Stats Summary – Week 6: Expected Goals and NYRB

Stats Summary - Week 6: Expected Goals and NYRB

I still believe in New York Red Bull’s ability to get it done for us in fantasy. A lot of people have jumped ship and set it on fire so they aren’t tempted to try to get back aboard. I understand it and it makes sense to drop them for DGW players through this stretch. But NYRB could break out at any moment and start living up to not only our expectations, but to what the underlying data tells us they should be performing at. is an analytics website that tracks expected goals for every shot and aggregate them up for players and teams. The below chart shows just how badly NYRB are underperforming their own chance creation by measuring goals for – expected goals for heading into this last weekend’s games. That’s almost 7 goals, 35 fantasy points ignoring assists. BWP alone is underperforming by 4.62 goals.

Team GF-xGF
New York -6.83
DC United -4.24
Columbus -3.26
Portland -3.25
Philadelphia -3.04
Vancouver -2.43
New York City FC -1.71
Colorado -1.4
L.A. Galaxy -1.38
Seattle -1.22
Chicago -0.38
New England -0.27
Toronto -0.13
Kansas City 0.22
FC Dallas 1.73
Orlando City 2.09
Montreal 2.14
Houston 3.06
Salt Lake 3.32
San Jose 3.41

One of the biggest criticisms of expected goals analysis is that it ignores opponent position data. This is the point where the eye test comes into play and our knowledge of tactics applies. This should also bring game state into our consciousness. Teams who are in the lead are able to afford sitting back and taking fewer risks. NYRB has been behind by a goal or more for 44 percent of their total minutes played where their opponents can bunker, taking fewer risks, and holding a more solid defensive shape resulting in shots that might be in good positions for NYRB but are more contested by the opponents than the league-wide average.

NYRB has led for a grand total of 3.2 percent of the minutes they’ve played this season, 610 minutes playing where they needed at least one goal to get three points. Since they’ve spent such a massive portion of minutes chasing the game, they’ve had to push numbers forward and take more risks in exposing their already makeshift backline. This likely means that the chances they’re conceding are easier than what the expected goals tell us by virtue of being under less pressure from defenders.

Team GA-xGA
Portland 4.68
New York 4.67
DC United 1.1
L.A. Galaxy 1.09
New York City FC 0.5
Columbus -0.12
Seattle -0.14
FC Dallas -0.34
Montreal -0.56
Houston -0.67
Vancouver -0.88
Chicago -1.57
Philadelphia -1.8
Toronto -2.07
Salt Lake -2.2
Orlando City -2.56
New England -2.58
Kansas City -3.18
Colorado -3.38
San Jose -3.59

Listeners of the MLS Fantasy Insider podcast know I have a rule where you don’t drop players on a home game. I’m sticking with that rule and holding Kljestan another week (unless I use my wildcard). NYRB play at the fastest pace of any team and are bound to start reaping the rewards any time now.

Random Observations

Chris Wondolowski and Fandendo Adi are tied for the golden boot race with 6 each. Adi has two more DGWs coming up in weeks 8 and 10 and is definitely someone to have tabbed to bring in.

Diaz and Piatti have the largest price rise out of any players in the game, gaining $0.6. BWP has the largest fall, losing $0.5.

There seems to be an inverse relationship between clearances and interceptions/tackles per game, which makes sense as interceptions and tackles would prevent the ball from getting deep enough to warrant a clearance.

The pre-season home vs away comparisons by position I did have held roughly true up to this point.

About Andrew Crollard

Andrew has worked as both an economist/data analyst and as a university and youth soccer coach. Naturally, marrying soccer and data together is a perfect fit.

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