Photo by Brandon Wu – UltiPhotos.com
This Sunday, the Philadelphia Spinners will visit Silver Spring, MD for the second time this season. In the DC Current’s first ever game on April 20th, over 1,000 witnessed a hard-fought 18-16 win for the Spinners.
Some predicted this game would set the tone for the Spinners, one of the pre-season favorites in MLU’s Eastern Conference. Instead, both teams find themselves at the bottom of the conference standings. Their head-to-head is tied at 1-1, with the visiting team winning each time.
Each team’s stats tell a more complete story. For the Washington crew, of their top four scorers—Alan Kolick (26), Sean Keegan (21), Markham Shofner (19) and Jeff Wodatch (17)—only one, Wodatch, has recorded more goals (13) than assists (4). For the Spinners’ top four scorers—Art Shull (21), David Baer (16), Sean Murray (15), and Trey Katzenbach (14)—the situation is reversed, with only Baer (4 G, 12 A) having registered more assists than goals.
Of the 24 players who have tallied an offensive stat for the Spinners, 12 have thrown more assists while 10 have caught more goals. Two players, Jack Casey and Ben Feng, have equal goals and assists.
For the DC Current, of the 17 players who have registered an offensive statistic, 6 have thrown more assists while 11 have scored more goals.
What, if anything, do these statistics reveal? The design of each offense is different, as are the make-ups of the rosters, so we must delve deeper.
Of the nine players on the Philadelphia squad who have at least 10 points, only one (Leon Chou) has a completion percentage below 92%. Chou comes in at 82.26%. While this is certainly suboptimal, it is somewhat understandable given his role as a defensive disruptor.
Of the seven Washington players who have at least 10 points, two have completion percentages below 92%: Keegan (86.86%) and Shofner (83.75%). While they have registered 3 and 4 Ds respectively, that is a secondary role for each and speaks to their versatility. Their primary roles are as distributors on offense. Are they being asked to do too much, or are they pressing beyond what they are asked to do?
Let’s look at the issue from a slightly different angle: At what rate does the offense move through these players? Of the nine players on the DC Current who have completed over 50 passes, only Keegan and Shofner are below 90%. The former has completed 119 passes while the latter has completed 67. Of note is Alan Kolick, who has maintained a 94.76% completion rate over 248 attempted passes.
Of the eight players on the Spinners who have completed over 50 passes, only Chou is below 90%. Also of note: Jonah Wisch has completed all 104 of his passes this season.
While player-by-player numbers highlight differences, the team stats are remarkably similar when considered from a more removed vantage point. Over five games:
Given a large enough sample size with enough players as data points, the overall numbers converge. Because distribution within those numbers vary, however, the way each team manipulates the weight placed on each individual player will determine the outcome of the game. When overall conditions appear the same, the method of player-strength-optimization is key.
Come see the teams’ strategies and tactics play out as the DC Current attempt to earn their first home victory of the season.
Also Seen in the Stats:
– DC’s Alan Kolick and PHL’s Nick Hirannet both have over 200 catches without a drop.
– PHL has six players and DC seven without a throwaway.
– DC has five players who have completed under 90% of their passes; PHL has nine.
– PHL has nine players with an AST/TO ratio of 1 or above (led by Wisch at 9); DC has three (led by Matt Gordon at 4).