FanPost

SSFC in the Clint Dempsey era

I have long been a Clint Dempsey skeptic as I’m sure many of you are shocked to hear. I wanted to dive deeper into the history of SSFC’s performance in the Clint Dempsey era to see if my perceptions of Clint’s performance matched reality. There are many different ways to evaluate a player’s contributions to a teams success, I’ve decided to focus upon G – xG and team PPG for MLS regular season games only. Since August 2013 when Clint debuted for us:

Games

PPG

G – xG

143

1.567

-5.660

Those numbers aren’t bad, they rate out to earning 53.3 points each year – solidly in playoff position and likely jockeying for a bye. We are under-performing the expected goals metric by over 1 goal per season though, probably not enough to worry about but something to keep an eye on. If we dive deeper and look at the difference between games Clint has played vs. games we didn’t have Clint:

With Clint?

Games

PPG

G – xG

Yes

94

1.691

-2.130

No

49

1.327

-3.53

Looking above, we see we have missed Clint for 1/3 of all regular season games since his signing. There is a noticeable difference of 0.37 PPG when Clint is on the pitch, additionally we under-perform our expected goals metric by less on a per game basis.

Clint Starts?

Games

PPG

G – xG

Yes

85

1.741

1.79

No

58

1.310

-7.45

As a team we perform better when Clint starts than we do when he comes on as a sub. Our PPG improves ever so slightly, and we are starting to perform better than our expected goals metric for the first time! This is great, I wish we could rely upon Clint to start more than 59.4% of all games, but injuries are beyond the realm of our control. The big question is are these results good enough to justify a top 10 salary in MLS, and occupying one of our DP positions? I looked into how the team performed in this same time frame with and without Oba as a natural experiment.

With Oba?

Games

PPG

G – xG

Yes

58

1.948

16.11

No

24

0.875

-9.6

All games in Oba era

82

1.634

6.51

These shifts in PPG, and G – xG for our games with and without Oba are drastic when compared the the shifts for Clint. Oba was a much more integral part of our team’s success. Additionally observing the expected goals metric shift when Oba was playing vs. when he wasn't available makes clear his ability to make something out of nothing.

Here is hoping our next DP influences our performances more akin to Oba than Clint.

FanPosts only represent the opinions of the poster, not of Sounder at Heart.