Portland Timbers

Defensive Shots Blocked – A deeper dive into MLS.

In my most previous blog about the Portland Timbers I had noticed an unexpected oddity in the data analysis when peeling back Defensive Blocks by Chivas from game 1 to game 2.

I had expected systemic defensive changes (given Chivas moved from a 3-5-2 to a flat-back-four) like increased interceptions and clearances and decreased tackles but considering how a change in defensive blocked shots might influence things wasn’t part of it.

As a reminder Chivas blocked 19% (4) of the Timbers shots taken in game one and 41% (5) of the shots taken in game 2.  True Рfewer shots taken (21 game 1 and 9 in game 2).

In recalling what I saw – Portland had only taken 5 out of 21 points when the opponent blocked five or more shots I thought I would check around with other teams in MLS and see what I could see.

Here’s a snapshot of some teams and their percentage of taking points in the league table based upon the opponents’ number of blocked shots.

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS OBTAINED VERSUS THOSE AVAILABLE COMPARED TO OPPONENTS SHOT BLOCKING

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS OBTAINED VERSUS THOSE AVAILABLE COMPARED TO OPPONENTS SHOT BLOCKING

Observations:

That said here are some thoughts to consider (there are others…)

  1. Sometimes teams that play tighter defenses inside the 18 yard box are more inclined to try and block shots as opposed to closing down and trying to tackle.
  2. Sometimes more open games (where both teams are spread) tend to have fewer blocked shots are more players are out of position.
  3. If a team is noted for accuracy in passing across the pitch then another, less talented team, might? yield that space and wait for the space to naturally tighten inside the 18 yard box?
  4. Less accurate strikers may have more shots blocked given they are not as aware of where the opponent is as they should be?’.
  5. The ideal striking zone to score goals is dead middle, from the goal mouth out to the 18 yard box, the more teams take shots from that area perhaps it is more likely they are to see them blocked.

Before closing thoughts here’s one other diagram showing the correlation of defensive blocked shots to shots taken versus points in the league table…

CORRELATION OF SHOTS BLOCKED TO SHOTS TAKEN VS TEAM POINTS IN THE LEAGUE TABLE

CORRELATION OF SHOTS BLOCKED TO SHOTS TAKEN VS TEAM POINTS IN THE LEAGUE TABLE

Observation:

In Closing:

Next up my Possession with Purpose MLS Power Rankings…

 

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012 and occasionally write for Soccer Yanks. A recent highlight in my short time as an MLS Analyst was being invited to present my Possession with Purpose MLS Soccer Analysis at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. With the increased visibility of my work I have created a new Domain at www.possessionwithpurpose.com. My background in soccer started in the United Kingdom, where, as an American, I was the General Manager and President of an English Youth Football Club just outside of Thetford, England. (Barnham Bulldogs FC). I also served as a head coach for U-11/12's, and obtained my English FA Youth License Certification through Norwich City FC. Upon returning to the U.S., I was an Assistant Coach and eventually a Head Coach within the Ajax Youth Football Club organization, Kent Washington. I have recently started a small business ...Possession with Purpose (Soccer Analysis & consulting) and I retain COPYRIGHT on The Possession With Purpose ideas and research published on these sites.

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