Small Sample Size: MLS Week 4

Three thoughts on Week 4 of MLS.

Three thoughts from Week 4 of MLS from ESPN 700’s JP Chunga

Say Yes to the Press

Under, Brad Friedel New England Revolution want to press. He told “There aren’t too many goals that are scored from when your goalkeeper gets the ball and you make 75 passes through the opposition and then you score. The majority of goals are scored off transitions and mistakes by the opposition. My theory is if you can win the ball as high up the field as possible, then you have a higher percentage chance of creating chances.”

In New England’s 2-2 draw with New York City FC, there was good (THE GOALS) and bad (GOALS CONCEDED), but without a doubt they pressed from the very beginning.

How great that, ALL of Paul Mariner’s keys were on display in the first couple minutes. I’d be doing a cartwheel in the booth if I were that on point.

In Friedel’s postgame press conference, he claimed they were at a 70-80% fitness level. I remember in Syracuse’s 2016 Final Four run, Jim Boeheim said he couldn’t press for an entire game. Boeheim plays a notoriously short bench, and “40 minutes of Hell” is tiring. It flipped a 15-point deficit, but it’s not a viable option for 40 minutes. If New England is 100% fit, this press could be fun.

Too far

Oh, but a good thing comes with a price. New York Red Bulls broadcasters Jonathan Yardley and Shep Messing commented on teams being able to counter quickly on NYRB. And then…

4v2. If the outlet pass is more accurate, it’s 1-1. I assume Jesse Marsch shows this over and over in this week’s film session. But hey, clean sheet against Minnesota United so pizza.

Read of the Week

This is called the small sample size because that’s one of my favorite turns of phrase. “Small sample size, but Donovan Mitchell is playing like a hall-of-famer” or “Small sample size, but Ryan Coogler is America’s best director.” Well…small sample size, but I have concerns about the Sporting Kansas City defense. Most people do.

Peter Vermes scoffed at such concerns, according to Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. The money quote in the piece: “You guys need to tell me which one you guys want — do you guys want us to score goals (or) do you want us to (not) concede goals?” Vermes said. “You gotta tell me. Because if you do, I’ll go talk to the players and just let them know how we can work that out for you.”

The SKC head man wasn’t concerned because the club wasn’t giving up chance after chance. Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, is right in the middle of the pack in terms of shots faced. But it was route one stuff in Sporting’s 2-2 draw with Colorado Rapids.

The results haven’t been bad, but last year’s team conceded multiple goals in just six matches during the regular season. SKC is on pace to shatter that mark with the same core. SKC is giving up as many goals as DC United (9).

Skill Check

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