This week for our STATSdraft spotlight game, Nathan Dunn and I have decided to focus on the MLS championship match. This is the perfect format to see the differences play out between regular season and the championship game. In order to prepare for our draft, I went back and looked at my MLS playoff league I am in with some of the STATSdraft team. Taking that information and what I learned from Nathan’s match preview article I think I’ve worked out a pretty solid strategy for my selections.
What Nathan taught me
In Nathan’s article, I learned a few key factors. Until I read the article, I didn’t know that five of the last 6 cups were won by the home team so I’ll keep the at in mind. Nathan presented this as a matchup between an offensive juggernaut and a defensive stall worth. His projection that the juggernaut would win has me thinking that I’ll be selecting offensive categories instead of defensive. He also pointed out that LA FC has only been getting 35% of the possession time. That makes me believe that the only way they would be able to win is if they have a high volume of shots on goal so I will likely be looking to target that stat.
How the playoffs have played out through a STATSdraft lens
In typical fashion, our MLS playoff league yielded different point production than the regular season. The biggest shockers were stats like least clearances which garner .95 average points per game in the regular season drew a 1.26 in the playoffs so far. Other over performing stats were least yellow cards, which went from 1.05 to 1.26, most corners which went from 1.11 to 1.26, and least saves which went from 1.07 to 1.37. Home teams under performed during the playoffs going from 1.54 to 1.41. And shots on goal and shots both over performed slightly going from a 1.38 to 1.59 and 1.2 to 1.37 respectively.
What I am looking to target
Given all of this, I have to think that shots on goal and shots will be key factors in this game. The home team advantage seems like another stat that I should be looking for but if the over performance of least saves and least yellow cards continues I’d be remiss not to select them if they’re available.