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LA Galaxy shot often, but didn't shoot well against Colorado Rapids

Not all shots are created equal, and although the LA Galaxy were able to hit Colorado with 21 attempts, few of them were actually of a nature that truly tested Clint Irwin.


Not all shots are created equal, and with thirteen between them Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean certainly took plenty. However, is taking plenty of shots enough to say they were unlucky? Were the chances they created enough to warrant a sense of injustice?

The Central Winger wrote last year about shot efficiency in relation to the MLS scoring leaders. He begins by saying the shots mean nothing without context, and certainly looking at a scoresheet with twenty one shots and one goal the need for context is paramount.

Only three of the attempts by McBean and Villarreal came from outside the box, which according to Central Winger should have a seventeen percent or less chance of going in. One of those was Villarreal's left footed chip that had to be cleared off the line by a defender, one was a Villarreal shot saved, and the final one was McBean skying one high.

That the Galaxy didn't get any goals out of those three isn't that unlucky, although Villarreal's bouncer sure had a good chance. That leaves ten shots from inside the box taken by Villarreal and McBean, half of which were on target.

There were seven attempts directly in front of goal, three of which were blocked by defenders. Three were saved, and one was missed left. So of the seven shots with a 50% of going in, only three of them made it to the keeper. One each from the head of McBean and Villarreal respectively, and one from McBean's right foot.

So while the high volume on the shot chart suggests a onslaught of the Colorado goal, what we actually see is three attempts where the odds between the striker and the keeper were even, and only one of those was hit with the foot. Colorado's defense played better than perhaps they'll get credit for considering all the shots that got off.

When I take apart the Galaxy's possessions for the match, I expect we'll see a return to the tempo from the match against Chicago. What Colorado lacked was a midfield that could take the play of their defense and hold on to the ball to churn it up to their forwards.

Tempo Free Soccer has their own metric for expected goals, which takes attempts and shots on goals and multiples them against the league conversion percentage amongst other things. What it spits out for the Galaxy last night is 2.6 expected goals, which would suggest the Galaxy were unlucky against the Rapids.

Certainly LA had opportunities for a second or third goal, but the numbers in this case make things look better than they actually were. The attempts taken by those not playing forward were far and few between, and outside of Magee's penalty kick goal, only Colin Clark's left footed shot directly at Clint Irwin was on target.

Many deflected shots, even before the red card; six on the match. What the Galaxy did better than last week was not having the lapse on a counter to give up two of the three points. However, getting good looks on goal and not simply peppering and praying, is still a bit of an issue.

Early in the season, so the shooting should sharpen up as the year progresses. Just something to keep in mind if the Galaxy keep up this type of shot production in the near future.