By Harrison Crow (@harrison_crow)
I don't mean to toot our own horn, but *ahem* toot toot.
If you haven't seen it, Devin Pleuler--MLS Soccer's own 'The Central Winger' and Opta analyst extraordinaire--wrote a nice little piece about Bradley Wright-Phillips and his current goal scoring pace. Pleuler explored the idea of whether or not BWP had the potential to break the MLS single season goal record. It's an interesting theory and actually one that I had been playing with writing...until my thunder was stolen from me.
Really, I have no hard feelings. Devin is a much better writer and way more qualified to speak to the situation than someone like myself that simply fools around with this on the side. However, something that came about in a weird occurrence of serendipity. Devin gave us a brief, albeit important, peek behind the Opta curtain. Something nerds like me covet.
Opta has much more data at their disposal than we do. Honestly, it's something that consistently frustrates all of us here at ASA. We wish we had more opportunity to give you better information than what we do. However, in this moment of transparency we see that our idea of expected goals is really not that much different from that of Opta.
In the article, Opta provides data for Bradley Wright-Phillips' current campaign through the eyes of expected goals. Their Expected Goals (0.201 vs our 0.209 per shot attempt) closely mirrors that of what we produce here at American Soccer Analysis. This isn't me declaring that we now have proof that "we are doing something right." Just because Opta does it doesn't make it the correct way to do something. This is only an observation that someone else does something similar to how we do it, and they came to the same conclusions. And maybe I feel that also gives us a hint of legitimacy, but mostly that thing about how we aren't alone in our conclusions. Yeah.
In some way I guess we both make sausage the same way. Obviously, it's very likely there are differences between the two conclusions. I mean, they are different numbers. Duh. But seeing as we won't ever see how exactly they make their sausage, the idea is that we have a similar model. From what I understand, seeing how sausage is made takes away from the enjoyment of eating it. And I certainly don't want to take away that joy from some. I guess that this is just my way of saying whether you buy their sausage or take advantage of ours--which is free--you're getting a fine product.
I think that was far too much talk of our sausages.