Here’s the Grand Unified Theory of Everything, which I’m not sure if I believe it or not. I’m definitely interested in opinions and feedback.
Last year we scored 32 Home goals and 16 Away. This year, with an extra home game so far, we have only 7 Home goals and 11 Away.
We were shutout only twice all last year at home. This year it has happened 3 times in 7 games.
Theory: This could be due to our playing from the back on a small field. At home, being patient slow and from the back we are especially susceptible to teams who either park the bus or press. A small field makes both of these easier to play.
Our 14 wins over 2 seasons include 10 by one goal and 4 by two goals.
This means we almost never have room for error and are always susceptible to having a win become a tie, or a tie become a loss, based on one fluky, weird, random, goal.
We are the kings of conceding stupid, fluky goals, and set piece goals.
This is especially true at home.
Theory: Small fields favors offense on set pieces and when a team wins the ball on a high press (because it’s likely that much closer to goal). Small field hurts offense in regular open play, especially with slow buildup.
Overall, the small field takes our weaknesses and faults and makes them worse. Combine (1) the fact that we never blow anyone away, and (2) are scoring much less at home this year which amplifies (1), with (3) our tendency to concede on weird plays and set pieces and you have who we are right now.
Notes on the above:
1. and 2. These could also be just a small sample and random chance.
3. A small field would probably help all defensive strategies and hurt all offense. This is a game of space. Total Football means making the field bigger when you have the ball and smaller when you don’t. But our offense is more focused than ever on waiting for holes to open. There are fewer holes on a small field.
4. I also do not know if this ratio is unusual. Most games probably have goal differentials of 0, 1 or 2. But we have none greater than 2 (on the winning side) and the ratio of 1 and 2 seems heavy towards 1 for us. Regardless of whether it is normal or unusual, we have to deal with it.
6. I have to evidence of this but it seems to be a truth universally acknowledged.
7. I also can’t say this is true with certainty, but this year we have had:
Toronto – Free kick conceded from wide of the box
Orlando – Saunders tap into Larins face
New England – Free kick deflection off Mendoza
Chicago – free kick conceded – correctly ruled offsides but we were still lucky to get that called
Montreal – Free kick conceded from wide of the box
Vancouver – goal conceded under pressure while playing from the back
Red Bull Wedding – 4 corners and 1 free kick
That’s at least one every home game.