You may or may not remember that I like to write about how shots from good locations don’t become goals. This was, once upon a time, a weekly feature here. Drew has begged me to come and start writing again, so here we are back again.
Those of you who may not be familiar with this column of mine, please, allow me to introduce to you the idea of expected goals. It’s the probability a given shot attempt would be scored, taking into account specific criteria captured at the time of the shot.
In this column we like to talk about what the expected goals model sees, and also what it doesn’t, when arriving with the xG number. The theme of this column is to take the five highest probability shots from open play (i.e. excluding free kicks and set pieces) of the previous week that didn’t end with the ball in the back of the net.
It also often turns into me decrying terrible crosses into the box that the model likes but are in actuality terrible chances that are awful and stupid and should be outlawed. Okay, well... let’s get started! Read More
Despite winning the Supporters’ Shield, 2018 was a bit of a letdown for the Red Bulls. Still, more trophies are on the table in 2019 if they’re able to take the next step. Read More
Welcome to Lowered Expectations, week 25 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. Read More
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. Read More
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 Hector Villalba to Josef Martinez, Atlanta United, 30th minute, 0.434 expected goals Read More
Passes in sequence: 4
Jesse Marsch’s New York Red Bulls play a style unlike any other team in Major League Soccer. They employ a frenzied, but organized high press that is a staple of Red Bull teams all over the soccer world. RBNY usually set up in a somewhat fluid 4-2-3-1. Bradley Wright-Phillips leads the line, often occupying the space between opposing center backs and shrinking the field. Right behind BWP sits Argentinian playmaker Kaku. Flanking Kaku is usually a combination of Florian Valot, Daniel Royer, and Derrick Etienne Jr.; these wingers are tasked with pressuring the ball in wide areas and occasionally dropping to help the pair of deeper midfielders. Who are those deeper mids? USMNT starlet Tyler Adams and fellow American Sean Davis are instructed to patrol the entire center of the field, acting as a pair of disrupters, intercepting passes, marking opposing playmakers, and shutting down attacks. Read More
Welcome to Setting the Table, where 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. This is were we focus on chances that ended with the ball in the back of the net.
#5 Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Ola Kamara, L.A. Galaxy, 59th minute, 0.411 expected goals Read More
Passes in sequence: 5
Welcome to Lowered Expectations, the week four 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. We’ll take each one and not only evaluate the results, but also the process that led to these chances.
#5 - Mason Toye, Minnesota United, 84th minute, 0.225 expected goals Read More
Assisted by: Ethan Finlay (through ball)
Number of passes in possession: 7
Whatever your opinions of the New York Red Bulls might be, you can’t accuse them of being boring. For the past three MLS seasons, the Red Bulls have consistently been one of the best attacking teams as measured by xG, ranking first in 2015, fifth in 2016, and third in 2017. But the real drama seems to happen off the field, and this winter was no different. Previously, after the 2016 season, Jesse Marsch pulled a power move over Ali Curtis, the man who controversially booted team legend Mike Petke to hire him, and traded team captain Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire. Now he’s done it again, trading team captain and MLS assist master Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City. Throw in what was the most confirmed unconfirmed signing in memory, and you've got a recipe for some kind of 2018. Strap in, New York/New Jersey, it’s gonna be a wild one.
2017 IN REVIEW
In some ways, 2017 was slightly disappointing for Red Bulls fans compared to their 2016 success. After claiming first in the East in 2016 with 57 points, the Red Bulls landed in sixth in the East with 50 points without McCarty marshaling the midfield. In the beginning of the season, the trade seemed to cause problems and the Red Bulls lost six of their first 12 games. But the team got hot in the summer, notably winning every game they played in July, and despite going 0-3-5 between August 18 and September 30, they managed to hang onto a playoff berth. And while NYRB dropped some points during the regular season, they showed their true stripes in the postseason. First, they absolutely crushed McCarty’s Fire 4-0 in Chicago, and then they pushed the Greatest MLS Team Ever to the brink, falling to Toronto 2-2 on aggregate based on the away goals rule. While the season was ultimately successful, fans remember the shaky spring, and they will certainly expect more playoffs (and ultimately improvement) if they are to accept that trading Kljestan was the right thing to do. Read More