The Revs got back on track this past weekend, earning a 3-1 win over Inter Miami CF.
It was New England’s first win since May 6th.
While there’s significant excitement surrounding Miami’s new possible number 10, it was New England’s 10 showing out in this match.
Carles Gil scored a penalty kick that he helped create, as well as contributing a pair of assists.
Aside from ending a 5 game-winless run, the match was important as it officially marked the halfway point of New England’s season.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 3 stats and what they say about how the season has gone.
Djordje Petrovic has Prevented 0.88 Goals, More Than the Expectation
As far as “advanced stats” go, Revs fans may be most familiar with GA-xGA. This is the difference between a keeper’s goals conceded and the expected goals value of the shots they faced. In simple terms, it’s designed to show how a goalkeeper performs compared to what is expected of an average keeper. A negative value means you saved more than the average keeper, and a positive value means…well, the opposite.
New England’s star goalkeeper has a GA-xGA of 0.88. That means the Serbian has prevented an extra 0.88 goals over what would be expected.
That’s good for the 13th-best in MLS (minimum 450 minutes played).
The reason Revs fans may be familiar with this stat, outside of the fact that I reference it constantly, is that they’ve been blessed with outstanding shot-stoppers over the past few seasons.
In fact, this is a stat the Petrovic led the league in last season.
So why the drop from 1st to 13th? Has Petrovic looked worse in goal this season?
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) April 30, 2023
Well…he’s not worse
Honestly, a lot of it is that the Revs’ defense is doing better. You earn a lot of GA-xGA by making point-blank saves from close range. Petrovic just isn’t facing as many of those types of shots as last year.
Per FBRef, the Revs have the 3rd best tackle percentage in the league. They also have the 4th most blocked shots in MLS.
While they allow 6th most SoT per match, those shots are easier to handle. The Revs currently hold the lowest post-shot xG per shot-on-target in MLS. That means the shot that is heading towards Petrovic’s goal is from a distance and easier to handle.
New England Has Committed the Fewest Yellow Card Offenses in MLS
Another way to tell that the defense has improved, they’re playing cleaner. More organized. Perhaps more patiently.
As a result, they’re caught out of position less often, which, in turn, means fewer desperate fouls leading to yellow cards.
It’s not just yellow cards, either. The Revs have committed the 6th fewest fouls of any kind in MLS.
Headed the other way, they are middle of the pack (16th) in fouls suffered.
In keeping with that, Carles Gil is the most fouled player on the Revs and the 16th most fouled player in MLS at 32 times. Defensively, he’s committed only 1 foul himself.
One area that could use… erm… improvement is conceding penalties. The Revs have conceded 2nd highest number in MLS at 4.
Andrew Farrell leads the league in penalties conceded at 2.
That doesn’t even include a penalty that was waved off by VAR against Cincinnati.
They could afford to take care of the mistakes in the box, but overall a squeaky clean team.
The Revs Have the 3rd Best Non-Penalty Expected Goals Total in MLS
They currently have 1.44 npxG per game. What this one means is: given the locations and surroundings of each of their shots, they should be scoring 1.44 goals per game. And that mark is 3rd best in the league.
Impressively, they’re doing so without taking a ton of shots. They’ve taken a middling 199 shots so far this season. Good for 16th in MLS.
That they’re middle-of-the-pack in shots but near the top of the league in expected goals tells an important story. The Revs are getting into good shooting positions, and more often than their competitors. Those positions are manifesting themselves into high-quality shots. 38.7% of New England’s shots are on-target. That’s the best mark in MLS.
That medium shot volume, plus the high shot quality, has given the Revs the league’s 5th best-expected goals total. Not bad.
This chart shows the Revs expected goals vs. their actual goals as a rolling average of 3 games. The 3-game average not only gives us a broader sense of the team over time, but it also keeps this plot from looking like the world’s least fun roller coaster.
We can see that toward the beginning of the season, New England mostly outperformed their expected goals totals. In more recent weeks, however, they’ve scored at a lower rate than would be expected. This could likely be injury related. New England has dealt with a ton of injuries already this season.
A great offense is a reason for optimism!
A less optimistic stat is their expected goal differential. This is the difference between their expected goals and the expected goals of their opponents.
Here, the Revs are middle of the pack with a 12th-best +1.62 xGD.
Factoring in their actual goal differential, New England is outperforming their expected goal differential at the 3rd highest rate in the league. Their 5.38 GD-xGD is behind only STL (14.03) and ORL (7.77).
Some will call this lucky; others will call it skill. In either case, it should remind Revs fans of their 2021 season when New England won many games while underperforming in the xGD department. Then again, the Revolution won Supporter’s Shield that year, setting a points record along the way. So maybe keep that up?
Photo: New England Revolution