Chattanooga FC won three points in style with a 3-0 win over the Maryland Bobcats. The game was done and dusted at the half, with Maryland legs tired from a big midweek win over the California United Strikers.
On the surface, it might appear a fairly even match with a lopsided result; the cumulative graph below will explain why. But, you have to put shots on target to do that, and Maryland was unable to test KG even once.
You can see that by halftime Chattanooga had generated plenty of chances while keeping Maryland largely at bay; they did slow down after the half, and Maryland got a few more looks but none good enough to score. Hopefully the slowdown in Chattanooga output manifests itself in the form of fresh legs in the midweek.
The Flow of Attack: Expected Assists (kind of)
Big thanks to Matt for going through and tagging on primary and secondary passes leading to each shot. While we’ve been seeing who takes the shots at what quality, now we can see who’s teeing them up. This is far from perfect; we’re not weighing in how directly the pass sets up the shot. For example, Taylor Gray’s goal came out as 0.301 xG (expected goals), so we attribute 0.301 xA (expected assists) to Ian Cerro who played the through ball. We can even go two passes back to look at Matt’s favorite, the hockey assist.
Still playing around with this graphic, but here we can sort of see who’s getting the best chances and who’s helping make them happen.
Notes of Comparison With the Season Opener
As a friendly reminder, we opened the season at Finley with a 1-1 draw to the Bobcats, with this lineup:
The Christmas Tree formation was cool, very structured, and limited chances from the opposition very well, but also lacked a bit going forward. Brett Jones worked so hard up top, making all sorts of dangerous runs, but he felt pretty isolated much of the time.
Looking at the formation from last game, we have more of a 4-3-3 than a 4-3-2-1. Those two wingers have made a world of difference, as has the target man in the middle. Taylor Gray and Alex Jaimes (and Brett Jones for a majority of this unbeaten streak) make runs in behind, then have Markus Naglestad to look for in the middle. There’s enough talent in the midfield, especially with our anchor captain Richard Dixon, to let players crash on the opportunities created by the wingmen. Along with Naglestad’s holdup play, it’s a real dangerous attack. That’s the fundamental difference that my untrained eyes see.
Coming Up: California United Strikers
This is the biggest game yet. I think it’s safe to assume that there will be playoff soccer at Fort Finley this fall; the question is how many games. A win over the Strikers Wednesday would be a huge step in getting the NISA final in the Scenic City. Fitting as we sit on the anniversary of the highest attended amateur game in the US ever, right here in Chattanooga.
The Strikers looked unbeatable, until the Bobcats finally broke them down last week. After that, the Strikers had a physical battle with the Stars, so hopefully they’re worn out for Wednesday. They haven’t been in the habit of banging in goals like Chattanooga, winning by more modest score lines. I would make a prediction, but instead I’ll just be at Finley to see for myself.
Thanks for reading! And thanks for the support- I haven’t been the most consistent, but it means a lot that people are still interested in the stats. I enjoy stats and writing and it’s a bonus to have it read!