We're through less than half of Real Salt Lake's season, but with this week-long gap in matches, it would be interesting to take a look at some of the more meaningful statistics and facts surrounding what's been a successful early season period.
1. Points per match
Averaging 1.77 points per match, RSL has been well and truly above last season's debacle, when they earned 1.21 points per. But comparing that to a poor season isn't necessary — let's look at a good season.
- 2016: 1.77 ppg
- 2015: 1.21 ppg
- 2014: 1.65 ppg
- 2013: 1.65 ppg
- 2012: 1.68 ppg
- 2011: 1.56 ppg
- 2010: 1.87 ppg
Now, obviously that's an incomplete measure because 2016 isn't yet complete. But that sort of record is a positive mark on how things have improved, even if things have, at times, been undoubtedly frustrating.
2. Away wins
Let's go back to a list, shall we? Real Salt Lake's away win record is reasonable remarkable right now. Again, we'll be comparing full-season to mid-season results — that's only for the sake of discussion, not to imply a pattern or predict results.
Away results are in W-L-T format, which is MLS's preferred look (but maybe not mine.) I've also appended the winning percentage, which certainly isn't everything, but it's at least something.
- 2016: 3-4-2 (33%)
- 2015: 4-11-2 (24%)
- 2014: 4-7-6 (24%)
- 2013: 6-7-4 (35%)
- 2012: 6-7-4 (35%)
- 2011: 5-8-4 (29%)
- 2010: 4-4-7 (27%)
With nine away matches played, we're only a single win away from reaching the win count we did in 2010, 2014 and 2015. One of those is an outlier — that's a year we did incredibly well.
This should shed some light on RSL's recent away trip. With 52 percent of their away matches under their belt, if RSL continues to win away matches at the same rate, they will equal 2013 and 2012 records. If they improve, look out, MLS — this could be our best-ever away season.
3. Home stand
Only two teams have played so few home matches — it's us and Toronto FC, both with four played. While our record is, well, perfect at home (it feels strange saying that, though, doesn't it?), only four matches played means we don't have real evidence yet to start the songs of praise.
Could we go unbeaten at home? That will certainly be tested over the coming weeks. FC Dallas is similarly unbeaten at home (5-0-3), as is Colorado Rapids (6-0-1), LA Galaxy (4-0-3), San Jose Earthquakes (5-0-2), Philadelphia Union (5-0-2), and Orlando City SC (2-0-5).
All that really means is that we're not that special. Being unbeaten at home at this point in the season is hardly a rarity, and we're going to have to continue to prove ourselves. It's a good thing we've got a good string of games coming up, no?
4. Spreading the goals around
Yura Movsisyan is starting to come into form, and that's meant some well-timed goalscoring to elevate us over opponents. But while he's the freshest on our minds, he's hardly alone. Let's look at our goalscoring spread.
- Joao Plata (5g, 6a)
- Juan Manuel Martinez (4g, 2a)
- Yura Movsisyan (4g, 0a)
- Luke Mulholland (2g, 2a)
- Jordan Allen (2g, 1a)
- Justen Glad (1g, 1a)
- Sunny (1g, 1a)
- Javier Morales (1g, 1a)
- Jamison Olave (1g, 0a)
- Demar Phillips (0g, 2a)
- Tony Beltran (0g, 1a)
- Kyle Beckerman (0g, 1a)
That's nine players with a goal, and five with at least two goals. If we look back at all of 2015, we see seven players with at least two goals. Last year, 15 players scored at least one goal.
We can see this play out in the goals-per-game statistics:
- 2016: 1.77 gpg
- 2015: 1.12 gpg
- 2014: 1.59 gpg
- 2013: 1.68 gpg
- 2012: 1.35 gpg
- 2011: 1.29 gpg
- 2010: 1.50 gpg
It's clear we're scoring at a nice clip. Will that continue? That's a trickier question, but we certainly have cause for optimism.
5. Creativity is king
There's been a lot of talk recently that Javier Morales is no longer the player he once was — and maybe, with one assist, there's some cause to think that. But let's take a look at some cursory statisics:
- Second on the team in key passes per game (1.9), behind Joao Plata (2.7)
- Attempts the second-most passes per game (47.8)
- Has the best passing completion rate on the team (83.5%)
- Leads the team in accurate crosses per game (1.5)
- Fouled second-most per game (2.1)
- Second-most dribbles per game (2.2)
What we're seeing, I think, is a team that is learning to survive without Javier Morales, but not a team that he can't contribute to. While his goalscoring rate isn't nearly as high as it was last season, and while he hasn't been raking in the assists, he is still contributing to the game in significant ways.