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Alternate timelines show less exciting Shield "win"

Marco Pappa's brace in the final five minutes took away timelines with a lot more angst and much less excitement. Those timelines almost all still show Sounders with the Supporters' Shield.

Mike Russell

One of the interesting things that Win Expectancy Chart can show about the Seattle Sounders FC 2-nil win over the LA Galaxy is that the Supporters' Shield was almost certainly going to shine Rave Green last night. Yes, even if Marco Pappa doesn't score in the 85th minute Seattle was likely to take the Shield.

There are two reasons for that. First, Sounders FC entered the match with 19 wins. By owning the tie-breaker with LA they only needed a draw to take the Shield. Second, homefield advantage meant that in the 84th minute a draw was the most likely result in the 84th minute (68.7% chance of draw). Even a win was more likely than a Galaxy win (17.6% for Seattle winning).

Shield Win Expectancy Chart

That most likely timeline would be an interesting event. A nil-nil draw from absorbing pressure that still takes a trophy. The celebration post-game probably takes a much different tone - maybe more of the Fan Appreciation emphasis and less of the We Won The Shield? Or maybe not.

Another timeline is possible as well. This one using "Expected Goals." Based on shot locations, type of key pass, body part striking the ball LA Galaxy should have been up a goal until Pappa entered the field.

Remember that Pappa is the only Sounder to take a shot. That model above does have an significant caveat - Pappa's 2nd goal came without a keeper in the net. The "expected goal" in those circumstances is much more likely than where his location and dribble would make it in normal circumstances. By expected Goals the timeline says it is another come-from-behind draw at 1-1.

That's an interesting party. Two weeks in a row showing the heart and determination. But also with doubts as to whether Seattle can do it again.

There are other universes, with other timelines.

The one we live in is the brightest timeline. It is the timeline of 2-nil and 20 wins. It is the timeline of victory. It is the timeline of Marco Pappa.

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