Saturday, July 24, 2010

Crew vs Houston Statistical Comparison: Dynamo Dangerous on Attack; Porous on Defense

As we indicated yesterday, the percentages favor the Crew heavily in today's match against the Dynamo.  A closer look at the numbers reveals some nuances worth mentioning.

First, the Dynamo are dangerous on attack.  Both they and the Crew score about 1.3 GF/GM.  But our measure of Quality Shots on Goal, which essentially measures how much better than the league average is a team's ratio of goals to SOGs shows that Houston is substantially ahead of the Crew.  Houston scores a goal 38% of the time when they manage to create a SOG.  The Crew's percentage is 30%; the league average is 27%.

Houston currently has five players who have scored 3 goals or more this year; and 4 players with double-digit shot totals.  And Brian Ching is tied with Brad Davis as the team's top scorer with 3 goals each.  Over the last four games, Ching has played with 3 different players up top--a mark of depth and/or of a team looking for answers given the absence of Davis (he injured his hip flexor but as far as we can determine, should start tonight).  If Davis resumes his duties as the attacking center-mid, the Crew will have to defend sharply to avoid falling behind, especially given the fact the Hejduk is out with a red card suspension and Carroll is out with an injury.  It will be interesting to see if Warzycha goes with Renteria and Ekpo rather than with his more traditional and conservative XI which includes Gaven, Rogers and Garey.  We'd love to at least see Renteria start if Rogers gets yet still another chance to show he can play consistently enough to start every match on the left wing. Regardless, with Davis back, the Dynamo's attack will be balanced and formidable.  They are, however, winless in their last six games.

The real problem for Houston is their defending.  They give up nearly 1.4 GA/GM.  What's interesting is that they don't give up more SHTA or SOGA than the Crew--they actually give up fewer.  But they've allowed far more goals.  One explanation is that teams are able to create more QUALITY chances against them than is typical in the league.  Another explanation is that their keeper, Pat Onstad, stinks.  His save percentage is around 62%.  Our man Hesmer is at 76%.  Hagado C-Bus! Te amo Crew! 'Til I die!

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