Stats and Musings: Yordany, passing, the final third and more

Stats and Musings: Yordany, passing, the final third and more


With our win over Colorado, we can derive some interesting statistics from the whole blasted affair. For example, did you know that two of our two goals were scored by Real Salt Lake players? Wait, those aren't interesting statistics. Hold on…

  • Yordany Alvarez has been praised in the media as having had a very good match against the Rapids, but it's when you bring in some numbers to back it up that things get really fascinating. Yordany made a shocking seven interceptions, with all but one of those coming around the midfield stripe. He's second in the league in interceptions per minute, too — with nearly half of his 15 season interceptions (across a paltry 293 minutes) coming in Saturday's match.
  • Surprisingly, that's not the most a single player has had in a match for us this season. Kyle Beckerman had seven in the 2-1 win over New England, and Chris Schuler had 8 against Montreal Impact. Seven, though, is still quite a feat, and though it's not the most we've seen in the league (that feats goes to Sporting KC's Roger Espinoza, who had 13 against Columbus Crew), it's a real statement from the the captain's backup. 
  • Of our home games thus far, we equalled the second-lowest number of total passes, which, strangely enough, we've now seen three times: 426 total passes (as seen in matches v New York, Montreal Impact, and now, Colorado Rapids.) Our lowest?  402 against FC Dallas. We won all four of those.
  • Our 79 percent passing rate was not the best we've seen at home, but it was certainly not the worst. The worst? 70 percent against FC Dallas. Again, a match we won.
  • The least amount of passes we've attempted on the road was 311 (249 completed) in our April 21 loss to San Jose Earthquakes.
  • The highest passing success rate we've seen from a visiting side at the Rio Tinto? 84% from New York Red Bulls. The second-highest success rate was Colorado Rapids in this most recent match, with 79 percent. Interesting how that happens, isn't it? In only one home match, too, has the opponent had a greater passing rate than we have: You guessed it. Colorado Rapids, this most recent match.
  • Despite our reasonable passing in the midfield, our final third rate was, well, rough against Colorado on Saturday. We made 29 successful passes in the final third — of a mere 70 attempted — for 41 percent accuracy. It is by far the lowest we've seen so far, both in terms of attempted and in success rate.
  • In three home matches, the opponent has had a greater passing rate in the final third than we have: Twice it was Colorado Rapids, and once, it was New York Red Bulls. Are we purposefully allowing these opponents to pass around in the final third? Or are we packed in to an extent that they'll make different sorts of decisions? It is worth considering that, yes, we have won all those matches, too.

It all makes me wonder a bit. Not extensively so, but you know, a bit. Like I said. Are we purposefully allowing opponents sometimes to take control of the match so we can hit them on the break? There's no shame in it, and it's not really a negative form of play in some iterations. There was nothing negative about our win over Colorado, really.

Or is it more that we have trouble at home sometimes to get things into the final third in the first place? If sides come in more defensively oriented and organized, should we expect to be racking up passes up that far? I shouldn't imagine so.

Anyway, that serves to illustrate that stats only tell part of the story. You've also got to see the thing, understand the struggles, how things are working, how things aren't, and what needs to be done to improve — statistically and less statistically.

'Til tomorrow!