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. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.

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