Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spot Checks

After sticking my usual summer breather in between the latest round of World Cup qualifiers and the Gold Cup, I am now back. Later, I will offer up my picks for that CONCACAF championship tourney roster and a preferred group phase starting line-up, but for now we go back to the ol' abacus. Instead of tallying up stats for Americans who play overseas, I focused on some MLS stuff and things.

Today, we'll kick off this latest round of stat lists by concentrating on the penalty kick. Who makes 'em the best, who stops 'em the best and which teams make the most of 'em.

PK Perfection

First, I compiled a list of the 13 players (with at least five tries) that never missed a spot kick in MLS play. This count covers all regular season and postseason attempts, including those in playoff shootouts. You can see that four of the five most deadly shooters here are still active (as designated by an asterisk) and able to build on their perfect PK records.

It's also worth noting that three guys (two of whom still work in MLS) came so very close to topping this chart: Lee Nguyen (who has been successful on 16 of 17 PK's), Pedro Morales (15-16) and Sebastian Le Toux (13-14).

11-11 Jeff Larentowicz*
11-11 Érick Torres*
10-10 Patrice Bernier*
10-10 Benny Feilhaber*
10-10 Jovan Kirovski
8-8 Michel
7-7 Camilo
6-6 Vicente Sánchez*
5-5 Roland Alberg*
5-5 Marco Etcheverry
5-5 Jason Kreis
5-5 Andrés Mendoza
5-5 Raul Díaz Arce

Glee Clubs

Next, we'll see which current MLS teams have gained the most joy from placing the ball on the dot. As above, all regular season, playoff and shootout tries have been tabulated to see which club has taken the best advantage of the penalty kicks they've stepped up to.

For obvious reasons, I did not include expansion sides Atlanta United (who've only had one, which was buried by Miguel Almiron) and Minnesota United (for whom Kevin Molino has bagged two of three this season)

92.6% Montreal (25 successful PK's out of 27)
88.9% New York City FC (16-18)
85.3% Philadelphia (29-34)
82.9% Portland (34-41)
82.9% Vancouver (34-41)
82.8% Colorado (77-93)
79.8% Real Salt Lake (71-89)
79.8% FC Dallas (67-84)
78.6% LA Galaxy (77-98)
77.8% New England (56-72)
77.3% Sporting KC (68-88)
76.9% New York Red Bulls (63-82)
76.6% San Jose (36-47)
76.4% D.C. United (68-89)
75.2% Chicago (64-85)
74.0 % Columbus (71-96)
72.1% Toronto FC (31-43)
71.4% Houston (40-56)
70.2% Seattle (33-47)
64.3% Orlando City (9-14)

The Buzz Kills

Finally, we had to show some love to the keepers who have been most likely to turn away spot kick efforts. Once again, we've limited the count to MLS regular season and playoff contests. I did make a volume cut-off; a guy has to have faced at least 10 penalties to make the list. You may notice that we are in a golden age of PK rejection artists; 10 of the top 15 here are still active in the league (as always, look for the asterisk).

37.5% Chris Seitz* (6 saves out of 16 PK's faced)
32.2% Nick Rimando* (19-59)
30.8% Jon Conway (4-13)
30.8% Kasey Keller (4-13)
30.0% Tim Howard* (3-10)
28.6% Zac MacMath* (4-14)
27.3% David Ousted* (6-22)
27.3% Tim Melia* (3-11)
26.7% Will Hesmer (4-15)
25.0% Jeff Attinella* (3-12)
23.8% Dan Kennedy (5-21)
23.1% Greg Sutton (3-13)
22.2% Sean Johnson* (6-27)
22.2% Joe Bendik* (4-18)
21.9% Luis Robles* (7-32)


Tomorrow, I shall return to rank the goal scorers that have been especially deadly against a particular foe (or particular foes, as the case may be).

- Greg Seltzer

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