I started quantifying NYCFC offensive production beyond Villa. I know many players do important things that don’t result in goals or assists. I try not to be the guy whose answer to my team’s woes is “We need more people who score goals. All the goallzz!” But damn, NYCFC needs more people who score or create goals.
Here are the top 5 goal scorers for every East playoff team, plus Portland and Seattle. The first line is the team name and its total goals for the season. Below that the columns go Player|Goals|Pct. of Team Goals|Assists. Then I added salary info for selected individuals. I left the labels off to save space:
Where to begin. First some stuff not in these charts.
- Our second highest goal scorer Harrison scored 7 of his 10 in the first half of the season.
- Wallace scored all of his 4 by Game 13. Yes, our 4th highest goal scorer was goalless over the last 21 games.
Now let’s compare:
- With 5, 4 and 3 goals our 3rd, 4th and 5th best goal scorers compare mostly to Chicago and the Red Bulls. With everyone else there is a clear gap.
- With 10 goals our second best goal scorer is even with Portland and behind everyone else.
- NYCFC is the only team besides Chicago in this group without a double digit assist generator, though 9 and 9 from Villa and Maxi compare favorably to most teams’ top 2.
- Remember that on 2 metrics Chicago is one of the few teams NYCFC compares favorably with and they are eliminated.
To make it clearer, the next tables show (1) the ranking of the same teams by how many goals their 3-5 top scorers made, then (2) the ranking of the same teams by how many goals their 2-5 top scorers made. NYC comes in next-to-last and dead-last respectively. The last column in each chart is what percentage of each team’s goals that group generated:
Again, I love the guys who do the work that don’t make the scoring stats, but somebody does have to score the freaking goals. And NYCFC doesn’t have those guys beyond Villa.
Let’s look at previous editions of NYCFC. This is depressing.
- Our total goals this year are down by 6 from 2016. The difference between a half season of Lampard and his DP replacement is a loss of 7.
- I included Pirlo in 2016 just to show he is our only double digit assist maker in 3 years.
- 2017 McNamara is 2015 Ballouchy.
- 2017 Moralez is 2015 McNamara with more assists. Significantly more assists, but still. Both were the 3rd highest goal scorer with 5 goals. Maxi makes 10 times what TMac makes in 2017.
- With 3 goals, McNamara should not be in the 2017 top 5, but that’s not his fault. The problem is NYCFC doesn’t actually have 5 better goal scorers than him. Plus, he only played 53% of the team’s minutes. How does NYC not have 5 higher goal scorers than a guy who played barely more than half the time? Or 4 goal scorers better than that PLUS a guy who was goalless over 21 straight games?
- Shelton 2016 was a fluke or he regressed horribly. Take your pick. Or a combo pack.
- Who did Reyna and Vieira think would replace Lampard’s goals in 2017? Harrison? Moralez? Remember how much the team improved the second half of 2016 after Frank and Jack showed up? First half of 2016 27 goals. Second half 35. NYCFC needed that production.
- Jack played 21 games in 2016 and had 4 goals and 7 assists. The latter let Shelton edge him slightly which is why he’s not on the list. Jack played 21 games. Projected to 34 games you get 6.5 goals and 11.3 assists. He outperformed those projections on goals and under on assists. I can live with that type of development. He also came nowhere near to being a goal replacement for Lampard and it was crazy to think he would be. But if he was not supposed to do it, then who?
- Project Frank’s stats to 34 games and you get 21.5 goals and 5.4 assists. Project to the 29 games Maxi played and it comes to 18.3 and 4.6. Instead NYCFC got Maxi with 5 and 9.
- Maxi did not have an off year. Here are his stats from whoscored. I don’t know why the 2017 numbers differ from MLS but this is what we have:
- Maxi 2017 is exactly Maxi every other year. Actually better than some. There’s no reason to expect a jump up next year.
- Again. Maxi does lots of great things that don’t get him a goal or an assist, but he cannot be our 3rd highest goal scorer and 3rd highest paid player.
- Can Jack improve, so he gets 7 goals in both halves of the season, assuming he stays? Maybe. I can’t count on it.
- Maxi was a disastrous DP signing. Maybe he could have worked if NYCFC didn’t already have a DP who scored 1 goal in his only full season of contributions to us and was about to become fully useless. But a DP like Maxi is a luxury at best if you are already stacked with goal producers. As NYC does not.Maxi gives us half of what Vazquez creates for 3 times the price and a DP slot. Meram, Higuain, Villalba, Asad, Royer, Blanco all created more goals for less. Hell, Roldan is competitive at about 6% of the salary and no DP slot.
- Maxi can be a great contributing player on a team without MLS salary limits. Or maybe he can be like Bradley, a DP on a team with 2 DP scorers and a TAM who also produces. I don’t know what the hell he is doing here at this cost with this roster.
What does NYCFC do now?
- We’re not cutting Maxi. On top of what I wrote a few days ago about how it will hurt the team’s credibility, I have no reason to think the club is willing to eat $2 million.
- Our Pirlo replacement has to be a goal producer. I have no interest right now in a defensive DP, or some guy who is great at starting a buildup, or goes box to box but doesn’t score, or anything like that. This is even more true because Villa turns 36 next month and we have no idea when he will start to fade. I think one more year of excellence is likely, but far from a given. If he does fade even a shade next year and NYCFC does not get a true goal scorer, the team is toast.
- Do something with TAM. Do we even have a TAM player? After the DPs the highest paid player on our 2017 list is Mix at $770k and he doesn’t count. The next highest is Chanot at $383k. Where is our Vazquez for $700k? What are we doing with it? Why are buying down nobody?
- Maybe try playing Lewis?
- The only reason I wouldn’t can Reyna is the hope we sign his kid in the next 12 months.
[…] In 2017 NYCFC had terrible production from Spots 3, 4 and 5 in its team goal scoring ranking. Spot Number Two didn’t shine either. Every one of those spots improved in 2018. This was the best the team ever got from scorers ## 3 and 4 and #5 tied for its best. The “Rest of Team” category also had an all-time best year for NYCFC. All of this is why the team scored more goals than 2017 despite an 8-goal drop in production by Scorer #1. On the other hand, that drop is why the team did not set a club record for goals scored despite improvement team-wide except for the top guy. I think it is fair to conclude that Reyna et al set out to improve the team’s scoring capability beyond Villa and succeeded, but I don’t think the plan was for Shradi (total salary $350k) to outscore Berget ($817k) and Medina ($771k) combined. I’m also concerned that Shradi completely outperformed his Expected Goals by a huge amount and his Goals per Shots Taken was a similar off the chart outlier. He could outperform all metrics at a similar level next year, but that seems very unlikely. I won’t be shocked if he matches even exceeds his total numbers next year, but if so, it will probably be because he plays a lot more minutes (just 1547 in 2018, fewer than Villa even). I can’t see his pace keeping up. Also, Maxi had a career year. Both his goals and assists were twice his prior career average. Maybe that is who he is now, but again, I do not think we can count on it. Which means, I think, the club has to get another stud to be the team’s best scorer (and/or Medina and Berget need to be upgraded or just be better) to compensate for what I expect to be decreased production in 2019 from ITS and Maxi. Thing is, MLS teams don’t necessarily need to have a healthy Villa-level scorer to succeed. Here are all the playoff teams: Some of these are misleading: DC and Seattle’s top scorers arrived midseason and led second half surges. But SKC, LAFC and Dallas won more points this year than NYCFC without a better full-time scorer than an injury-limited Villa, and Portland just made it to MLS Cup without exceeding NYCFC at any of Spots 1 through 5. Also, not our problem, but if I were in charge of SKC I would be concerned that the team might be unlikely to again get 24 goals from the Rest of Team category. I don’t know this to be true but I expect it is something that doesn’t normally repeat year to year. Obviously, this ignores defense, and assists, and thousands of other little things, but I do think these goal comparisons are useful. […]