completed Percentage||Min. Played||Min. per Cross attempt|
There are some really interesting numbers that jump out to me. I always knew that RSL attacked more down Beltran's side, but I didn't realize how much more they attacked down that side. You can see this by comparing Beltran's cross attempts to Wingert's. That is a pretty big difference.
It is interesting to see that Beckerman had the best completed percentage on the team. The more I watch him play over the years the more impressed I am with his passing ability. The stat above only proves the point even more.
I was surprised to see how many cross attempts that Garcia took when he was in matches. That is an area of his game he will need to improve upon if he continues to take crosses at such a high rate.
And finally there is Robbie Findley. Findley does a lot of things very well for RSL. Apparently crossing the ball is not one of them. I have to admit as I was compiling the data I kept hoping to find even once where he had a completed cross. Unfortunately I never found it.
What stands out to you? Are you surprised like I was that Beltran had a higher completed percentage than Palmer? Or perhaps that Gil took more attempts (in less time played) than Grabavoy? What other nuggets of information can we learn from the numbers above?