Real Salt Lake’s season has been one of mixed results, missed opportunities, and spectacular rescues — but if you’re looking at the stats sheet, it becomes pretty clear where some of the team’s problems are.
RSL’s still conceding too many goals, but ...
Real Salt Lake is in seventh place in the league for most goals conceded with 31. That’s four behind the three-way tie between Vancouver Whitecaps, Orlando City, and New York City FC.
And the team with the fewest goals conceded? That’s Colorado Rapids. They’ve conceded 14.
I’m not asking for RSL to achieve crazy numbers like that (although if they can do it, you’d think we could do it)
We’re still not creating as many chances as we need
We’re sitting inside the bottom quarter of chances created per game: 8.67. Sporting KC still leads the league with 10.43 per game. This doesn’t tie directly to results, certainly.
Now, before you start wondering whether that is reflected in shots taken — maybe players are creating their own chances, wouldn’t register here — it’s not. At least, it’s not more than any other team: They’ve taken 11.9 shots per game. That keeps them right at the edge of that bottom quarter of the league in that category, too.
Now, this, of course, doesn’t talk about clear chances and unclear chances, because we can all remember instances where our players should have scored and, perhaps, where it would have been easier to score than to not.
RSL is back to controlling possession
After a 2015 season that saw RSL cede those things that made them exceptional — and possession was certainly among them — they’re finally back to controlling the game, if only just. They’re not Kreis-like numbers, but we’re sitting with 51 percent of possession on the season.
Still, we’re in the bottom half of passes per match. On an initial glance, that might seem like an issue — until you consider that Seattle Sounders are leading the league in successful passing, and, well, we all know how their season has gone.
Finally: RSL is among the most fouled teams
You’d be forgiven if it seemed like Real Salt Lake was a little hapless at times and that opponents knew exactly how to deal with them. But as the third-most fouled team in the league, that would seem to speak in contraposition to that.
So here’s the question: With 12.7 fouls issued per game, how is the team at 16th in the league for shots taken from set pieces? Obviously, that number doesn’t speak to position and distance, but it’s food for thought, and something we can think about while we watch the team.