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, July 28, 2014

The Plus and Minus of Things- Midseason Edition

By Charles Barnard

One of the most commonly known team stats in soccer is Goal Differential or the amount of team goals scored minus the amount of team goals conceded. You will see it listed any time you look at a chart of team standings.

One stat that isn't looked at as often is player's plus/minus. This is basically goal differential on the player level. It is a stat that has been used in hockey for a long time and has recently become popular in basketball as well. Player plus/minus is another indicator of how well the team plays while a particular player is on the field. It can also tell you how well the team plays while a player is not on the field as well.

Last season RSL had a very respectable goal differential of +16. Javier Morales had the best player plus/minus at +18. Only two players on the team had a negative plus minus. RSL has finished the past 6 seasons with a positive goal differential.

Going into Wednesday's match, RSL currently has a goal differential of +5.  Below is a list for all RSL players that have played over 100 minutes. The column with the header +/- per 90 takes into account how much a player has played. The thinking behind it is that a player with a good plus/minus in limited minutes played is more impressive than a player with the same plus/minus but having played more minutes. This column shows how much a player's plus/minus is affected every 90 minutes played. The final column (+/- w/o) shows what the team's goal differential is when that player is not on the field.

Min. PlayedPlayer +/-+/- per 90+/- w/o

There is a lot of data above to go through but here are some of the things that stick out to me. Kyle Beckerman's numbers are outstanding. This really shows the positive effect that he has on the team. His +11 is very impressive. I think the things that stands out the most is that when is not playing the team has a goal differential of -6! 

Joao Plata's numbers are also very impressive but with the great season that he is having that is not all that surprising. With such a good plus/minus it makes you wonder how much of a positive effect does Plata have on the defensive side of the ball. That is something I might have to look into further. 

Unlike last season, RSL currently has 6 players that have a negative plus/minus. Carlos Salcedo's numbers can be attributed to coming into a tough spot against San Jose and the team giving up 2 late goals. I do have to say I am somewhat surprised about the other players with a negative plus/minus. Devon Sandoval might be the one that surprised me the most. In only 885 minutes of play last season, Sandoval was +10 (or a +1.01 +/- per 90). Not only has his overall form been off this season but the team's form has also taken a hit while he has been on the field.


  1. Tian's +/- per 90 is crazy. Any chance you parse out when those minutes came?

  2. All of his minutes this season has come as a sub. That is probably part of the reason why his numbers look so good. RSL is currently scoring more goals between the 75-90th minutes than any other period in matches. Because of that, subs stats will always look a little better than starters.