Bastian Schweinsteiger

Almeyda and Schelotto: Two New MLS Coaches and their Distinctive Styles by Anay Patel

Matias Almeyda and Guillermo Barros Schelotto are two of the most experienced managers in MLS history. They are also both just beginning their careers as MLS coaches.

To start his managerial career, Almeyda retired as a player and took over a River Plate side that had been relegated for the first time in club history. Immediately after that season, he led the team back to promotion with a first place finish in the second division. Almeyda did the same with Banfield in Argentina, winning his second Primera B Nacional title. At Chivas Guadalajara in 2015, Almeyda inherited another difficult situation, tasked with bringing the Mexican giant back into the spotlight. With Chivas, Almeyda won Copa MX twice, Supercopa MX, Liga MX, and CONCACAF Champions League. Now, he has embarked on a new journey with the San Jose Earthquakes, who finished in last place in 2018.

After leading the Columbus Crew to an MLS Cup as a player (he won both league MVP and Finals MVP in 2008), Guillermo Barros Schelotto started his managing career with Lanus in Argentina. He led the club to a Copa Sudamericana, the second most prestigious club competition in South America. Schelotto then signed with the club he spent most of his playing career with, Boca Juniors, and led them to two league titles.

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Lowered Expectations: Week 23 by Harrison Crow

Welcome to Lowered Expectations, week 23 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.

I know it’s been a few weeks but we have five missed opportunities and one very surprising success! Let’s get to it.

#5 - Raul Ruidiaz, Seattle Sounders, 3rd minute, 0.375 expected goals
Assisted by: Nicolas Lodeiro
Keeper:  Bobby Shuttleworth
Passes in sequence:  1

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Lowered Expectations: Week 9 by Harrison Crow

Welcome to Lowered Expectations, the week nine edition! Each week, we go about posting chalkboards and GIFs of the weekend’s best open-play shot attempts that 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 that led to them.

#5 -  Mac Steeves, Houston Dynamo, 91st minute, 0.463 expected goals
Assisted by: Andrew Wenger
Passes in sequence: 2

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Chicago Fire 2018 Season Preview by Kevin Minkus

The Chicago Fire had a tremendous 2017, and it seems their 2018 squad will mostly look like that one. In many leagues, this stability, paired with the team’s younger players developing further, would spell positive results for the upcoming season. But the increasing amount of allocation money coming into the league means that the Fire’s competitors are stockpiling TAM-level players while Chicago stands pat. In all, the Fire may fail to improve without adding a few more pieces.

2017 RECAP

The Chicago Fire’s 2017 season should be considered a remarkable one. After two consecutive wooden spoons, the Fire finished the season in 3rd in the Eastern Conference. They put together an 11 game unbeaten streak that had them at the top of the East on July 1st. They had the league’s Golden Boot winner, Nemanja Nikolic, who put in 24 goals. Though they ultimately bowed out of the playoffs with a 4-0 home loss to the Red Bulls in the knockout round, the massive turnaround from 2016 should mark the season a success.

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Expected Goal Chains: The Link between Passing Sequences and Shots by Kevin Shank

For those who are not familiar with Expected Goal Chains (xGC), the metric looks at all passing sequences that lead to a shot and credits each player involved with the xG. Instead of just looking at expected goals and expected assists, which primarily benefits strikers and attacking midfielders, xG Chains is beneficial to every player involved in a sequence. Most importantly xGC credits those defensive or two-way players who are integral to a play’s build-up but don’t necessarily serve that final key pass. To calculate xGC, I assembled every pass, shot, foul, and defensive action so far in MLS and assigned a unique ID to each passing sequence. When a sequence ended in a shot, each player is attributed with the xG from that shot. StatsBomb defines it very succinctly, so the below steps are stolen directly from them: 

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The 22 Stats that Explain the MLS Season so far by Kevin Minkus

We’re a bit more than a month into the 2017 season. While that’s way too early to say anything definitive, it’s probably enough time to get a feel for where teams stand. Here are 22 stats (one per team), that explain something of each team’s season so far.

Eastern Conference

Columbus: $642,500 - combined guaranteed compensation due Ola Kamara and Justin Meram (as of September 2016’s salary release) 

For the money (equal to roughly one Nocerino), Kamara and Meram are the best attacking partnership in the league. Meram has looked good both out wide and in the middle, which bodes well for the Crew as Federico Higuain hits the wrong side of the age curve. And Ola Kamara has picked up exactly where he left off last year, with 3 goals in his first six games. 

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