The other day I came across a Twitter thread by Mike Vermeland (@ikicknumbers) that was just fantastic. He’s been counting down the days to the MLS season posting a stat graphic each day – starting with this one at 50.
They are so much fun. I sent him a note saying how great the graphics are and he kindly offered to highlight some FCD players in a few of them. Which was quite nice of him.
If the images are too small, you should be able to open them in a new tab and expand them.
So without further adieu, here are Mike Vermeland’s awesome FCD graphics.
Minutes by Players Born in 1999 or Later
FC Dallas being a big Academy based team this one is fun. Although these numbers might actually drop in 2021.
First the league for context.
And now FC Dallas. “Play the kids.”
Aerial win percentage crossed with actual aerials won per 90. Up and to the right is good. Again, MLS big picture for contact – and holy crap Kai Kamara.
And FC Dallas. The front three of Jesus Ferreira, Santi Mosquera, and Franco Jara are really bad in the air and Michael Barrios was just a little better… which seems bad on a team that crosses a lot. This might be a key reason for the offensive rebuilds this year. Ricardo Pepi anyone?
Also, Thiago Santos? What?
Crosses vs Successful Dribbles
This is a graphic driven by defenders. Given the need for offensive-minded backs in Luchi-Ball, this one is kind of important.
Again, MLS first.
Now FC Dallas. You go, Bryan Reynolds and Reggie Cannon.
Passes Into the Attacking Third vs Key Passes
This one might be my favorite. MLS first again.
Nicolas Lodeiro, Diego Valeri, Alejandro Pozuelo… difference makers matter or something.
Now FC Dallas.
I like to call this the Andrés Ricaurte is a magician graphic.
Passes Under Pressure vs Intercepts
The realm of holding mids…
and Nicolas Lodeiro. Damn, dude.
For FC Dallas. Thiago Santos of course. Andrés Ricaurte surprisingly, but then again we like him as that deep-8 rather than a 10. And Jesus Ferreira with a high number of intercepts, we knew he was FCD’s best pressing attacker.
I bet Paxton Pomykal would look good on this chart.
xG per Shot by Goals
This one took me a minute. xG per shot was obvious, a high score means the player takes good shots with a high xG.
Cross-referencing it with goals… does the player score? You can extrapolate backward the number of shots from this but clearly, players with more shots tend toward the right. It’s the xG per shot that is interesting.
And Dallas. I think we all knew Franco Jara makes good shot choices. But so does Ricardo Pepi. We talked a lot last season about Pepi having one of the highest xGs on the team. Jara took 37 shots last year with 7 goals. Pepi took 14 shots with 2 goals.
Both have roughly the same xG per shot, I remain totally comfortable with the idea of starting Pepi. Although Jesus Ferreira will factor.
Team Pressures by Third
This one was surprising. Coach Luchi Gonzalez talks about pressing and seems to want to high press opponents… Or so I thought.
But speaking in percentage terms… FC Dallas presses deeper in the field than most teams in MLS.
20% of the club’s pressures come in the offensive third, which is low for MLS.
41% of the FCD’s pressures come in midfield, again, that’s low for MLS.
39% of the Dallas pressures come in the defensive end. That’s top 5 in MLS.
So I went and looked up total defensive pressures… and FCD was 6th from the bottom. Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, Seattle, and Orlando City pressured less last year.
And 4th bottom in their success rate at 28%. Only LA Galaxy, DC United, and Vancouver Whitecaps were worse… which isn’t a good list.
We know FCD has a good defense. But their high field press seems to be poor. If a coach wants to play like Pep or Klopp whose teams are predicated on turnovers and scoring off of them… then there is a lot of work to do.
I think in the end, Luchi wants to press more he just hasn’t had the right personnel to do it as much as he’d like. Let’s see what the new front line this year does.
one of the reasons for poor pressing was the lack of playing time for Acosta. He is by far the best pressing midfielder FCD has and he was rarely available or selected. Obviously Jara is a poor presser and Ricaurte is below average. classic example of a coach wanting to implement a style which his roster doesn’t support. seems like a disconnect between the FO and coaching staff if this is really the direction they want to go.
I hadn’t thought of that.
So I was intrigued and I looked up the defensive pressures for Acosta and Tessmann (most director replacement)
and compared them with by minutes played and they are just about the same.
(.15 pressures per minute to .16)
BUT Acosta has a 32.5% success rate to Tessmann’s 29.5%… 3% is for sure a real difference. Acosta is the 5th best presser by percentage on the roster in 2020.
Tessmann 8th. Not massive but for sure real.
Ricaurte actually presses a good bit more (.21 pressures per minute), he’s just worse at it: 27.4%.