Monday, 11 July 2011

The Scouting Report - New England Revolution

I am delighted to welcome Magnus Nordman to the Written Offside team for the 2011/12 season. He has been supporting United since 1992 and lives in Finland. His favourite current player is Michael Carrick. His primary role will be posting "The Scouting Report" which will analyse teams and players, both pre and post match. His first submission is below:

As Manchester United prepare for the pre-season fixtures over in America, The Scouting Report thought it would be a good time to introduce their first opponent with some relevant facts. The stats were collected by studying game recaps of all available New England games in the MLS-series.

United will kick off their pre-season campaign on the 13th of July against The New England Revolution at the Gillette Stadium. The Revolution are coached by former Liverpool and Scotland great Steve Nicol, who is the longest serving coach in MLS history. They have so far played 18 games in the Eastern Conference of the MLS Championship and are bottom of the table with 16 points. Their home record is 3-2-4 and away record 0-6-3, as you can see from the table below. Up till today they haven't won in five games and are therefore very likely to be up for the challenge of playing against Manchester United.

Regarding New England's goal scoring ability, a notable fact is that they score most of their goals during the first 15 minutes of the game. This could probably be a result of great amounts of energy coming in to the game, or perhaps a result of the opponents' underestimation? The opponents’ goals have quite evenly been divided. 10-15 minutes before and after halftime, as well as the whole second half, have so far been the most critical periods for The Revolution.

 To get a better understanding of what type of goal scoring team The Revolution is, we could look at the following chart. This gives us an understanding of from where the opponents in the MLS League score their goals against NE. I used the following pitch-breakdown for my analysis.
As expected, most teams score the majority of their goals from within the penalty area. The Revolution score most goals from the E and F areas. These could best be described as rebounds, headers from and finishes from crosses along the pitch. No goals were scored from the A and B areas. The Revolution conceded goals from three penalty kicks and converted two of them. Furthermore, one could add that The Revolution scored as many goals from outside the penalty area, as their opponents did (G and for the opponent G and H).

Assist for these goals were hit from the following areas. Below a breakdown of the pitch for analyzing this type of data.
The assists that NE produced were hit from the 8, 9 and 11 zones, pointing out their strongest areas. Benny Feilhaber (Offensive midfielder, 3 assists) and Pat Phelan (Midfielder 2 assists) are the leading players in this category. Feilhaber is described as a skillful and a deft passer. He brings vision and composure on the ball, while Phelan is described as a physical converted central defender who displays effective ball distribution in the defensive midfield.

When comparing different types of finishes we can see that most of them have been driven shots, while they've also scored three from headers. The opponents’ stats are almost the same, differentiating the most when shots are being placed in the net.

Three goals have come from crosses for NE, while two are a result of long passing. Opponents seems to have been most successful when either crossing the ball, or short passing their way to the actual goal scoring opportunity.

Below, is a breakdown of the pitch for analysing in what part of the goal the ball was shot when either NE, or the opponent, scored.

Most of the goals that NE scored were finishes to the left side of the goalie. Three finishes where directed towards the other side of the goal. Of the opponents goals most were placed in the right side lower corner, while four in the left corner. 

As we get ready to face our first opponent of the pre-season this is what we can look forward to. A hard working team that plays with pride in front of their home crowd. They have played 18 games, winning a total of three games. As the table stands today, The Revolution haven't won in five games. It is noteworthy that The Revolution score most of their goals during the first 15 minutes of games, while opponents from the 30th minute and beyond have had success scoring.

The game itself will be an interesting part of Manchester United's pre-season campaign. Next up after this game will be the Seattle Sounders on the 20th of July.

* The stats were collected from All games weren't visible, therefore some stats may be missing. The summary was made to give an overview of the New England Revolutions 2011-2012 season.

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