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Match Week 18: By the Numbers

It has been a rough summer for the Dynamo, but how rough? Let’s take a look inside the numbers.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Minnesota United FC Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a long summer for the Dynamo, and like the Houston heat, I am going to keep it 100 with you. The Dynamo are on their worst form since Tab Ramos has taken over as manager. The Dynamo have not won a game since May 22nd and over the last 11 games, the Dynamo have tied seven times. The driver of the poor form is the Dynamo’s inability to create quality shots, or really any type of shots. The defense has been steadily improving but at a drastic cost to the offensive support of the team.

0.85 – Over the last 10 games, the Dynamo have averaged 0.85 expected goals per game. This is the Dynamo’s lowest rolling 10 game average since at least the beginning of the 2018 season. The chart below shows the Dynamo’s average xG for and against on a rolling 10 game basis. This is a good representation of the underlying form and performance of the team over the past 3 and a half seasons.

Basically, we want the orange line, xG against, to be as low as possible and the black line, xG for, to be as high as possible. When the black line is above the orange line, it means that the Dynamo are creating better chances than their opponent on average. The dash line marks the beginning of the 2020 season when Tab Ramos took over as manager. The Dynamo started off well with Tab as manager, with their offensive output peaking in late September of 2020. However, since the beginning of the new season, the team’s xG per game has been consistently falling, as highlighted by the red circle. Without a central playmaker, *cough cough* Darwin Quintero, the Dynamo have had no ideas on how to create shots consistently.

-2.43 – The Dynamo complete 2.43 passes fewer than expected per 100 passes based on American Soccer Analysis’ xPass model. This is the largest underperformance for passing accuracy in the league. Also using ASA’s g+ metric, the Dynamo have added -0.08 goals based on their passing alone, the lowest mark in the league. To summarize, the Dynamo have been historically bad at passing this season. The largest drivers of the poor inaccurate passing are Maxi Urruti and Fafa Picault. Maxi completes 8.4 passes fewer than expected and Fafa completes 5.4 fewer passes than expected per 100 passes. Maxi is the second worst player in the league for this metric and Fafa is the second worst winger behind Corey Baird, for whom the Dynamo just traded for. It will be tough to get the ball into shooting territories when three of your most prominent attackers cannot complete passes at an average level.

Each point in the below chart denotes the Dynamo’s nth most prolific shot taker per 90 and how they compare to each team in MLS’ nth most prolific shot taker. For example, Maxi Urruti averages 3.62 shots per 90 which is the most on the Dynamo. Compared to every other team’s highest average shot taker Maxi takes the 7th most shots. Tyler Pasher averages 1.22 shots per 90, 3rd most on the Dynamo. Compared to each other team’s 3rd highest shot taker, Tyler Pasher averages the least number of shots or 27th in the league.

After Maxi and Memo, 1st and 2nd on the team in shots per game, 6 of the next 7 most prolific shot takers rank last or 2nd to last compared to their equal rank shot takers. Both Pasher and Fafa average roughly 1.2 shots per game which would put them both below the 20th percentile for shots per game compared to other wingers in the MLS. Pasher is taking on more of the creative role in the team (88th percentile for expected assists per game), but the Dynamo are going to need their two wingers to take more shots to help improve the historically bad Dynamo offense.

Before the trade deadline, the Dynamo did bring in reinforcements by trading for LAFC winger Corey Baird. Over the last year, Baird has averaged 1.93 shots per game or in the 54th percentile. This is pretty average, but it should be an improvement over the current output of the Dynamo wingers.

To end on a positive note, the Dynamo’s leading scorer, Maxi Urruti, is expected to be back this weekend against Colorado. This should greatly improve the Dynamo’s chances of ending their winless streak at 11 games.