Pressing, Defensive Lines, and What Defensive Actions Correlate with Goals by Cheuk Hei Ho

How do you analytically measure a high defensive line and defensive pressing (see StatsBomb pressing index and Jamon's piece from a couple weeks ago)? Do we have enough data and information to analyze this behavior? If we do, how do these tactics impact the performance of a team?

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The Top 10 Starting Goalkeepers for the 2018 World Cup by Bill Reno

The last time I wrote a top ten list of World Cup goalkeepers the website promptly folded. So congratulations to American Soccer Analysis on a good run and I wish all the writers the best in their future endeavors. Now with that out of the way, here’s the inside scoop on the top goalkeepers in Russia this summer.

While there are a number of projections and odds on who’s most likely to win the Golden Boot, the Golden Glove typically goes to the winning team’s goalkeeper, regardless of actual performance. Consider this more of a list of goalkeepers most likely to ruin another country’s shot at lifting the trophy. If your country faces one of these goalkeepers, you may want to double down on your pre-game rituals and superstitions.

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Setting the Table: Week 15 - The World Cup Edition 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.

This week I’m going to do something a bit different. Don’t worry, you’ll still get to see the top assists of the week (based on the quality of chance they create, rather than the awesomeness of the actual pass, a fact that seems extra evident this week), and you’ll still get gifs of fun goals. That said, with it being the beginning of the World Cup, I’m also going to take a look at some of the players MLS is sending to Russia and what stands out about them.

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Lowered Expectations: Week 15 by Harrison Crow

Welcome to Lowered Expectations, week fifteen 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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The World Cup Team Preview You Didn't Know You Needed: The Referees by McG

The spectacle of the World Cup is upon us once again. Story lines are already emerging, from Mo Salah’s shoulder and how it may drive the fate of his Pharoes, to the evergreen “will Messi finally win on the international stage?”, and of course whether or not the worst ranked host nation will manage to progress from what is statistically the easiest group in the modern era… But there’s myriad journalists and bloggers covering that already.

I’m here to talk about the inevitable villain of this most revered of tournaments, and no I’m not talking about Дядя Вова. No, of course I’m talking about referees who will emerge as the foulest characters of this world cup, unless Nigel De Jong comes out of retirement and files a one time switch. It’s doubtful referee scandals will etch themselves into the collective memory like Hugh Dallas in the minds of USA fans or Byron Moreno for Italians – though already this tournament has had a whiff of scandal as Saudi referee Fahad Al Mirdasi was suspended from the competition before the first kick after being caught in a match fixing scandal.

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ASA Previews the World Cup for the Washington Post by Drew Olsen

By Drew Olsen (@drewjolsen)

The World Cup starts this week! America may not have made it to the tournament in Russia, but American Soccer Analysis still has you covered. We've partnered with the Washington Post on a series of articles previewing some of the most interesting teams. The pieces will be trickling out in the coming days as the tournament ramps up, so we'll be posting the links below as new ones are published. Keep checking back here to make sure you're all caught up.

Friday 6/15/2018
Belgium is a World Cup contender by the numbers, but Eden Hazard is key to backing them up by Harrison Crow (@harrison_crow)

Thursday 6/14/2018
Egypt got World Cup luck of the draw. Now it needs a little luck with Mo Salah’s health. - Jared Young (@jaredeyoung)
Costa Rica will look the same at World Cup 2018, but results might not match 2014 - Harrison Hamm (@harrisonhamm21)

Wednesday - 6/13/2018
The odds are against an Iceland World Cup run. You might fall for them again anyway. - Ian Lamberson (@ahandleforian)
Spain enters 2018 World Cup behind David de Gea and a better attack — but without its coach - Joseph Lowery (@joeincleats)

Tuesday - 6/12/2018
Peru could be the surprise team of the World Cup with Paolo Guerrero back - Joseph Lowery (@joeincleats)
Germany’s chances to repeat as World Cup champion could rest with Manuel Neuer - Drew Olsen (@drewjolsen)

Monday - 6/11/2018
By this measure, Brazil is a bigger World Cup surprise than Iceland - Jared Young (@jaredeyoung)

Little Things from Week 15: Alphonso Davies, Dusting Orlando Defenders by Harrison Hamm

Forty minutes into the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 5-2 splintering of Orlando City SC, Jason Kreis yanked Will Johnson from the game. Johnson was on a yellow card and had just been annihilated by the 17-year-old Alphonso Davies on the Whitecaps’ first goal, one of many instances in which Davies had sent Johnson spinning. In the GIF to the right you can see the exact moment when Johnson’s soccer soul died on the BC Place turf.

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Savarese’s Christmas Tree and the Pair That Make It Work by Joseph Lowery

Across the Major League Soccer landscape, there are some exciting attacking duos. From Atlanta’s prized combo of Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez, to LAFC’s Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, to RBNY’s Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kaku, attacking players grab headlines. In this week’s analysis article, we are going to break down a less heralded, but possibly more intriguing, duo than any of those previously mentioned. We are going to look at Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco, the Portland Timbers dynamic, creative attacking pair. 

In order to properly appreciate the work that Valeri and Blanco are doing this season, first we need to take a step back and look at the bigger, tactical picture in Portland.

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Setting the Table: Week 14 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.

If week 13 was the week of goals from fast transitions off turnovers, week 14 has brought us long possessions, surprising goalscorers, and the return of an old friend. 

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Lowered Expectations: Week 14 by Harrison Crow

Welcome to Lowered Expectations, week fourteen 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.

#5 - Luis Solignac, Chicago Fire, 57th minute, 0.349 expected goals
Assisted by: N/A
Passes in sequence: 0

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