What They're Saying: Bruce Arena

“We won the game. That’s what you do in soccer games. We were on the road in a venue where the team does pretty well at home. What are we complaining about? Then some moron will write that they had more shots than us thinking that’s important. Actually, analytics in soccer, if no one here has figured it out, doesn’t mean a whole lot. Analytics and statistics are used for people who don’t know how to analyze the game. I’ll be very honest with you, this isn’t baseball or football or basketball. We have a very important analytic, and that’s the score. That distorts all the other statistics.”

-- LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena with a dim view of use of analytics in soccer after the Galaxy's 2-1 win at Portland. (LA Galaxy Insider)
7 comments about "What They're Saying: Bruce Arena".
  1. Richard Brown, July 25, 2016 at 8:20 a.m.

    Well he is right ball possession time does not mean a lot it's the score.

    You know where he learned that fact? He learned that from watching Marco Etchevarry play. When he first got him on DC United he hated him. He was not a high percentage player. But he later saw what he did even though he was lower percentage he won games for him he should not have won.

  2. Ginger Peeler, July 25, 2016 at 8:40 a.m.

    Yeah. When my daughter was playing CYSA competitive soccer in the San Diego area, we played a game where we had 21 shots on goal. The other team had one. Their one shot went in the net and they won the game. It happens...there is always an element of luck (large or small) involved.

  3. Richard Brown, July 25, 2016 at 9:33 a.m.

    That happen in a game against a club that does not exist any more. We hit the post and the cross bar over 18 times. We won 2-1 they had no shots but a long clearance hit a hard patch of ground no grass on that field bounced over our keepers head and they scored. Needless to say I did not enjoy that win. I like winning big.

  4. Bob Ashpole, July 25, 2016 at 4:34 p.m.

    Bruce is not saying that match analysis is nonsense. He is saying statistical analysis of matches is nonsense. I agree. The major problem preventing use of statistics is that match analysis is largely a matter of subjective opinion. IMO soccer attacking tactics is about space. Using the space or, if there is no space, creating space. Defensive tactics is about taking away space and defending space. Statistics doesn't help us understand this battle over space. The only exceptions I see are on restarts, looking for patterns. Penalty kicks for instance.

  5. Richard Brown, July 26, 2016 at 12:24 a.m.

    Statistics are like art they are subjective. What statistics that matter to me might be different then the statistics that matter to you.

    Here are some that matter to me.

    I keep a lot of statistics. I keep things like how many bad shots not on goal taken :) if your supposed to be a scorer how many shots on goal did you take. What was your scoring percentage on shots on goal.

    How many good crosses did you take when players are well positioned to actually put them in. I don't want to see crosses made like a machine with no one around to put them in. I want to see a flank player hold the ball and make the cross when team mates are there to put them in.

    Can a player cross the ball right on the receivers head when there is no first defender on him?

    Can we get the ball to a player with no first defender on him when we over load a side.

    How many corner kicks did we get. Mainly because when we get a lot of them. That means we are putting the opponents team under a lot of attacking pressure. More then just scoring opportunities.

    I don't consider a secondary assist a real assist. A assist that leads to another pass that leads to a goal? Come on it is a bogus satistic in my eyes.

    I want players to think an assist a pass that leads to a goal are as good as actually scoring a goal. Why, because if we said that goals are more important that passing. We would get even less goals.

    I think a back saving a goal from being scored is equal to a player scoring a goal.

    Things like that

    Does keeping statistic like the ones I mentioned other then goals, assists, saves have to be perfect. No close though it's to give me an impression on how the game went for us.

    One satistic that I want to be perfect is what player scored against us in a game, and how he scored against us. Why, because I never want him to score against us again in general and in the same way specificly.

  6. Raymond Weigand, July 26, 2016 at 12:38 p.m.

    "Analytics and statistics are used for people who don’t know how to analyze the game." hah ... I think BA is just getting under the skin of CP ... the next game will have CP saying he can understand how a heavyweight of the soccer community is allowed to confuse weights and measures. And BA will clarify that his comments were meant for slow witted reporters and are usually ignored by fellow coaches who understand his humour and are always ignored by the coaches who understand the game. hah

  7. Paul Stierle, July 26, 2016 at 10:12 p.m.

    Bruce is right on. Barcelona is one of those teams who have the ballall the time but then the 20% of was it the Rangers or Celtics but a 18 year old kid came in and one the game for the Scots. Or like Sigi, somedays that is just the way the ball bounces. I love Soccer. It aint like any other sport.

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