Lowered Expectations: Week Two / by Harrison Crow

By Harrison_Crow (@harrison_crow)

Welcome to the newest ASA series, which we’re calling Lowered Expectations. Each week, we’re going to post chalkboards and GIFs of the week’s best open play shot attempts that did not end in goals. With each one we will not only evaluate the results, but also the process that led to these chances.

#5 - Johnny Russell, Sporting Kansas City, 9th minute, 0.386 expected goals
Assisted by: Graham Zusi (through ball)


Obviously this ends in a goal with Felipe Gutiérrez getting the header over Brandon Vincent but Johnny Russell’s movement and the cut between defenders with Graham Zusi’s pass through leads to good positioning for a shot. But Richard Sánchez came off his line quick, cutting off the angle and with Vincent pushing him towards the middle of the field really limited the chance.

#4 - Luis Solignac, Chicago Fire, 51st minute, 0.459 expected goals
Assisted by: Aleksandar Katai


Headers are tough and some may feel this was a huge missed opportunity, and obviously by ending up here it was. But we have to remember that it’s more likely to miss the target entirely than even be a goal. Props to Aleksandar Katai picking out Luis Solignac and putting in a perfect pass.

#3 - Ola Kamara, LA Galaxy, 27th minute, 0.697 expected goals
Assisted by: Sebastian Lletget


This is an Ola Kamara special. He makes a perfectly timed run into space, gets his foot on it and just puts the ball into the one spot that Sean Johnson is able to save it... his chest. This is the second week in a row that we see Ola on this list and it very likely won’t be his last. He misses some big chances, but he's always in the right place. One last note, do yourself a favor and take an opportunity to rewatch that lovely pass by Sebastian Lletget a few more times.

#2 - Nemanja Nikolic, Chicago Fire, 62nd minute, 0.731 expected goals


That trap by Solignac almost makes up for the missed header above that would occur later in the game. The shot is cleared off the line after a deflection via Tim ‘Golden Glove’ Melia. These shot-save sequences happen frequently in a single game but the great strikers turn those sequences into additional opportunities. Nemanja Nikolic does well not just to be in a good position to jump on the loose ball, but is quick enough to create an opportunity..

From the SKC perspective great defending from Graham Zusi who falls back to the goal line after Melia comes off and saves the shot before it crosses the line.

#1 - Darren Mattocks, DC United, 89th minute, 0.733 expected goals
Assisted by: Oniel Fisher


Oneil Fisher hasn't been great so far this season, but on the attacking end he’s certainly had his moments. This was a solid overlap in combination with Paul Arriola, which there wasn't enough of in the game for DC, and it created a great opportunity to get by Greg Garza and into space.

The run by Darren Mattocks is simply okay, but props to him for following through, expecting to beat Michael Parkhurst to that cross and getting a foot on the ball. The chance is much more difficult than the high expected value suggests.

Lastly, as our crowning achievement in this series---we’re going to end on the worst shot (the one with the lowest xG) that actually culminated in a goal being scored this week. It belonged to...

Jimmy Medranda, Sporting KC, 83rd minute, 0.075 expected goals


Jimmy Medranda wasn't assisted on the shot as it comes by way of a redirection by the keeper Richard Sánchez, and the quick shot is simply a riposte that probably has a a higher chance of going in than the model really gives it. That’s not to take anything away from Medrana, who made a great run up to the box prior to the cross and was in good position to take advantage of the opportunity on a ball misplayed by Sanchez.

Big thanks to my podcast mate and @TotalMLS twitter personality Ian Lamberson for providing the GIFs for this post.