Thursday, July 14, 2011

Secondary Assists and No PKs. Crew v. Quakes Preview

Only two teams left that haven't had a goal off PK this year in MLS and San Jose is one of them! Very exciting, I know. I don't like it when I find a stat like this. Normal distribution of data starts coming into play along with Lady Luck and Charlie Chance(?). The likelihood of a team going through the entire season without a PK is, well, very low. Let's just hope it doesn't happen this weekend against the Crew.

On to that other thing.

I'm not a fan of awarding 'secondary assists' in soccer, but (surprisingly) the MLS is still doing it. Though, not as much as they did pre-2003. With this revelation I see that half the teams in the league have equal to or more assists then goals. Conversely, half with less. Obviously the Crew are in the latter category.

I'm going to look at the glass half full here and say that one thing that secondary assists can tell us is quality of play before the goal. Why do I say that? Lets look at assists per Game (LINK to all). Top 4.

1.8:New York
1.4:FC Dallas
1.2:Chivas USA
1.2:San Jose

That gives you a good idea of real offensive quality. No need to drill way down with soccer stats like assists. A team is either Good, Average, or Bad. Note - Crew opponent San Jose in top 4 (Good). Columbus is 4th from last (BAD. 0.72 assists p/Game). Combine that with the Crew scoring less then a Goal per game (BAD) during the run of play and you get some frustrated fans.

So what is this leading us too? My advice for the Crew of course.

Bottle up the remarkably efficient Quake goal scoring bunch of Wondo, Lenhart, and Dawkins and leave the SJ mid-field to their own devices. No need to load the MF with 5 like last game. SJ feeds off crossing heading chances and placement in the box, i.e. headers by Lenhart and savvy box play by Wondo (the guy is always in the right place at the right time).

San Jose will probably get one. Just make sure you keep your MF pushed up front so you can get two. Which should be on order. The Earthquakes have let at least 2 go by in 8 (of 18) games this year.

Or Three... but not likely.

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