Tactics

The Tactical Proactivity of each MLS Team by Jared Young

The MLS playoff drama is peaking with all but a half dozen teams dreaming of postseason glory. All the teams have played their tactical cards by now and the chess matches from here on out should be very entertaining. It’s therefore high time to look at a model whose goal is to examine the very chess moves that teams are making and look for insights. The Proactivity Score (Pscore), an attempt to numerically represent a teams basic tactical approach, has been updated through August 27th and there are some interesting new trends. Here’s a chart of where teams stand:

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The case for pulling the goalie in soccer and the math behind Ben Olsen's madness by Jared Young

The game is ice hockey. One team is behind a goal as the seconds wind down. Conventional thinking for the head coach of the losing team is to direct the goalie off the ice while a substitute enters the game. This gives the team a six to five player advantage at one end of the ice, but gives the leading team a much higher chance of adding to their lead. Starting in 2013 NHL teams became more aggressive with this strategy, and a paper released earlier this year proposed that teams should get at least three times as aggressive as they are. The math clearly lines up with the strategy.

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Orlando, DC, and MLS' Latest Strategic Fashions by Kevin Minkus

The press (whether high, counter, or other) is in vogue in MLS. MLS teams are, on average, they pressiest they’ve ever been. The Red Bulls, NYCFC, Atlanta, and New England all primarily defend in some form of press. A handful of other teams - Sporting Kansas City and LAFC most prominently - go to it on occasion. Orlando City began the season trying to play a higher pressure defense:

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Roster Consistency Part Two: Do Consistent Lineups Lead to Better Results? by Dustin Nation

In a previous article, I looked at the effect of roster consistency on overall team performance. There were enough interesting trends in the data that I wanted to look a little closer and try to see if there is a “right” number of changes that teams should make on a week-to-week basis.

After looking at each squad’s rotation and how it affected their performance over the past three years, it makes sense to look at how changing lineups from one week to the next effected team’s performances in that week. That is to say, given a team’s roster changes from the previous week, how likely were they to perform well?

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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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