Setting the Table Week 32: Lee Nguyen's new role, the rise of Ebobisse, and Mutch ado about nothing by Eric Walcott

Welcome to Setting the Table. Each week we take some time to focus on the best chance creators in MLS from the last weekend. If you want to see the best chances that were wasted, check out Lowered Expectations. Here we focus on chances that ended with the ball in the back of the net.

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Reinventing the passing wheel: What determines a good passer? by Eliot McKinley

Directional Passes Over Expected: Where do players exceed passing expectations?

During the National League Wildcard playoff game, American Soccer Analysis contributor and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup champion, Sean Steffen tweeted about the baseball stat Directional Outs Above Average. This metric tells you about the defensive range of an outfielder, with positive values indicating a direction where the player is better than average at creating an out and negative where the player is below average. Obviously, this exact type of metric cannot be used in soccer, but it did inspire me to figure out how something like it could be used. Thus, Directional Passes Over Expected (DPOE) was born.

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Little Things from Week 31: Dallas’ Quiet Dominance & Villalba’s Tact by Harrison Hamm

FC Dallas, slowing things down

I don’t know how one would go about measuring a soccer team’s pace of play. It’s possible, even easy, in basketball, where you can measure possessions per 48 minutes and generally find out how fast teams play. Soccer does not have the defined possessions of basketball; every possession is not created equal, so there’s no easy way to generalize them.

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Lowered Expectations: Week 31 by Harrison Crow

Welcome to Lowered Expectations, week 29 edition! Each week, we go about posting chalkboards and GIFs of the weekend’s best open-play shot attempts which did not quite live up to expectations (and rarely do we update this paragraph). We look at each one and not only evaluate the results, but also the process leading to them.

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Setting the Table Week 31: Lodeiro, RSL, And the Slow Fade of NYCFC by Eric Walcott

Welcome to Setting the Table. Each week we take some time to focus on the best chance creators in MLS from the last weekend. If you want to see the best chances that were wasted check out Lowered Expectations. Here we focus on chances that ended with the ball in the back of the net.

#5 Nicolas Lodeiro to Raul Ruidiaz, Seattle Sounders, 22nd minute, 0.318 expected goals
Passes in sequence: 2

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Setting the Table Week 30: Higuain and Alessandrini by Eric Walcott

Welcome to Setting the Table. Each week we take some time to focus on the best chance creators in MLS from the last weekend. If you want to see the best chances that were wasted check out Lowered Expectations. Here we focus on chances that ended with the ball in the back of the net.

#5 Maxi Urruti to Santiago Mosquera, FC Dallas, 41:25, 0.427 expected goals
Passes in sequence: 1

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Where Will We Find the American Messi? by Chris Marciniak

“Maybe we can find someone kicking a ball around the streets. Maybe there’s a Messi hiding somewhere here in the States. Who knows?" 

In this quote given to FIFA.com in 2014, U.S. Men’s national team coach and technical director Jurgen Klinsmann revealed three things about U.S. Soccer. The ambition to be the best and produce elite talent, the sense in which we are overlooking top players in our midst, and lastly we have no idea if these players exist or not. He explained his intention to “look under every rock, in every dusty corner.” He added that there is “definitely talent in the U.S. that’s not being tapped” and that the federation is trying to get their “heads and hands around that.”

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An Analytical All-American MLS Youngster Starting Eleven by Joseph Lowery

The Major League Soccer season is almost over, which means that it is time to dish out some awards. Today, we are going to put together the official “Analytical All-American MLS Youngster Starting Eleven”. There are only three criteria that a player must fulfill to be in contention for the “AAAMLSYSE” (the trademarks for the name and abbreviation are pending):  

  • All players must be American

  • All players must have played at least 500 minutes in MLS this season

  • All players must be 22-years-old or younger

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Does Playing The Kids Actually Help Teams Win in MLS? by Noah Sobel-Pressman

A major criticism of MLS teams is that they don’t play their you players enough. More specifically, MLS teams struggle with playing youth national-team players, and many young players have noticed this trend and signed in Europe. These players in most cases have their spots blocked by replacement-level veterans. In every league coaches typically rely on veterans because that is the safer, less risky option. Veteran players are generally more proven and so coaches know what type of performance they will get if they play them. This can be frustrating to fans, like me as an NYCFC fan, who, for example, see players like Rodney Wallace get playing time over Jonathan Lewis (who has now been sent out on loan). To fans, Lewis is clearly the better option, even including his struggles tracking back, but clearly NYCFC coach Domenec Torrent disagrees. I want to examine if this theory that the coaches believe is true. How does the amount of playing time given to young players correlate with a team’s number of points?

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Expected Narratives: The Let's Judge Everybody Edition by Ian L.

And so the Stahre era has ended. San Jose sit forlornly near the bottom of the table, a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Sporting Kansas City not being so much the straw that broke the camel’s back as someone finally coming to the realization that people weren’t going to stop dropping straws on this poor broken camel unless somebody moved it.

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