Following on from my previous post on the relationship between Major League Soccer payrolls and on-field performance, I consider how efficient league teams have been in the 2011 regular season. I seek to answer the question, What is an MLS team’s cost per point relative to the league average? In order to answer this question, I perform a quantitative performance benchmark analysis modeled after Bill Gerrard’s study of the Oakland A’s in his Moneyball paper. Performance benchmarking is the practice of assessing an organization’s performance relative to some defined baseline. (It doesn’t have to be an organization; such analyses are… Read more ›
One of the theses of Kuper and Szymanski’s book Soccernomics is that team performance in a football league is strongly determined by its payroll; in other words, clubs with highest payrolls finish at the top of the league more often than not. I’ve seen publications that state the correlation coefficient between payroll and points in the English Premier League is around 75%, and perhaps there are similar results in other European leagues (definitely Spain, to some extent Germany). I decided to look at the payroll figures for the recently completed 2011 MLS regular season to determine if the same principle… Read more ›
It was rough being a Sounder’s fan last night. Amidst discussions of a CONCACAF Champions League curse, playing at altitude and missing one of their best players of the season in Mauro Rosales, the Sounders had a tough playoff matchup against Real Salt Lake. While most fans would have been surprised if the Sounders had come [...] Read more ›
Ouch, 1:6. Clearly it was not a good weekend for Man Utd fans, especially as no one saw it coming. As an Arsenal fan, I could argue that the 8:2 result wasn’t so bad as Man Utd were flying high … Continue reading → Read more ›
Will Henry and the Red Bulls continue the game differential trendof years past and have the last laugh on Beckham and the Galaxy?
The Conference Semifinals are now set, and it is time for a bit of prognostication guided by statistical analysis…. Read more ›
During tonight’s MLS Playoff match between the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas, the “Curse of CONCACAF Champions League” was brought up. FC Dallas has had to play more matches than NYRB this season and came into the match looking a bit fatigued. Since the CONCACAF version isn’t as lucrative as the European version, [...] Read more ›
Last week, tickets went on sale for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and I am pleased to announce that I will be there in early March of next year. The conference continues its exponential growth as it moves from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to the more centrally-located Hynes Convention Center. Conference tickets are being sold at a rapid rate, and with the news today that Bill James will appear at the SSAC there will be even greater demand for tickets. There will almost certainly be a Soccer Analytics session next year but I don’t know who the… Read more ›
The 2011 MLS Cup playoffs start tonight, and I thought it might be worth taking a statistical look at what it might take to get through the new Wild Card playoff round.
For those who don’t follow MLS regularly, a bit of background is in order. U… Read more ›
Watching City take on United at Old Trafford on Sunday was a sight to behold. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to see it in person (not that I wish United ill in any way) for the historical occasion it was (and the good football, too).We now know that the… Read more ›
I was in a discussion on Twitter with some people on the various sports analytics conferences that are either focused on soccer or have soccer-related forums. One such conference is the Science and Football conference in the UK, which had its inaugural meeting last year. The second edition of the conference has been confirmed for 18 March 2012 at the University of East London, Docklands campus. That’s two weeks after the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. You can register for the conference here. The conference fee is £100, which is a 10% rise over last year, but still lower than… Read more ›