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Shooting Blanks: How the Sounders learned to stop worrying and let opponents take bad shots

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The Seattle Sounders have conceded significantly more shots than their opponents, 10 games into the 2015 season. However, the difference is more attributable to the team's superior play than to defensive weakness.

ShootingBlanks

The Seattle Sounders have taken fewer shots than their opponent in 8 of 10 games, including Saturday's 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Nevertheless, the quality of shooting - as indicated by expected goals models - regularly favors Seattle:

It is very difficult to prevent an opponent from taking bad shots, and still harder to do so when playing conservatively. Expected goals metrics that summarize a full game can conceal changes in game state. The Sounders rank second (as of 5/11) in expected goal-differential when the game is even. The figure at the head of this article demonstrates that the shooting disparity in favor of Seattle's opponents is mainly an artifact of playing with a lead.

Step 1: Score a high-quality chance.

Step 2: Let your opponent waste possession in the offensive third by taking shots 30 yards from goal.

Step 3: profit.