I've decided to try an experiment today. I went back through the video of yesterday's match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact, and attempted to keep track of each team's scoring chances. The idea, hopefully, is that we'll be able to get a quick idea of the "flow" of the game in a way that goals can't allow us and, over the course of one or several seasons, determine which players drive offense in ways that aren't necessarily apparent in the box score.
As this is my first time tracking scoring chances for a soccer game, I'm sure that there'll be disagreement over what I consider a "chance" and what I don't. The hard fact is that there's no way to definitively determine what's a chance and what is not: this is an inherently subjective measurement.
But it should still be worth an effort. As long as my measurement of a scoring chance is consistent, it could still paint a reliable picture.
The definition I used to determine a scoring chance was: a clear-cut individual opportunity to score a goal in a situation where, had the shot gone in, it would not have been considered "spectacular". A shot, on or off goal, is not required to be a scoring chance; somebody bobbling a clear opportunity in front of the goal would be a scoring chance, for example. On the other hand, something like a cross that would have been dangerous if the defender hadn't swept it out (however spectacularly the defender did so) isn't a scoring chance, because the attacking team never had the opportunity to put the ball in.
Since this is new for me, I'm hungrier than usual for any input, positive or negative, on this project. So please don't hesitate to leave a comment or
After the jump, scoring chances for Vancouver's season opener March 10 at BC Place against the Montreal Impact.
A definition of terms:
- Chance For (CF) refers to the player who actually took the scoring chance.
- Chance Created (CC) refers to the player who set up the scoring chance; if the chance had gone in, it's the player who I'd credit with the assist. If this column is blank, I would not have awarded an assist on a (hypothetical) goal.
- The Players columns indicate the players on the pitch at the time of the chance. If a player is off receiving treatment for an injury, even if he hasn't been officially substituted, he will not be shown on this list.
Thanks to @WhitecapsHD on Twitter for not just having the idea to compile a YouTube video of all the chances, but actually doing it. This video has all the Vancouver chances first, then all the Montreal chances.
|Time||Team||CF||CC||Home Players||Away Players||Notes|
|First half: chances VAN 4, MTL 3|
|49:53||VAN||7||1-4-6-15-12-28-27-20-37-7-29||1-31-5-13-15-21-22-8-7-11-17||Rebound after corner|
|64th minute: MTL out 21 in 26|
|64th minute: VAN out 20 in 3|
|72nd minute: MTL out 17 in 33|
|81st minute: MTL out 8 in 32|
|81st minute: VAN out 37 in 16|
|89th minute: VAN out 29 in 22|
|Second half: chances VAN 4, MTL 4|
|Final: chances VAN 8, MTL 7|
Obviously, Vancouver's dominance wasn't as comfortable as we might have hoped; it certainly supports those of us warning that the Whitecaps didn't play Montreal off the park. But it was Montreal's furious attack between 59' and 71' which got them into a competitive position chance-wise, immediately after Camilo's goal. It makes a lot of sense that Montreal would go heavily on the attack, while the Whitecaps might sit back more and allow Montreal to dictate the play too much. After Montreal's attack spent its force and Jordan Harvey arrived to stabilize things, the play began going Vancouver's way again.
Beware of a phenomenon called "score effects": it's been observed in hockey that a team which falls behind will rack up more shots and scoring chances than its opponent as it tries to come back, and Gabe Desjardins has suggested that it applies in soccer as well.
Four of Montreal's seven chances came in open play; the other three came from set pieces. By contrast, only two of eight Whitecaps chances came from set pieces.