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MLS Statistical Analysis 2.15

We're just past the halfway mark. How's everyone doing?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It's MLS All Some-Star Game week, so it seems as good a time as ever to comb over the numbers from the first half of the season. If you'd like to revisit the first edition of Statistical Analysis from this season, feel free to do so here. Let's get into it.

Here's the offensive data.

Games Played / Goals / Shots / Shots on Goal / Wins-Draws-Losses / Points


The Chicago Fire get special recognition here for being the only remaining team with less than 20 points. FC Dallas and D.C. United are the two conference leaders, each with 38 points. From these numbers, we get this, sorted by PPG:

Goals per Game / Shots per Game / % of Shots on Goal / % of Shots = Goal / % of Shots on Goal = Goal / Possession % / Pass Completion % / Points per Game


Colorado stands out as the only team averaging less than a goal per game (0.90). Seattle started the season shooting 8.80 times per game, which was the worst number in the league. They've improved to 9.91 shots per game, but that's still the fewest in MLS, and the only number below 10.0. They may not shoot a lot, but they're the most accurate in the league, with 39.91% SOG.

Orlando has maintained their early season lead in pass completion, increasing it just slightly from 82.0% after 6 games to 82.2% after 21. Meanwhile, their expansion brethren NYCFC are third in the league in possession (52.9%). Clearly neither of these stats has a direct impact on winning, as both of those teams languish near the bottom in terms of PPG with identical numbers of 1.14.

D.C. United are barely scraping together 10 shots per game (10.48), though it's worth noting that they tallied 14 against Philadelphia with Fabian Espindola and new man Alvaro Saborio in the lineup together. 1.17 GPG is obviously not good, and the lowest of the top seven teams in PPG. The only number that could be considered good is their 6th ranked 32.53% SOG=G number, meaning they score on nearly 1/3 of their shots on target.

Let's get to the rankings. The categories are the same, and the top three in each category are shaded blue, while the bottom three are shaded red.


At the beginning of the season, Toronto was scoring 1.50 GPG, the second best number in the league, but they were allowing 2.00 GPG, which was the worst in the league. Those two things put together meant they had the second lowest PPG (0.75) after just four games. Now, after 19 games, their 1.63 GPG is the best in MLS, and they're still the worst in the league in allowing goals (1.63 - yes, the same number), it's an improvement that's seen them shoot up the table to 7th in PPG. Chicago are shooting a league-leading 14.3 times per game, but they're the 15th most accurate team (33.22%), and both their %S=G and %SOG=G numbers (7.69% and 23.16%) are 19th in the league.

Despite their standing, United's numbers are clearly poor overall. As usual, I suspect that this will lead to good numbers for their defense or goalkeeping (spoiler alert: Bill Hamid.) Let's just move to the defense. Here are the numbers. Remember that you're thinking that [team name] has allowed...


Here we have Kansas City as the only team in MLS allowing less than 20 points, and Colorado as the only team allowing less than 20 goals. A less fortunate standout number is the 117 SOG allowed by D.C. United, the most in MLS.

From those, we get this:


Dallas joins Kansas City as the co-leaders in PPG allowed, and Kansas City are the only team allowing less than 10 SPG (9.63). Three teams are allowing less than 1.00 GPG, and they're separated by 0.01 -- Colorado and Seattle (0.95 each) and DCU (0.96.) Also notable is KC's 26.5 interceptions per game, which is 3.6 more than 2nd place Dallas (22.9).

Let's look at the rankings.


In addition to KC's lead in interceptions, they're the league leaders in tackles with 22.5. It's fair to say that they're doing pretty well. On the other end of the spectrum, Chicago is allowing the 2nd fewest shots per game, but those shots are going in at a high rate. 14.22% of the shots they allow are goals, and 37.97% of the shots on goal they allow are goals. Both are 2nd worst in MLS. They're 15th or worse in all but two categories here.

The most surprising number for D.C. is the 20th rank in tackles (13.7). On the other hand their %S=G and %SOG=G numbers are sparkling, at a paltry 6.65% (2nd in the league) and 18.80% (1st) respectively. To put that in perspective, shots against Chicago are going in at better than twice the rate of those against United, and that's despite the fact that Chicago is allowing nearly 4 fewer shots per game than United.

Let's look at goalkeeping, ranked by save percentage:


D.C.'s save percentage is good, but Seattle's is better. Both teams allow a lot of shots (18th and 20th respectively), but thankfully those are not particularly accurate (11th and 5th respectively). Down at the bottom, New England and Philadelphia are languishing below 60%. Philadelphia can point to their use of numerous goalkeepers (3, each with 5 or more games), but New England has had Bobby Shuttleworth in goal for 20 of 23 matches this year.

When I did this earlier in the year, four teams (Houston, Colorado, United, LA) were saving 80% of their shots or more, and one of those (Houston) was saving over 90%. In total, there were 13 teams above 70%. But now there are no teams above 80%, and just seven teams are above 70%.

Tomorrow we dive into D.C.'s player stats. Will Steve Birnbaum continue his aerial domination? Will Davy Arnaud's unlikely dribble success continue? Is there any statistical drop off from Bill Hamid to Andrew Dykstra? All that and more is on the way.