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Damn(ing) statistics

The Union’s defensive prowess this season has been nothing short of astounding, allowing only 3 goals in 7 games. The fact that each of those goals has come off of a header would be of little more than a moderate cause for concern if the offense was proving as capable of putting goals in as the defense is in keeping them out. With only 5 goals in 7 games—and never more than 1 goal in a game so far—the story of the season has been if the Union can score a goal they win or tie (damn header!).

Overall Team Statistics

Here’s a look at where the Union stand compared to the league in overall team statistics. Aside from penalty kicks, the only categories in which the club ranks better than no. 16 is in Fouls Committed and Fouls Suffered. As is apparent to anyone who has seen a game this season, the Union simply are not taking shots. When they do, their accuracy comes in at 37.7 percent.

Category

Union

League Ranking

League Leader

Conference Leader

Goals

5

18th

Houston (13)

Houston (13)

Assists

2

18th

Houston (15)

Houston (15)

Shots

53

18th

Houston/Seattle (135)

Houston (135)

Shots on Goal

20

18th

Seattle (49)

New York (44)

Fouls Committed

101

11th

Seattle (152)

New England (125)

Fouls Suffered

88

13th (tied with Chivas)

Columbus (137)

Columbus (137)

Offsides

13

16th

Salt Lake (35)

Columbus (25)

Corner Kicks

13

18th

Houston (53)

Houston (53)

Penalty Kick Goals

1

8 teams have one PK goal

Columbus (4)

Columbus (4)

Penalty Kick Attempts

1

9 teams have one PKA

Columbus (4)

Columbus (4)

Team Offensive Stat Totals

It comes as no surprise that Sebastien Le Toux (13) and Carlos Ruiz (12) lead the team in shots. What might be surprising is the relative inaccuracy of their shots, with Le Toux’s Shots on Goal percentage of 38.4 percent coming in under Ruiz’s 41.6 percent. Excluding Le Toux, Ruiz and defenders on the list, the remaining field players total 22 shots, of which 9—40.9 percent—were on goal.

Player

Goals

Assists

Shots

Shots on Goal

Offsides

Danny Califf

1

0

3

1

0

Keon Daniel

0

0

2

0

0

Sebastien Le Toux

1

1

13

5

6

Justin Mapp

0

0

2

2

0

Jack McInerney

0

0

2

1

1

Stefani Miglioranzi

0

0

2

0

0

Danny Mwanga

0

1

2

1

2

Kyle Nakazawa

0

0

3

0

0

Amobi Okugo

0

0

6

3

0

Carlos Ruiz

2

1

12

5

4

Roger Torres

1

0

3

2

0

Carlos Valdes

0

0

2

0

0

Sheanon Williams

0

0

1

0

0

Total

5

3

53

20

13

Recent Match Statistics

The ongoing redesign of the MLS website also includes more statistical information, thanks to the league’s new partnership with sport statistics provider Opta. However, the more extensive statistical information is currently only available for the past two games. The table below shows the Union’s numbers (in bold) with those of their opponents for the last two games, San Jose and Portland.

Category

Union
v San Jose

Portland v Union

Attempts on Goal

8/6

16/8

Shots on Target

5/1

3/2

Shots off Target

1/5

8/4

Blocked Shots

2/0

5/2

Corner Kicks

4/3

4/2

Fouls

13/10

6/13

Open Play Crosses

18/14

24/12

Offsides

2/6

2/0

Yellow Cards

2/2

3/2

Red Cards

1/0

0/0

Duels Won

39/51

42/45

Duels Won %

43%/56%

47%/51%

Total Passes

424/381

352/422

Passing Accuracy %

74%/70%

71%/70%

Possession

52.9%/47.1%

46.6%/53.4%

In the most recent game against Portland, the Match Stats show 8 attempts on goal resulting in 6 shots, 2 of which were on target, an accuracy rate of 33.3 percent. The Team Stats yield a slightly different—and lower— number. The total number of shots in that table is 7, with 4 from Carlos Ruiz, 2 from Amobi Okugo and 1 from Sebastien Le Toux. Of the 2 shots on target, 1 was from Carlos Ruiz and 1 was from Sebastien Le Toux. Of the three substitutions—Kyle Nakazawa, Roger Torres and Jack McInerney—Torres had 1 shot, which was not on goal. Using the Team Stats from the Portland game, 28.5 percent of the Union’s shots were on goal. (It is interesting to note that, given all the talk about how narrow Portland’s pitch is, the Union recorded only 12 crosses from open play compared to the Timbers 24.)

Against San Jose, the Match Stats show 8 attempts on goal resulting in 6 shots, 5 of which were on target, an accuracy rate of 83.3 percent. The Team Stats shows 8 shots. Amobi Okugo led with 3 shots, 2 of which were on target. Next was Sebastien Le Toux with 2 shots, both of which were on target. Danny Califf, Carlos Ruiz and Roger Torres each had 1 shot but only Torres was on target. Of the three substitutions—Michael Farfan, Stefani Miglioranzi and Kyle Nakazawa—none had a shot on or off target. Using the Team Stats from the San Jose game, 62.5 percent of the Union’s shots were on goal.

The Union controlled possession in both matches, out-passing their opponents and doing so with admirable accuracy. How many of those passes were forward passes intended to create goal scoring opportunities compared to backward passes to maintain possession rather is unclear. Given the relatively few attempts on goal, one can surmise they were generally few.

Whether or not the level of detail for the games prior to San Jose and Portland will become available is unclear. If that information does become available, it would be interesting to compare the performance of the Union offense at home versus on the road.

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

8 Comments

  1. thumbs up on the stats

  2. thumbs down on the offensive output of the union

  3. Matt Kirk says:

    These stats make me want to pull my hair out but then again they really explain the whole story of the union so far this season. It shows we hold the ball and possess but thats it, our final third, as many of you know is just crap, we have no chemistry up top. Mainly because Carlos Ruiz. I mean we had 2 work horses up top last year in Mwanga and Le Toux, you can not put a lazy player with the work horses of either Mwanga or Le Toux, thats why they worked so well together because they worked their asses off for each other and they were the first line of defense, which good forwards should do/be. We have discussed this many times before on this site but I am sick of Nowak giving the undeserving Ruiz a starting spot.

  4. I’ll probably get killed for this, but:

    1. Get rid of Ruiz. Let Mwanga and LeToux do what they do best without Chooch getting in the way.

    2. Get rid of Nowak. Seems like an okay coach but he should be able to see (and fix) our offensive problems. We have the people/tools, but he’s unwilling to make the decision to sit Chooch.

    3. Nowak should also figure out why we’re paying so much for players that don’t play, and rework the pricing.

    • Nowak & Co. are a stubborn bunch. This year’s Ruiz “experiment” is the reincarnation of last season’s Seitz debacle.

  5. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » Stat chat: Union v Galaxy

  6. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » Stat chat: Three road wins

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