Midfield stats clearly indicate positions, tactics at play

USA TODAY Sports

I've compiled some moderately interesting statistics about our four most-minuted midfiielders. What can we learn from these stats?

Passing and Passing Accuracy

We can see from these limited numbers that the diamond is very much in place, although it's a bit flatter than it has been in the past. Luis Gilis at the top of the diamond, even if he doesn't get as involved as he should; Luis Gil and Sebastian Velasquez control the sides of the diamond, and Kyle Beckerman shores up the back.

This doesn't tell us the whole story about the midfield, but it gives us a good read on some things. First, some definition: "Back" refers to the defensive half, not to a literal backpass; likewise, forward describes a pass in the attacking half.

Minutes Pass - Accurate Pass - Total Pass % Back - Accurate Back - Total Back Pass % % in back Forward - Accurate Forward - Total Forward Pass % % up front Key Passes
Beckerman 450 301 351 85.75% 131 139 94.24% 39.60% 175 226 77.43% 64.39% 7
Grabavoy 315 136 161 84.47% 52 57 91.23% 35.40% 86 113 76.11% 70.19% 8
Velasquez 405 185 223 82.96% 70 76 92.11% 34.08% 117 160 73.13% 71.75% 5
Gil 488 164 214 76.64% 44 52 84.62% 24.30% 121 169 71.60% 78.97% 9

What does it tell us?

  • Kyle Beckerman is the safest passer in the defending half. This isn't surprising, as he is generally the player mopping up with recoveries (more on that later) and the player distributing to the defenders. Moreover, he's attempting more attacking half passes per minute than the other three. This seems a result of a more pronounced tendency to push forward in attack.
  • Luis Gil attempts fewer passes in the defensive half, but he also completes a lower percentage of those than the other three. He easily has the lowest overall passing accuracy of the four, and he has attempted fewer passes per minute than any the other three.
  • Sebastian Velasquez is very safe in the defensive half, but he's not particularly safe in the attacking half. Whether this is a result of a strategic bent toward attack, or whether it's a lack of composure is difficult to say.
  • Ned Grabavoy is perhaps the best forward passer in the group, completing more key passes per minute played than any other player.

Interceptions, Duels and More


On the flip-side of stats considerations, we have here an array of stats: How often players are dispossessed, interceptions, tackling, duels, aerial duels, and recoveries. Let's go through each of those and talk about what they mean in our midfield.

Minutes Dispossessed Interception Tackle Won Tackle Total Tackle % Duel Won Duel Total Duel % Aerial Won Aerial Total Recovery
Beckerman 450 5 13 5 9 55.56% 17 36 47.22% 4 8 45
Grabavoy 315 5 5 8 11 72.73% 24 46 52.17% 4 12 23
Velasquez 405 11 16 12 14 85.71% 36 71 50.70% 5 10 27
Gil 488 11 5 5 6 83.33% 21 53 39.62% 4 8 22

  • Least often dispossessed: Kyle Beckerman. This isn't too surprising, as he's the most defensive of the four. It's a good measure regardless.
  • Interceptions: Sebastian Velasquez. This was a bit of a surprise, but it relays two things: How he functions in the midfield, and how he reads the game. Nominally on the right side of the diamond, he's often found getting between passes through his hassling. His ability to read the game is encouraging, as interceptions rarely occur when players don't know where to be.
  • Tackles: Sebastian Velasquez. There are always two sides to the tackles coin, but Velasquez as the current leader is a bit unexpected. This may be down to a few things: He's focused on the defensive side, but he may find himself out of position a bit too often, leading him to force the issue. Given his penchant for interceptions, we have evidence to think that's not the case, but it's a consideration. The question: Why isn't Kyle Beckerman leading in this category again? This may much be down to the modes in which teams operate when facing us, or at least the teams we have faced.
  • Duels: Ned Grabavoy in terms of percentage, Velasquez in terms of pure numbers. Duel, according to Opta, are 50-50 contests. Why is Velasquez so high in this metric? It's difficult to easily say.
  • Aerial: Beckerman and Gil in percentage. Interestingly, you'd expect more aerial duels from Beckerman, but this could be a function of how opponents have approached us this season.
  • Recovery: Beckerman. This is pretty natural, as he's in a deeper position and is going to pick up more loose balls as a result.
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