Monday, February 25, 2013

Crew Penalty Kicks

No, this is not a corny regular feature. I'm talking real PKs. I take them out of almost all of my goal metrics because they too often hide deep goal scoring problems. Here's why:

• Since 2009 the Crew have attempted the most PKs in the league, 24. They have converted 20 of them, also the most in the league.

• That works out to 12% of all goals since 2009 (168 goals, 20 PKs). And that, of course, is the highest % in the league since then

• In 2011, 20.9% of all Crew goals were PKs. The 2nd highest rate in league history (2003 DC United 21.1%).

• Every 5th goal in 2011 was a PK. That is double the average rate for that year.

• In 2012 the Crew popped back to only getting a PK goal 1 out over every 15. you have to go back to 2003 to see that rate for this club.

Here' is % of overall Crew goals that were PKs since 2008.

2008 : 8.0 %
2009 : 9.8
2010 : 12.5
2011 : 20.9
2012 : 4.5

The 16 pt drop between 2011 and 2012 is the 3rd largest year to year drop in league history (2004 DCU 19%, 2011 FCD 17%).

The Crew took the 2nd most PKs in 2010 and 1st most in 2011. Which is to say, they were making the playoffs due to fouls in the box (and defensive play) and not quality goal scoring on the pitch.

In 2012 the PKs dried up and playoffs were missed. A contributor. Drop in PKs exposed some problems.

The drop in PKs was related to both change and tactics (eliminating a target up top) and league related PK focus. I appears MLS put a focus on fouls in the box last year. In 2011 there was a PK every 7 games. In 2012 it was one every 9, which means less frequent by almost two games.

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