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TruMedia Networks is a software engineering firm focused on powering sports analytics platforms.

In the News

News about TruMedia and articles featuring TruMedia data and analysis.

Filtering by Tag: soccer

TruMedia's Paul Carr moderates soccer panel at Sloan

Rafe Anderson

TruMedia’s Paul Carr hosted the soccer panel at this year’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, to discuss soccer analytics and youth development. Panelists included Brian Biello (New England Revolution president), Ben Mackriell (Head of OptaPro), Kristine Lilly (former USWNT star) & Isaac Guerrero (Technical Director of Barcelona’s Football School).

Video link

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Inside the numbers of Wu Lei, Espanyol's new signing

Rafe Anderson

For the OptaPro blog, TruMedia’s Paul Carr wrote about Wu Lei, Espanyol's new signing whose stellar numbers in China may be deceiving.

“Wu’s surface-level statistics look great. After scoring 20 goals in 2017, he led the CSL with 27 goals last season, as his club won the championship and ended Guangzhou Evergrande’s streak of seven straight titles.

Wu has surpassed his expected goals total in six straight seasons, so the 27-year-old may possess above-average finishing ability.  However, Wu’s success in 2018 was fueled by an impossible-to-maintain finishing rate.”

Full article: OptaPro blog

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WHY TIMBERS ARE UNDERDOGS AND HOW THEY'VE BEATEN THE ODDS

Rafe Anderson

TruMedia Networks’ Paul Carr contributed to Caitlin Murray’s piece for The Athletic, on why the Portland Timbers have been big underdogs according to predictive models, and how they’ve been able to beat those odds.

“Two things models often struggle with are how two teams’ styles match up, and adjustments that might be made on a given day,” Carr says. “Portland has done well at both these things in the playoffs, by clogging the middle against SKC and by pressing higher against Seattle, among other ways. Plus there’s the eternal randomness of playoffs, like Blanco’s wonder strike.”

Full article: The Athletic

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Playing styles of MLS conference finalists

Rafe Anderson

For Sports Illustrated, our Paul Carr analyzes the four MLS conference finalists and their vastly different playing styles.

Measuring playing style by where a team begins possession and how long a team maintains possession, the quartet could not have been much more different this season.

New York and Sporting Kansas City began the most possessions in the attacking third. Sporting Kansas City and Atlanta had longer possessions than any other teams. Atlanta and Portland rarely gained possession in the attacking third. Portland and (especially) New York had some of the shortest average possessions in the league.

Full article: Sports Illustrated

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HOW U.S. CAN FILL PULISIC-SHAPED HOLE

Rafe Anderson

TruMedia’s Paul Carr uses ProVision to explore how Julian Green and Jonathan Amon might be able to fill the void left by Christian Pulisic’s absence from the United States attack.

“Pulisic won’t participate in the two October friendlies because of a torn calf muscle, meaning he'll have gone more than a calendar year playing just 89 minutes for the national team. The U.S. will miss him most in the center of the midfield, where he has no obvious replacement as a chief attacker and playmaker. In his absence, a Pulisic-shaped hole has appeared in numerous U.S. touch maps, including the team’s year-long heat map.”

Full article: Sports Illustrated

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ANALYZING CANADIAN STAR ALPHONSO DAVIES AS HE HEADS TO BAYERN

Rafe Anderson

As 17-year-old Canadian winger Alphonso Davies heads to Bayern Munich after this MLS season, TruMedia’s Paul Carr used ProVision to compare him with his MLS peers and other young stars in Europe.

“Should his progression continue, Davies will be the first Canadian international to play in the Bundesliga for Bayern. The eye test, past and present stats, and Bayern’s transfer fee all suggest Davies has a ceiling unmatched by an MLS academy product.”

Full article: OptaPro blog

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Previewing Arsenal-Man City with sequence data

Rafe Anderson

Using ProVision to preview the big game of the Premier League's opening weekend by analyzing sequence data for Arsenal and Manchester City:

"City averaged 5.3 passes per sequence last season, which may not sound impressive but was 26% better than the second-best Premier League team, which was Arsenal at 4.2 passes per sequence. This gap is about the same as the difference between Arsenal and Southampton, who ranked seventh in this metric and narrowly avoided relegation.."

Full article: OptaPro blog

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Numbers Behind Kante, Modric's World Cup Dominance

Rafe Anderson

This SI.com article goes beyond the box score to examine how France's N'Golo Kante and Croatia's Luka Modric powered their teams to the World Cup final.

"[Modric] does defensive work, as he’s tied with Kante for most recoveries at this World Cup (48), and no player has won possession more times in the middle third of the field (31).

Modric is also the offensive talisman, with 16 chances created, double the total of any teammate."

Full article: SI.com (by Paul Carr, TruMedia Director of Content Development)

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The effect of delays on penalty conversion

Rafe Anderson

For FiveThirtyEight, TruMedia's Albert Larcada analyzed how waiting time affects penalty conversion, revealing that longer delay appear to increase the likelihood of a miss. 

"The success rate of penalties with a wait time of less than 150 seconds is 76 percent, while the success rate of penalties with a wait time of greater than 150 seconds is 73 percent. With the relatively large sample of penalties we have, the difference is statistically significant."

Full article: FiveThirtyEight (by Albert Larcada, Director of Analytics)

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Possession doesn't equal World Cup success

Rafe Anderson

"Possession hasn’t necessarily been helpful here in Russia. According to TruMedia Networks, the top six teams in average possession at this World Cup already have gone home. Interestingly, Croatia, England, France and Belgium rank 7th through 10th, respectively. Uruguay, the CONMEBOL side that held the ball the least, still stands 19th overall. Four years ago, Germany finished second in the possession standings at 60%, but none of the other semifinalists were in the top eight."

Full article: Sports Illustrated

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Likelihood of Benjamin Pavard's wonder goal

Rafe Anderson

TruMedia provided data to The Washington Post for this article and visualization on Benjamin Pavard's stunning strike against Argentina.

"...the shot had an “expected goals” of just 0.03, meaning it would be expected to produce a goal three percent of the time. This figure is calculated from 10 different variables, but the two most significant for this particular shot are pretty straightforward. It was taken from 22 meters away from the goal line – pretty far out. And it was taken from 15 meters off the center line – a very bad angle."

Full article: Washington Post

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World Cup quarterfinalists by the numbers

Rafe Anderson

TruMedia's Paul Carr wrote a Sports Illustrated piece with a stat and graphic for each of the World Cup quarterfinalists. The article highlighted contributions by Romelu Lukaku, Neymar and Luka Modric, along with potential issues for Russia and England.

"Despite playing four games, England ranks 22nd in the tournament with 23 shots from open play and 17th with 2.22 expected goals from open play. Only three of those shots were worth at least 0.2 xG each, which is about double the average shot quality."

Full article: Sports Illustrated (by Paul Carr, Director of Content Development)

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Mexico's young World Cup stars

Rafe Anderson

For the Washington Post, Albert Larcada wrote on how Mexico's young stars shined in the first two group games.

"Perhaps the biggest name of Mexico’s under-23 contingent, [Hirving] Lozano put in a performance against Germany that ranks among the best in recent World Cups. Here is the full list of players over the past six World Cups with a goal, an assist and a pass-completion rate of better than 90 percent in their team’s first two matches: Lionel Messi (2006) and Lozano. That’s it."

Full article: Washington Post (by Albert Larcada, Director of Analytics)

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Inside World Cup numbers of Messi & Ronaldo

Rafe Anderson

For Sports Illustrated, Paul Carr examines how Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo fared at previous World Cups.

"At the 2006 World Cup, Ronaldo was far more active in the midfield, both offensively and defensively. He went one-on-one 37 times and had 36 recoveries of the ball in 484 minutes. Four years later, he had 21 one-on-ones and 11 recoveries in 360 minutes. In 2014, those numbers dipped to 12 one-on-ones and four recoveries in 270 minutes.

This is because Ronaldo has evolved into more of a true forward than a winger. He sent in 21 crosses in 2006, and a total of 14 in 2010 and 2014. In Brazil, 35 percent of his touches were in the center third of the field (as opposed to the left or right thirds), up from 28 percent in 2010 and 18 percent in 2006."

Full article: Sports Illustrated (by Paul Carr, Director of Content Development)

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Scouting for the Premier League

Rafe Anderson

Writing for the OptaPro blog, Paul Carr uses TruMedia's ProVision tool (developed in partnership with Opta) to show how a newly-promoted Premier League club might use data while searching for a left-sided attacker.

"To narrow the pool of candidates, the search is limited to the just-completed European league seasons for players:

- From the Dutch Eredivisie, Belgium’s Jupiler League, Ligue 2, 2. Bundesliga and England’s Championship
- Who played as a left midfielder, left attacking midfielder, left winger or left wing back
- With at least 900 minutes this season
- Currently age 30 or younger
- Who are right-footed or use both feet equally well

That leaves 73 players on our target list, with the four selected statistics (expected goals, expected assists, defensive actions in each half of the field) scaled on a per-90-minute basis."

Full article: OptaPro blog (by Paul Carr, Director of Content Development)

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TruMedia wins Best Elite Performance Technology

Rafe Anderson

TruMedia Networks and OptaPro, through the analytical platform ProVision, won Best Elite Performance Technology at the 2018 Yahoo! Sports Technology Awards on May 3 in London.

"Developed by OptaPro in partnership with TruMedia Networks, ProVision is the cutting-edge tool that helps teams make more informed decisions across global recruitment and performance analysis.

Since launching in 2017, professional clubs and federations from around the world have been using ProVision to support their analysis process.

Albert Larcada, TruMedia's Director of Analytics, added: 'Lots of hard work and ingenuity from dozens of people at both TruMedia and OptaPro went into making this product, which makes winning this award very gratifying. The collaboration between our two companies resulting in this product that directly improves team decision-making and processes has been amazing to see firsthand.'"

Full press release

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Scouting defenders in Ligue 2

Rafe Anderson

On the OptaPro blog, TruMedia's Paul Carr uses ProVision to analyze Ligue 2 defenders who could be possible recruitment targets this summer.

"Laporte has now jumped out from the numbers twice, so let’s examine his passing in greater detail. He’s not just nudging the ball to a midfielder to carry up the pitch, he’s getting the ball into the attack effectively. Per 90 minutes, Laporte averages 6.6 passes into the attacking third this season, third-most out of these 23 defenders.

Getting more granular, Laporte has also completed the most passes from the defensive third to the attacking half, both on a total (56) and per-90 (2.2) basis this season. He’s also completing those passes at a higher rate (59%) than any of the others, as his passing map shows."

Full article: OptaPro (by Paul Carr, Director of Content Development)

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Creative midfielders in Denmark

Rafe Anderson

On OptaPro's blog, TruMedia's Paul Carr uses ProVision to find Danish Superliga creative midfielders who could be recruitment targets.

"ProVision allows for several stat views other than totals, which may emphasise quantity over quality. Looking at the same numbers on a per-90-minute basis, Mukhtar isn’t quite as dominant, still leading in big chances created and expected assists, while sliding to third in chances created behind Jensen and Besar Halimi, who played seven fewer games.

The type of creativity matters, since a central midfielder and a winger would fit differently into a line-up. Looking at types of passes attempted, Mukhtar ranks second with 13 through balls and 32nd with 22 crosses, indicating he plays primarily in a central role.

Filtering down to the central third of the field shows that 12 of his 13 through balls come from there, as do 58 of his 60 chances created, profiling Mukhtar as a number 10."

Full article: OptaPro (by Paul Carr, Director of Content Development)

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