MLS: A statistical look at the season so far
The MLS is fast approaching its climax, at least for the majority of its members. Those good enough to have finished in the top seven of their respective conferences will qualify for the post-season playoffs (The MLS Cup) last championed by Atlanta. In this article, we will take a look at the MLS through a statistical microscope, using this football form guide tool.
MLS: Top Scoring Teams
Many critics will tell you that the defending in Major League Soccer is below par, but is that really the case? Could it be that, actually, the attacking is superior? Looking at the stats, it’s clear that one team this year has considerably more striking power than the rest. That’s Los Angeles FC. They have notched 76 goals so far this season, averaging 2.62 per game.
For comparison, side with the next best scoring record is New York City FC. The side currently of the Eastern Conference has 53 goals, averaging 1.89 goals per game. Please, if you can, spare a thought for poor FC Cincinnati. The team founded just 15 months ago is finding life hard in the MLS and has scored just 29 goals in as many games. Looking at the MLS Form Guide, they are winless in the previous 9 attempts.
Continuing with data from the football form guide, we can see that FC Dallas has scored more goals than anyone else across 6 games. During the same spell, Montreal Impact has seen all of their games end with 3 or more goals being scored. That’s value for money!
MLS: Most Goals Conceded
We have mentioned FC Cincinnati already and I’m afraid the humiliation does not stop there for the youngest member of the MLS family. 72 goals in 29 games. That’s 2.48 goals per game on average and in the past 5 games alone they have leaked 17 goals. They have conceded 3 or more goals on 11 occasions this season, including a 7-1 drumming. Serious improvements are required next season if they’re to truly compete in the MLS. However, without relegation, is there really any consequence for being this poor? It seems not, but pride and reputation for this new club should drive them to do all they can to improve. Nobody is winning here.
As an indication for the difference in quality, the 2nd-worst team for goals conceded is Montreal Impact, who has conceded 1.87 goals per game on average. At the opposite end of the table, we again turn our focus to Los Angeles FC, who has conceded just 1.10 goals per game. This is a brilliant defensive record, but they will need a few more clean sheets to catch up with New York Red Bulls’ record from last year. The Bulls managed to concede 37 goals in 38 matches.
Altlanta has the best defensive record when playing at home, conceding 0.64 goals per game. Away from home, Los Angeles FC has conceded 1.00 goal per game. Considering the amount of traveling that’s required in the MLS, that’s really not a bad record.
MLS: Latest Form
As previously mentioned, this time of the season is key for teams. Putting together a run of form at this stage will define your season, be it victories or defeats. For Atlanta and New York City FC, it’s the former. Both teams have won 5 of their last 6 fixtures. Thanks to this run, NYCFC now sit top of the Eastern Conference and will be preparing their squad for the playoffs.
For most teams, the hard work is still continuing. For Cincinnati and Houston Dynamo, they might wish the season could end this week. Both sides have picked up just 0.17 points per game across the last 6 fixtures. It’s desperately poor. As you might expect, Cincinnati has the worst defensive record of all teams during this period. Interestingly, however, there are teams that have scored fewer goals than both Cincinnati and Dynamo.
Orlando City seems to be sleep-walking through this MLS season, a season riddled with inconsistency. During the past 6 games, no team has scored fewer goals. It’s interesting to dig deeper into the stats and results of some of the teams we have shamed in this article. Take Houston Dynamo for example. They are in terrible form, but away from home they have still managed to score in 4 of the last 5 matches. Defending is clearly a huge issue.
MLS Overall Stats
- Goals Per Game: 3.06
- 29.4 Minutes Per Goal
- Both Teams Scoring: 59% of Games
- Most Frequent Result: Home Win (59%)
- Most Goals: 76-90 Mins (22%)
- Corners Per Game: 10.23
- Cards Per Game: 4.09
We hope you enjoyed this article as much as we enjoyed putting it together. It’s been a crazy MLS season so far and the journey has not yet finished. Who do you think will be lifting the MLS Cup in November?