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, May 19, 2014

Crunching the Numbers- Colorado

By Charles Barnard

RSL's unbeaten streak continued Saturday night as the team came away with a hard fought 2-1 victory over the Rapids. Going back to last season, RSL has been unbeaten in their last 15 matches (remember MLS Cup was technically a draw). What is more incredible is that in the last 1410 minutes that the team has played they have only been trailing for 71 of those minutes!

It is surprising to think that a third of season has already been completed. One of the hard things at trying to analyze stats in the early part of the season is that your sample size is so small. We are now to a point where the numbers are really starting to mean something. Here are some of the interesting things that I noticed coming out of this match.

  • RSL has scored 23 goals on the season or a goal every 43 minutes. The team is on pace to smash the record for the most goals in a season set last year. In 2013 RSL was scoring a goal every 53 minutes.
  • The team has given up 13 goals on the year or a goal every 76 minutes.
  • RSL has a goal differential of +10. This is by far the best in the league. 
  • RSL's road goal differential is +5. Only two other teams in the league have a positive goal differential and both of those are only at +1. 
  • The team has now scored 13 times in the first half of matches. All of last season they only scored 22 times in the first half and in 2012 they only had 17 goals in the first half.
  • Joao Plata has played 557 minutes. In that time the team has scored 16 times or a goal every 34.8 minutes. In the 433 minutes that he has not played, RSL has only scored 7 times or a goal every 61.8 minutes. 
  • Plata has now taken 18 shots on the year. 72% of those shots have been on goal and an incredible 33% of his shots hit the back of the net. 
  • Cole Grossman has now played 139 minutes. In that time the team has scored 5 times or a goal every 27.8 minutes.
  • RSL has only lost once in the last 17 matches that Chris Schuler has played in.
  • When Schuler has played RSL is giving up a goal every 90 minutes. When he hasn't played they are giving up a goal every 54 minutes.
Prior to the season starting, Coach Cassar said that he really wanted to try and score more goals this season than in the past. Coming off a season where the team set a club record for goals scored I thought this was a little ambitious. Boy was I wrong. Not only is the team scoring at a higher rate than last year, they are scoring at a much higher rate. To go along with this the team's defense has actually slightly improved over last season as well.

It seems a big part of this improved scoring rate has to do with how many goals RSL has scored in the first half of matches. The team has scored at least once in the first 45 minutes of 7 of the first 11 matches this season. RSL has a goal differential of +8 in the first half of matches. Needless to say the chances to lose a match are greatly reduced when you score first. 

One thing the team does need to watch out for is conceding late goals. RSL has now given up 6 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches. The 6 goals accounts for 46% of all goals given up this season by the team.

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