Possession with Purpose MLS Power Ranking Category Definitions…
Category 1: Attacking Efficiency Index in the Final Third – This is defined as all primary activities an attacking team looks to execute in the final third to include 1) Passing attempts, 2) Passing completions, 3) Shots Taken, 4) Shots on Goal, and 5) Goals scored.
Within these categories there are also two defensive sub-categories called 1) Defensive activities in the final third ‘that the opponent takes’ to defend against the attacker and 2) defensive shots blocked in comparison to shots on goal.
All of these data points are compared against each other in a step by step sequence of events (this is not perfect) but it is intended to show that the attacker needs to complete a series of events in order to score a goal and that the defender, will, look to interrupt those steps at some point. For the sake of simplicity and to reinforce a better relationship between points I have taken the following approach.
1st event) Passing attempt, 2nd event) defensive activities to interrupt an attempt and entice a turnover, change in possession. Defensive activities include tackles won, interceptions, crosses blocked and defensive clearances. I excluded tackles lost and corners conceded because there is no assurance that the defender ‘stopped’ final third progression.
3rd event) Passing completion, 4th event) shot taken, 5th event) defensive team blocks the shot before getting ‘on goal’, 6th event) shot on goal, 7th event) goal keepers saves or doesn’t save the goal, 8th event) goal is scored.
I have also excluded ‘recoveries’ because a recovery is a loose ball that is more often associated with poor attacking play than strong defensive play – in other words the attacker had the ball and they simply lost it.
The team with the best Attacking Efficiency Index rating receives 1 Composite point while the team with the worst Attacking Efficiency rating receives 19 Composite points.
Category 2: Defending Efficiency Index – This is defined as all primary activities the defending team looks to execute in their defending third to stop the opponent from attacking. These include: 1) Defensive activities as described above, 2) shots blocked by the defense before reaching the goal keeper and 3) shots saved by the keeper relative to shots on goal.
The team with the highest (best) Defending Efficiency Index rating receives 1 Composite point while the team with the worst Defending Efficiency Index rating receives 19 Composite points.
Category 3: Simply stated the current number of points a team has in the overall league table. In other words the team with the most points receives one composite point while the team with the worst point total receives 19 composite points.
This is, after all, the primary objective of any team – get points.
In summary; the team with the lowest combined Composite point score rating is rated the best in my Possession with Purpose Power Ranking; the team with the highest Composite point score rating is rated the worst in my Possession with Purpose Power Ranking.
Note that some week to week activities might influence the power rankings more than others… scoring goals will influence the ranking but wins and draws will as well. Currently both conferences are extremely tight and as pointed out by Mike Donovan yesterday the difference between first and 8th in the Western Conference is just 8 points.
Also note that this only focuses on the attacking and defending final third of a football pitch – the middle third, for me, is 1) a battle ground where possession is gained and lost frequently and 2) a place where some teams leverage more and some teams leverage less in penetrating the opponents final third.
There is no attempt at this time to differentiate between whether one team takes a more direct or more possession based approach.