Saturday night was a punch in the gut. After a great start to the match, RSL gave up two goals late to draw with Vancouver 2-2. While RSL remains undefeated, the match was the third game this season where they gave up a stoppage time goal that prevented the team from securing all three points.
RSL has now played 8 games which is roughly 25% of their season. The sample size is getting to a point where we really can start to see trends in the data. Some of these trends really jumped out to me as I was compiling the stats this week. Let's take a look.
- RSL has scored 13 goals on the season or a goal every 55 minutes. This is still slightly behind last season's record pace of a goal every 53 minutes.
- The team has given up 8 goals or a goal every 90 minutes. If the season ended today this would rank 2nd best defensively in club history.
- RSL has scored 5 goals in the first 15 minutes of matches this season. The team has only scored 6 goals in each of the last two seasons during the first 15 minutes of play.
- 69% of all goals RSL has scored have come in the first half of play. By comparison only 38% of goals were scored in the first half all of last season.
- In the last 985 minutes of play (going back to last year's playoffs) RSL has only trailed for a grand total of 5 of those minutes.
- When Saborio and Plata play together, RSL is scoring a goal every 37 minutes. When they are not playing together RSL is scoring a goal every 83 minutes.
- RSL has given up 5 goals (62.5% of all goals given up) in the final 15 minutes of matches this season. Last season RSL only gave up 13 goals in the final 15 minutes and they only gave up 9 goals during that time period in 2012.
The numbers are really painting an interesting picture. RSL is continuing to score early in matches. At this point is seems like this is a trend and not just luck. I wonder if Coach Cassar has emphasized trying to score early in matches. The first 15 or 20 minutes of this past match was one of the best I have ever seen from RSL.
On the flip side the amount of goals that RSL is giving up in the final 15 minutes is becoming very concerning. Due to the nature of soccer I would always expect a team to give up more goals in the final 15 minutes of matches than at any other time. But, the rate that RSL is giving up goals is above and beyond the norm.
Here is a question: Could the two stats above be linked? Is RSL spending so much of their energy in the first half of matches trying to get the early lead that they have nothing left in the tank to protect the lead once they get it? I have no idea if that is the case or not but it is something to keep in mind.