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Chivas USA's Silver Linings Playbook for 2013

In 2013, Chivas USA may only need to give the metaphorical Etch-A-Sketch a good shake to turn blowouts losses into points.

Otto Greule Jr

In six games last year Chivas USA lost by four or more goals. In those games, the team attempted 71 shots. That's just two shots fewer than the 73 attempted shots from the team's nine draws.

Intriguingly, some opponents appear in both tables. Each opponent responsible who scored four or more goals against Chivas, was a team that Chivas either beat (LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake) or drew with (Seattle, San Jose, Vancouver (twice), and Colorado).

The tables below represent Chivas USA's shooting in each category. Using data obtained from the Opta chalkboards we plotted:

  • Whether a shot was on and off target
  • Location (left, right and center)
  • Distance (6 yard box, the penalty box and outside of the box)

Reading between the lines

Flip the middle numbers:

The most obvious difference is the number of shots on target in the middle sections. If El Chelis is able to improve those numbers, Chivas USA may be able to flip the script on some of those blowouts.

Balance:

There is a slight uptick in attempts from the left in the draws over the blowouts (13 to 9 respectively). Intriguingly Chivas' accuracy was wildly off (3/10) in draws while an acute 4/5 in the loss category.

Efficiency:

The squad was much more efficient in the draws, scoring 10 goals in 73 shots, roughly earning a goal for every 7.3 attempts which was much more efficient than the 35.5 shots mustered for the two goals in the losses. Since the opponents are somewhat, but not exactly, similar we have to ask: how efficient was Chivas being with the ball? For one thing, Chivas' accuracy was half that in the draws: 35/73 (.479) versus 16/71 (.225).

The Takeaway

There were significantly more blocked shots in the draws which suggests to me the team was being more aggressive in their shooting. I don't really have the data to fully back up this assertion, it's merely a conjecture at this point. But if they managed to get the ball past the defender their accuracy was high.

Going back to balance, Chivas needs a left footed player who can lead down the left flank. Perhaps Ante Jazic can reprise his 2011 form. The worst thing a soccer team can be is predictable; Opponents who scout the team know the the water drained down the right too often for the Goats in 2012. Of our two left footed wingers, Ryan Smith is gone and Laurent Courtois could be, given his relationship with the previous regime.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!