Creative efficiency high at RSL with Morales, Plata helping push RSL forward

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

One of the hallmarks of our side is our creativity in play. We might wonder, though, how that shakes out when we’re talking about creativity in a stricter sense — and how our most creative players shape up in comparison across the league.

If you were to ask who our most creative players were after a quick sight-check, you’d probably point at Joao Plata and Javier Morales. You wouldn’t be wrong. Both Plata and Morales appear in the table below, which measures key passes per assist — a lower number is better here.

It’s a very, very rough measure of creative efficiency and not creative output, but it’s also a measure of the goalscoring efficiency of a player’s teammates. It’s one thing to be a creative player, but if the players one passes to aren’t finishing for one reason or another, then it’s going to be reflected in that metric.

Sorted by key passes per assist

Player Assist Key Pass Passes Assists / 90 Passes / key pass KP / Assist
Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC) 6 23 412 0.51 17.91 3.83
Bradley Davis (Houston Dynamo) 5 24 230 0.73 9.58 4.80
Lloyd Sam (New York Red Bulls) 5 25 365 0.47 14.60 5.00
Harrison Shipp (Chicago Fire) 4 21 242 0.57 11.52 5.25
Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact) 4 21 295 0.42 14.05 5.25
Mauro Rosales (Chivas USA) 3 18 354 0.34 19.67 6.00
Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) 5 32 607 0.51 18.97 6.40
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC) 2 16 372 0.24 23.25 8.00
Felipe Martins Campanholi (Montreal Impact) 2 16 237 0.21 14.81 8.00
Michel Garbini Pereira (FC Dallas) 2 16 447 0.24 27.94 8.00
Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) 2 16 298 0.22 18.63 8.00
Fabian Espindola (D.C. United) 3 27 337 0.31 12.48 9.00
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 3 27 332 0.34 12.30 9.00
Joao Plata (Real Salt Lake) 2 18 145 0.32 8.06 9.00
Mauro Díaz (FC Dallas) 2 18 343 0.28 19.06 9.00
Shea Salinas (San Jose Earthquakes) 3 30 279 0.35 9.30 10.00

We can also look at passes per key pass, which is another measure of creative efficiency — again, it depends on other players, but it can tell us how frequently a player is creating chances.

At the top of the list: Joao Plata, who isn’t the top player in assists, but whose passes are leading to shots more frequently per non-key pass he attempts.

Sorted by passes per key pass

Player Assists Minutes Key passes Passes Assists / 90 Passes / key pass KP / Assist
Joao Plata (Real Salt Lake) 2 557 18 145 0.32 8.06 9.00
Shea Salinas (San Jose Earthquakes) 3 761 30 279 0.35 9.30 10.00
Bradley Davis (Houston Dynamo) 5 620 24 230 0.73 9.58 4.80
Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo) 1 874 20 226 0.10 11.30 20.00
Harrison Shipp (Chicago Fire) 4 627 21 242 0.57 11.52 5.25
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 3 795 27 332 0.34 12.30 9.00
Fabian Espindola (D.C. United) 3 878 27 337 0.31 12.48 9.00
Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact) 4 855 21 295 0.42 14.05 5.25
Gaston Fernandez (Portland Timbers) 0 660 17 243 - 14.29  
Lloyd Sam (New York Red Bulls) 5 960 25 365 0.47 14.60 5.00

Neither of these is a particularly solid measure, but they do provide an interesting background in the still-early season as to passing patterns and creative efficiency.

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