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.

Friday, May 2, 2014

It's All About Creating Chances

Photo by Nic Shellabarger
By Charles Barnard

In the world of soccer analytics, there are many stats that try to determine how a player is doing on the offensive side of the ball. Goals and assists are the most commonly used but there are many others including my own Minutes per Team Goal which looks at how well the team plays when a player is on the field. One stat that has become more prevalent among soccer statisticians is called "chances created".

Chances created takes a look at how many chances on goal a particular player is creating. This stat is a combination of three other stats; shots, assists, and key passes. The first two are pretty self-explanatory but some people might not be familiar with the third. A key pass is a pass that leads to a shot that does not end up as a goal (that would be an assist at that point). By adding up these three stats, you can see how many chances on goal a particular player has created.

I have seen a few articles written this year on who the best players are in the league on creating chances. I thought I would take it a step further and look specifically at RSL to see who is the best on the team at creating chances. To be able to compare players, I also calculated how long it took for a player to create a shot.

Here are my findings.

PlayerMin. PlayedShotsAssistsKey PassesChances CreatedMin per Created Chance

There is a lot of fascinating data here. We can see that Saborio and Morales have created the most shots on the team but for very different reasons. Saborio leads the team in shots taken while only setting up 4 shots for other teammates. Morales has only taken 8 shots this season, but he has set up more shots from his passing than anyone else. Neither of these two things is really unexpected given the nature of play by both players.

The player though that jumps off the charts is Joao Plata. I guess this shouldn't be too surprising given how well he has started the season. I do find it very interesting that he is second on the team in key passes. Not only is he scoring but he is really setting up his teammates as well. What is really impressive is how often he is creating chances. He is among the league leaders when calculating how often players create chances. And with 3 goals and 2 assists on the season he is not just creating chances, he is creating good chances. 

It is also really interesting when comparing the trio of Grabavoy/Mulholland/Gil. You can see by these numbers how involved Mulholland has been when he has been on the field. He is creating chances almost the same pace as Morales. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Gil. I was shocked to see that Gil has only taken 3 shots in almost 400 minutes of play. But he is not necessarily creating opportunities for his teammates either.  

I was also curious to look at the difference between Sandoval and Garcia. Big Dev has been very aggressive in his limited time on the field. Garcia on the other hand does not have as good of numbers as one might expect.

What numbers stand out to you? Is there something that I am missing? This is a stat that I am going to continue to track over the course of the season and will write about from time to time here on the blog.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to make a crazy prediction and say that within the next two years my negative opinion of Gil's abilities will commonly agreed with.