The Effect of the Early Home goal and 1-1 Pathway in the First Half in the MLS

Posted on: March 26th, 2017 by Jonny Grossmark

If you have read the book The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football Is Wrong , you may have discovered that there were a number of errors in the book and one key theme that was offered ;

“TEAMS ARE NOT VULNERABLE WHEN THEY OPEN THE SCORING TO A QUICK RESPONSE” < the authors failed to understand that it is an early goal metric that is far more likely to produce a quick response so when they backed up their thought process with games in the Premier League that ended 1-1 at full time , your response would be to ask the % of early goal games that are likely to end 1-1 ? In the table below I have added the last 35 games in MLS where the home team opened the scoring with a goal in the 0-10 minute time band and 43% produced a response T + 10 minutes or within T + 10 minutes of the opening goal. ( consider how many of the games ended 1-1 in that sample ? )

15-13-7 <> 37% ended a draw

86% ended over 2.5 goals, 63% ended over 3.5 goals and 26% ended over 4.5 goals

Summary

How does the time of the opening goal in an individual league effect expectation of the other team fighting back ? ( game pathway analysis )

In effect you should be looking to trade around the draw in games that produce an early goal metric and if we look at the table below , and you should consider backing against the draw ( laying the draw at 1-1 ) because of the lowered expectation of the games ending 1-1 , which would mean at 2-1/1-2 that you would trade out of your position on the draw to lock in a profit.

Sample size is the biggest red herring in football data and analysis .

I could produce a sample of 70 000 games that ended 1-1 at full time to show that teams are not vulnerable to a quick response but very few of the 70 000 games would include early goal games so that would be as useful as a chocolate teapot.

T T+1 HT FT
New E Min 4 A15 4 1 5 2
Seattle Real 3 A4 2 1 2 1
Chicago New E 9 A43 1 1 2 1
New YC Dallas 8 A20 1 1 2 2
Mont Orlando 2 A4 1 2 1 4
Houston Toronto 8 A24 1 1 1 1
Chicago Orlando 6 A9 1 2 2 2
Orlando Seattle 7 A14 1 2 1 3
Sporting New YC 8 A14 2 1 3 1
Mont Phil 3 A24 1 1 1 1
SJ Houston 3 A43 1 1 3 1
Phil LA Galaxy 4 A15 1 1 2 2
New E Orlando 7 A30 1 1 2 2
Orlando New E. 2 A37 1 1 2 2
Columbus New C. 7 A15 1 1 3 2
Houston LA Galaxy 1 A4 1 3 1 4
Phil Orlando 2 A43 1 1 2 1
New C New E 10 A38 1 1 1 1
Orlando Chicago 4 A14 1 1 1 1
Portland Colorado 5 A13 2 1 4 1
Houston Colorado 3 A8 2 2 3 2
New E New RB 2 A6 1 1 2 1
Columbus Chicago 2 A9 2 1 3 1
Colorado Whietcaps 2 A20 1 1 2 1
Phil Montreal 8 A28 1 1 2 2
Chicago Orlando 9 A40 1 1 2 3
DC Toronto 6 A34 1 1 1 2
New E LA Galaxy 5 A18 2 2 2 2
Columbus Seattle 10 A24 1 1 3 2
Whitecaps DC UTD 2 A9 1 1 1 2
La Sporting 9 A22 1 1 2 1
La Houston 3 A11 1 1 1 1
Seattle SJ 1 A13 1 1 2 3
Real Montreal 3 A32 1 1 3 1
Houston New RB 1 A13 1 1 2 2