Friday Staturday: RSL, MLS, passing, fouling and more

Friday Staturday: RSL, MLS, passing, fouling and more


Right, I took yesterday a bit off, but I'm back on track with posts in the morning (is that a cheer or a jeer? I can't quite tell). Today, I thought it might be particularly interesting to go over some league-wide statistics, some Real Salt Lake-specific statistics, and maybe to speak to the BYU friendly a bit. Well, then, let's get on with it, shall we?

Who is the best passing team in MLS? Why, we are, of course! Or, at least, I think we are. We've completed the most passes (4,633) and attempted the most (5,778) but we are sadly just behind the R*pids in passing accuracy. We're at 80.2%, they're at 81%. Fascinating, isn't it? Well, hey, we're ahead of them in the standings, and that's really what matters, I think.

Who is offside most often? Fabian Espindola, who, in previous seasons, was criticized for his constant straying offside, seems to have corrected any issue there. He's offside once every 75 minutes — just over once a match — alongside Alvaro Saborio, who is also at 75. In fact, neither of the two crack the top 20. Offside most often from Real Salt Lake is Paulo Jr., whose 10 offsides have seen him stray once every 47.2 minutes. Montreal's Corradi leads the league in offsides per minute, being whistled about once every 40 minutes.

Crying foul. If you were asked who the player who fouled most often at Real Salt Lake was, how would you answer? Kyle Beckerman might be the first shout — he's got the most yellows, after all. Alas, you'd be wrong. Master Beckerman barely makes the top 30, with a foul every 43 minutes. At third in the league — and this isn't actually that surprising, but I do like to build the tension — is Jonny Steele, with a foul every 28 minutes. While that sounds bad, consider Edson Buddle, who has fouled once every 20.5 minutes. Ouch.

Who, then, is our most oft fouled player? Is it Fabian Espindola? Alvaro Saborio? Javier Morales? No, it's Sebastian Velasquez, who has been fouled once every 34 minutes. This seems like it's due to his uncanny ability to keep the ball under pressure. Most often fouled in the league is Benny Feilhaber, who has been fouled once every 25 minutes — which is still less often than Edson Buddle fouls. What a champ.

Every day, I'm tackling. So,we know Jonny Steele makes a fair few fouls, but he also wins his fair share of tackles, too. He's seventh in the league in tackles won, with one coming every 30 minutes. Leading the league is Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso.

Unlocking Defenses. We all know that Javier Morales is a key player for us, but have you ever considered how key he is? Oh, you have? Yes, that's fair. Consider this, though: He has completed one key pass every 28 minutes, and he leads the league in this. We hurt when we miss him. On that note, surprisingly next in the list for our side (but a bit further down the league list) is Jonny Steele, who has made a key pass every 45 minutes. He may be a bit erratic, but my word, he does help us out a fair bit.

Our saving grace. Right, given that Nick Rimando has been a four-time winner of save of the week so far, you'd think that maybe we're facing an abnormally high number of shots of which to save. It doesn't seem that's the case: He's in the middle of the table on saves per minute, coming out at about one every 30 minutes. He's made a punch every 83 minutes — sixth in the league — which may be an attribute of his height or something like that. At any rate, given that we're not wallowing in the depths of goals allowed, this is slightly reassuring. It just means, I think, that Nick makes some outstanding, spectacular saves. Big surprise, right?

Right, well, there are some statistics. All player stats are conducted with players who have played at least 270 minutes, or the equivalent of three full matches, this season.

Now, I can't quite wait for the friendly against that BYU side — the BYU Mountain Lions, was it? It'll be a treat to watch our side in a setting that is more casual but still competitive, and I get the feeling we'll see plenty of young players. If you're going — and I'd highly recommend it, if you can (5pm, BYU, Saturday) — look out for players like Leone Cruz, a promising young center back; Nico Muñiz, a midfielder with a brilliant long strike on him; Chris Estridge, a quick full back and a rookie; and Enzo Martinez, whose promise is there, even if he's not quite there as a player yet. Of course, there could be some surprises, too, and I'm really looking forward to that. I'm assuming we won't see any trialists or academy kids, but then again — who really knows?

Right, 'til tomorrow, when I'll try to have some sort of wacky match preview for a friendly against a relatively unknown side. Gulp.