Expected Narratives Week 33: End of Year Awards 2018 by Ian L.

It was a pretty light weekend in Major League Soccer featuring a match seeking to answer that age old question “what happens when the opposite of an immovable object meets the opposite of an unstoppable force?” The answer? Colorado wins 2-0, I guess. That match will probably be remembered more for the altercation following the final whistle which featured two players being showed red cards FIFTEEN minutes into stoppage time so I guess Colorado and MInnesota aren't’ best friends now, which could be problematic as previously they seem to be the only destinations that would actually want some of the other’s lackluster players. I sure hope they work it out. I’ve got $5 on a Franz Pangop for Yannick Boli trade.

But also, Oh my god DC United are just so irresistible right now. It’s like watching Michael Jordan in that flu game but instead of Michael Jordan it’s more like BJ Armstrong and instead of the flu it had something vaguely to do with raccoons. I predicted a few weeks ago that this team would find its way to the postseason and I’m feeling more and more confident about this every week. Watching people eat their crow flavored Pot Noodle about Wayne Rooney has become appointment viewing during office hours. To say Rooney has been a revelation is only true if you’re one of these people who have apparently never once watched Wayne Rooney play soccer. You aren’t seeing some surprising late career renaissance version of a softer more reflective Rooney, you’re getting the same bullish kid in a dad’s body with an innate ability to grab a game by the scruff of its neck and drag it wherever he wants.

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Expected Possession Goals GameFlow: Taking a Ride Into the Danger Zone by Jamon Moore

A few weeks ago, we introduced Expected Possession Goals (xPG) GameFlow, a visualization of the momentum of a soccer match from kickoff to final whistle of each game. xPG GameFlow uses the accumulation of Chance xPG to measure the strength of an opportunity for a team to get a shot. The higher the Chance xPG differential between the teams, the longer the bar for that minute for the team with the higher amount. Quite often goals are scored when the momentum bars on the xPG GameFlow chart are at their longest.

Many people have asked us, “what is the difference between xPG and xG?” or “how does xPG translate to xG or to goals?” To aid xPG GameFlow in answering questions such as “which team had the better chances?” and “when should a team have scored?”, we introduced a couple improvements after the first week of tweeting MLS game charts on @GameFlowxPG. I wanted to provide more context for these improvements and dive deeper into them.

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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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