Creating scoring chances? Not a problem. Converting them? Yeah, well, that’s been the Kansas City Wizards' issue all season.
Here's a simple formula for success that’s easy to understand: The more shots you take, the greater your chance of scoring.
This seems to be the guiding ideology of Samuel L. Jackson's career. (Dude's got 132 acting appearances on his IMDB resume. He's got 13 quality movies*. Do the math.)*Because you’re dying to know: “Coming to America,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Goodfellas,” “Juice,” “Loaded Weapon 1,” “True Romance,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Hard Eight,” “Trees Lounge,” “The Negotiator,” “Kill Bill Vo. 2,” “Iron Man” and “Inglourious Basterds.” We can talk about “Die Hard With a Vengeance” or “Unbreakable,” but that’s about it. There’s a lot of “Jumpers,” “Deep Blue Seas,“ and “Black Snake Moans” on his resume.
While the Kansas City Wizards have gotten better at putting the ball into the net as the season has progressed (they are tied for 11th -- trust me it’s better than it was in June), when you consider how many shots on goal the team has for the year (149, first in MLS and it isn’t that close), 29 goals seems pretty puny if you think about it.
I crunched the numbers for 8 teams -- Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Colorado, Philadelphia, Houston, Toronto and DC United* -- to see how the Wizards stack up at converting their chances on target into goals themselves. (Of course, this is a VERY obvious statistic. Like saying "teams that score more touchdowns tend to win most of their games." But it's worth crunching and considering to give you an idea of just how close Kansas City may have been to being a force in this league.)*I picked LA and New York because they are top of the table and close to KC in terms of shots on goal; Toronto and DC because they are the bottom of the table and the worst scoring teams in the league; Philadelphia and Colorado because they are around the same place as KC table-wise; and Houston because, well, because Houston's interesting.
Shots: 322 (5th in MLS)
Shots on Goal: 149 (1st)
Goals: 29 (Tied for 11th)
The Wizards will score a goal every 5.13 shots on goal. Let’s call this stat: Goals per Shots on Target, or G/ST for short.
How does that compare to the other teams selected for this experiment?
Two teams at the top of the table who score lots of goals...Los Angeles Galaxy
Shots: 325 (4th)
Shots on Goal: 132 (2nd)
Goals: 40 (2nd)
Note: They are efficient (41 percent of their shots are on goal) and they capitalize on their chances. No surprise, they are the top of the table.New York Red Bulls
Shots: 334 (Tied for 2nd)
Shots on Goal: 130 (3rd)
Goals: 35 (Tied for 6th)
Note: Imagine how good New York would've been with Thierry Henry having a full preseason to develop with this team?
A team above KC in the standings, and a team below (both of whom have scored more than KC)....Colorado Rapids
Shots: 309 (8th)
Shots on Goal: 122 (Tied for 8th)
Goals: 37 (4th)
Note: With Omar Cummings and Conor Casey the only thing surprising is that this isn't the best goals-to-shots-on-goal rate in the league.Philadelphia Union
Shots: 267 (14th)
Shots on Goal: 127 (5th)
Goals: 32 (9th)
Note: Of course, they have the best percentage of shots put on target (48 percent).
The two worst-scoring teams in the league...Toronto FC
Shots: 252 (16th)
Shots on Goal: 98 (16th)
Goals: 28 (Tied for 13th)
Note: If only they shot the ball more, they probably wouldn't be in the position (out of the playoffs, floating downwards) they're in now.D.C. United
Shots: 298 (10th)
Shots on Goal: 117 (12th)
Goals: 19 (16th)
Note: Unless D.C. can find 7 goals in their last three games, United will set the new mark for goal-scoring futility in Major League Soccer.
The oddball team...Houston Dynamo
Shots: 283 (11th)
Shots on Goal: 104 (14th)
Goals: 36 (5th)
G/ST: 2.87 -- an ASTONISHING number really
Note: Either Houston proves this matrix is meaningless, or they are just an anomaly. I can't decide.
Of the eight teams listed above, only D.C. United -- a team in the middle of a historically bad season -- have a worse G/ST than the Kansas City Wizards.
What does it mean? I’m not really sure it means much more than teams that score a lot of goals put a lot of shots on target (expect Houston). But it does show that, not for lack of trying, Kansas City has been a pretty terrible offensive team this year.