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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Look at the Defense

By Charles Barnard

Just one more. All Nick Rimando needs is one more shutout to tie the record for the most shutouts in league history. The problem with this is that RSL's last shutout on the season was back on 5/24. The record will come eventually. The question in my mind though was how has the defense been playing? Were there some players playing better than others?

I thought now would be a good time to statistically take a look at the RSL defense. I have done this in the past but this will be the first time this season really looking at these stats. Who on the team has the best defensive stats? What stats do you even look at for defense?

The primary stat that I use is something that I call Minutes per Conceded Goal (MpCG). Think of it as the opposite of my Minutes per Team Goal stat. I look at how many goals are conceded while a particular player is on the field. Then I take a look at how many goals are conceded while that player is not on the field. This gives me a sense of how well the defense plays while that player is playing.

As a point of reference,  RSL is currently giving up a goal every 69 minutes. This is the highest goal conceding rate for the team since 2007. Here is the breakdown of the defenders.

PlayerMinGoalsMpCGMin not playedGoalsMpCGDifference

There are some interesting numbers to be found here. First was how well the defense played when Rich Balchan was on the field. The team did not give up a goal in the 201 minutes that he played this season. It is unfortunate that his injuries have continued to limit the amount of time that he has played.

This also shows how dominate a defender Chris Schuler is. It takes opponents over twice as long to score when he has been in matches than when he has not played.

This season I have also done something different than in the past. I decided to track these numbers for midfielders and forwards as well. To be honest I wasn't sure what I would find by looking at this information, but it is still pretty interesting to see.

PlayerMinGoalsMpCGMin not playedGoalsMpCGDifference

I was surprised to see that Joao Plata actually had the best MpCG among this group. I am not sure if that is because of the amount of time that he tracks back or if other factors are involved. It is also interesting to see how many more goals that the team gives up when he is not on the field.

Although it is not a surprise, this chart also shows the positive influence that Kyle Beckerman has on the defense. You can also see here how the team struggles defensively when Beckerman is not in the lineup.

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