Featured / MLS

Where the goals come from

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

When it comes to goals, it’s easy enough to find out who has scored them. As the season goes on, the hard part is remembering how the goals were scored. Did this goal come from open play or was it a set piece? Was that goal from a throw in or was it from a corner kick. Did he score with his head or with his feet?

Aside from simply wanting to know how goals have been scored, looking at the totals can give a glimpse to weapons that are being underutilized in the Union’s scoring arsenal.

Union scoring at home

The Union have scored a total of 30 goals in 24 games, an average of 1.25 goals per game. They have scored 15 goals at home and 15 on the road, again for an average of 1.25 goals per game. They are twelfth in the league in goals scored, sixth in the East.

At home, the Union have scored ten goals from open play, two from set pieces and three from penalty kicks. This means that 67 percent of the Unions goals at home have come from open play, 13 percent from set pieces and 20 percent from penalty kicks.

Of the goals scored from open play, 80 percent (eight goals) have come in the second half and all of those have been scored with the foot. Twenty percent (two goals) of the open play goals have come in the first half and they are evenly divided between being scored with the foot and the head.

To date, the Union have scored only two goals at home from set pieces, one each in the first and second half, both with the foot. Of penalty kicks, 33 percent (one PK) was scored in the first half, 67 percent (two PKs) in the second half.

The Union have yet to score a single goal at home with either the foot or the head from a corner kick or from a throw in.

Union scoring on the road

On the road, the Union have scored eleven goals from open play, two from a corner kicks, and one each from a throw in or from a set piece. This means that 73 percent of the Union goals on the road have come from open play, 13 percent from corner kicks, seven percent from throw ins and seven percent from set pieces.

Of the goals scored in open play, 45 percent (five goals) have come in the first half, 55 percent (6 goals) in the second half. All of the away open play goals have been scored with the foot.

To date, the Union have scored two corner kick goals on the road, one with the head in the first half and one with the foot in the second half. The Union have scored one goal from a throw in and one goal from a set piece and both of those have been scored with the foot.

How the Union have been scored on at home

The Union have allowed a total of 24 goals in 24 games, an average of one goal per game. At home they have allowed 11 goals, an average of .92 goals per game. On the road they have allowed 13 goals, an average of 1.08 goals per game. They are third in the league in goals allowed, first in the East. (The Union and Columbus are tied in goals allowed but Philadelphia has played one less game than the Crew.)

Of the eleven goals scored on the Union at home, eight have come from open play, two from corner kicks and one from a throw in. This means that 73 percent of the goals scored on the Union at home have come from open play, 18 percent from corner kicks and nine percent from throw ins.

Of the goals scored from open play, 63 percent (five goals) have come in the first half and 37 percent (three goals) have come in the second half. All of the open play goals scored on the Union have come from the foot.

How the Union have been scored on away

Of the 13 goals scored on the Union on the road, eight have come from open play, which equals 62 percent of the goals allowed by the Union. Of those open play goals, 75 percent (six goals) have been scored with the foot and 25 percent (two goals) have been scored with the head, with 63 percent (five goals) of the open play goals coming in the first half and 37 percent (three goals) coming in the second half. Of the 63 percent of open play goals that were scored in the first half, 60 percent (three goals) came from the foot and 40 percent (two goals) came from the head.

Throw ins that resulted in a goal scored by the foot account for eight percent (one goal) of the goals scored on the Union away. Headers from a set piece make up 15 percent (two goals) of the away goals scored on the Union. The Union have allowed two penalty kick goals on the road, both in the second half, which equals another 15 percent.

Where the goals come from

Of the 30 goals scored by the Union, 67 percent (20 goals) have come from open play and were scored with the foot, three percent (one goal) from open play and scored with the head. Corner kicks account for six percent (two goals) of the Union’s goals, evenly divided between the foot and the head. A further three percent (one goal) comes from throw ins that are finished with the foot. Set pieces (3 goals) account for ten percent of the Union’s goals, all of those scored with the foot. Penalty kicks work out to be a final ten percent of the Union’s goals. Of those goals scored with the foot, 19 have been scored with the right foot, nine with the left.

In terms of the 20 goals scored from open play, 20 percent (four goals) resulted from crosses. Of the set piece goals, 33 percent (one goal) came from a direct free kick, 67 percent (two goals) from an indirect free kick.

Looking at the distance from goal, 23 percent (seven goals) came from inside the goal area, 53 percent (16 goals) from inside the penalty area and 23 percent (seven goals) from outside the penalty area.

Where more goals should come from

It has been remarked upon in articles and in readers comments over and over again, it nevertheless bears repeating: the Union have recorded a shockingly low number of goals from corner kicks and set pieces. How many of the Union’s ten draws could have been wins with more effective corner kick and set piece play is anyone’s guess but a goal or two here or there would mean that instead of slumping into fourth place the Union might still be in first place. The same, of course, could be said about the Union’s finishing from open play but the fact remains that the Union’s corner kick and set piece numbers are distressingly low. After all, it took the Union eleven games to score a footed goal from a corner kick, an astounding 24 games to score a headed goal from a corner kick and that was only the second headed goal of the season overall.

While the Union remain close to the bottom in total number of corner kicks for the league, they have recently begun to create substantially more corner kick opportunities. Corner kicks, like set pieces, depend as much on the delivery as on the finish to be effective. And if the Union is to deliver more wins, more goals from corner kicks and set pieces will go a long way.

 

4 Comments

  1. The Ruiz wondergoal must therefore be considered open play, but in my book that’s a direct product of the free kick set piece.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

%d bloggers like this: