Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bedell's On Target Accuracy

Adam Bedell's lineup inclusion is due in some part to circumstance. Through Dominic Oduro's departure, Jairo Arrieta's form and nagging injuries and the team being generally thin at the Forward position that Bedell has gotten his chance.

Even with Aaron Schoenfeld returning from his loan stint with and impressive goal scoring run in Dayton, Bedell still manages to get time. It's possible that Schoenfeld may actually start to get a start or two in the future but the situation has me asking questions.

The big one: Is it really just circumstance that Bedell is in there?

I don't get to see practices (nobody does, really), nor do we have reserve games any more where we can see players like Bedell play. We don't even get to see scrimmages anymore. The Columbus Crew, well, keep things pretty closed up these days. So to answer the question of why a player might be playing takes a couple things (we'll get 2 "whys" deep here, for all you six sigma people).

1. Faith that the coach is doing the right thing by playing him via practice.

2. Said player gets time in regular season games and/or public friendlies, has good stats.

Since number one is unreliable (yes, even coaches like Berhalter are susceptible to it, especially the longer the relationship with a player, it's natural), we have to go with number two.

Bedell, with 632 crossed my first imaginary line of 450 minutes (five 90 minute games) and is now working on my next, more important line of 900 minutes. He's in that 5-10 game zone of "is this real or a trend" that I've observed.

If we take a quick look at Non-Penalty Goals + Assists (NPG+A) of all the forwards in the league over 450 minutes played we see that Bedell falls just under what we might call a replacement level player (average forward MLS guy).

click to enlarge
Since it would only take one more goal or assist to put Bedell at 0.43 he is right on the edge of changing peoples attitudes towards his production. He's not there though and there are a lot of players that are only that last step away from jumping up a level.

Digging just slightly deeper, is shot creation and accuracy (not looking at chance creation right now, where he does have 7 key passes logged this year). Bedell is doing ok in one, good in another.

While he isn't getting as many chances has we might like per game (52nd overall of Forwards over 450) he is making them count when he does take them (13th overall in Shots on Target per game).

SOT per Game : Name
2.14 Clint Dempsey
1.99 Bradley Wright-Phillips
1.97 Robbie Keane
1.79 Kekuta Manneh
1.77 Deshorn Brown
1.61 Chad Barrett
1.58 Fanendo Adi
1.58 Dom Dwyer
1.57 Jermain Defoe
1.54 Marco Di Vaio
1.54 Joao Plata
1.44 Chris Wondolowski
1.42 Adam Bedell

That's a pretty good list of players. Here's how that looks up against all Crew Forwards since 2010...

1.58 Emilio Renteria 2010
1.42 Adam Bedell 2014
1.38 Andres Mendoza 2011
1.32 Emilio Renteria 2011
1.23 Jairo Arrieta 2012

Adam Bedell isn't getting all the chances he needs (some of this due to team tactics) he is placing them on frame at a higher rate than most of the other forwards and this is likely what Berhalter see's and likes - but here we are at the end of this post now and we are left with why he doesn't have at least one more goal?

"Luck?" A simple moment of brilliant goalkeeping (a blast in DC comes to mind that Bedell had)? One more goal and he jumps to the league average for MLS forwards with 3.33 goals per shot on frame (3.15). As it stands though, it's taken Bedell five shots on frame to get a goal. Too many.

There is a case to be made that Berhalter's faith in this particular player will be rewarded. There are enough signs that Bedell can become a productive Forward, but he isn't quite there yet - even when he does get there, you need something better than just productive to be a good team.

As it stands, Bedell (as a player in a forward role) is doing pretty much what is asked on the shot taking front. He's getting chances and putting them on target. There are other figures that point to the Crew need a better possession / holding / passing forward but that's a post for another day. Bedell is what they have now.

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