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Mining the Data: What Can Stats Tell Us About Galaxy Attackers?

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Using shots per key pass, we can figure out if the Galaxy are optimizing their attacking opportunities.

USA TODAY Sports

The Galaxy have been playing scintillating soccer as of late.  But, recent speculation has questioned the role of Gyasi Zardes in the Keane/Donovan/Zardes triumvirate.  We look deeper into the attacking numbers to see if this criticism is valid and/or if there are any obvious solutions.

Apart from goals and assists, the next two most useful metrics to assess attackers are shots and key passes (shot assists).  These are the precursors to goals.  You can't score if you don't shoot (roughly 1 in 10 shots is converted to a goal) and most shots are created by a key pass.  Luckily, we have stats for both handy.  Using a methodology explained in more depth here we can "type" the Galaxy attackers as either Providers, Shooters, or Balanced.  They are ranked by total shots contributed (shots + key passes / 90 min).

Name SH / 90 KP / 90 Total Shot Contribution / 90 SH / KP Type
Robbie Keane 3.0 2.6 5.6 1.2 Balanced
Landon Donovan 1.8 2.6 4.4 0.7 Provider
Gyasi Zardes 3.1 1 4.1 3.1 Shooter
Juninho 1.5 1.6 3.1 0.9 Provider
Robbie Rogers 1.8 1.2 3.0 1.5 Balanced
Jose Villarreal 1.7 1.1 2.8 1.5 Balanced
Marcelo Sarvas 1.6 1.1 2.7 1.5 Balanced

While most Galaxy attackers have a balance between how many shots they take and key passes they provide, Gyasi Zardes is an obvious outlier.  Now, taking a lot more shots than key passes is not necessarily a bad thing.  Zardes' role is to score goals.  The problem is that he just has not been scoring enough of them.  When you shoot nearly twice as much as Landon Donovan, you need to have more than three goals at this point in the year.  Gyasi is a young and very talented player.  He will get better.  But if the Galaxy hope to achieve a three-peat, he will either have to start finishing more or  Donovan and Keane should start shooting more.

Name Shots Goals Conversion %
Robbie Keane 48 12 25.0%
Landon Donovan 31 8 25.8%
Gyasi Zardes 58 3 5.2%