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Counterattacking teams vs Direct Attacking teams – what might the numbers offer up when viewing a snapshot of information?

Some thoughts for consideration in-between games as preparation for Vancouver continues this week.

The average difference between a direct attacking team (at home) and their outputs versus a counterattacking team (away) and their outputs is might (perhaps?) be best viewed like this… at least that is how things stack up when taking my first look at Vancouver in preparation for the match – and how much different the approach will be in what Portland might need to prepare for as opposed to that recent away match to San Jose…

Average Vancouver Away versus Average San Jose Home

Area

Vancouver Away Average

San Jose Home Average

Time of Possession

40 Minutes

44 Minutes

Crosses

16

27

Headers

24

46

Flick-ons

8

20

Throw-ins

22

32

% Long Balls Square #1

67%

79%

Curved Air %

11%

13%


This is my first go at looking at these indicators and attempting to tie them to a style of play; as the season progresses I’ll try to capture some more info from other teams that Portland have played three times this year to see if this initial pattern holds.

Why?  Well if there are some readily available statistics that can help shape what style of play a team works towards perhaps it may help fans better understand why some players are added to a squad in the future versus other types of players.

In addition, having a better understanding on what general approaches a team takes in playing their game might also help others better understand what they see when they watch the game.

Finally, the depth and breadth of general knowledge in Europe (for the average fan) far exceeds that of many folks here in the US; if the US and MLS is going to be a stronger market force then any attempt to try and increase knowledge of the fan-base should be a good thing.

In Closing; as promised to those who read my offerings, and those of others on the Possession with Purpose Face-book Group, here’s my look at passing accuracy after harping on about Time of Possession in my last blog.

Portland Timbers accuracy in passing has increased from 78% (prior to DC United) to 79.56% (after, to include DC United).

In addition, Time of possession, still exceeds, on average, 45 minutes per game so the combined actions of the team remain solid.

So in looking to answer my own question in my previous match analysis..

“Now the hard part – trying to translate that reality to play on the pitch and overall results… and… does it really matter?”

No – it doesn’t matter… sometimes there is value in statistics and sometimes there isn’t; in this particular case the drop in average minutes was not a significant point of concern for that game…

Chris Gluck

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.