New England Revolution acquires Juan Agudelo: What does that mean?

First things first before I make fun of the Revolution (and I will).  Their defense has been—excluding the New York outlier—borderline elite this season. That’s possibly one of the few reasons they’re still afloat and maybe the only reason to watch them (sorry, Lee Nguyen).

Tempo-free soccer has the Revs ranked 6th in dAG (defensive attempts on goals), which is how many times an opposing team has made any attempt at their goal. Add to that that we have them ranked 2nd (6.2%) in Opposing Finishing%, which is how often a team’s opponents successfully convert attempts into actual goals. They’re better than every team outside of Montreal in that category.

This has all culminated in only 6 goals allowed in 9 games. Something that would be overlooked if it wasn’t for their horrible attack and the need for at least some positive mention.

But now the Revs have added the young (former starlett?) Juan Agudelo, someone who saw time with the US National team only 6 months ago in Russia and didn’t look awful by any stretch. To be fair, he’s someone that has actually come out looking very strong for Chivas earlier this season, but he’s been hampered the last few weeks with hamstring issues.

It was thought that he had mended a brewing off-season situation between himself and Chivas USA head coach, El Chelis. But of late, Chelis has given a lot of credit to his now former striker. He told MLSSoccer:

“I didn’t know what I had in Agudelo, but by having him, what I asked for doesn’t matter because Agudelo is a model. He is the natural on this team. He’s a player that has many technical qualities. He’s very involved in working to improve others.”

And now he’s shipped off to the greater Boston area and we are with out the full detail of the acquisition being yet to be vented  in exchange the Goats received allocation money. The spice of life and magic dust that no one talks about and everyone wants. Of course for us this isn’t about the details at this point.

What Juan Agudelo will bring is spectacular things and then all together frustrating things. He averages about 16 shots on goal per 1500 minutes, a number he has yet to reach in either of his stops in Chivas or New York. A team averages a goal on 9.4% of its attempts this season, and 26.9% of its shots on goal. Using that, there’s a possibility that he adds a few additional goals to the line-up. Assuming he is just average at finishing.

That said Agudelo has beat the average ratio over his 3,000 minutes, scoring 11 goals in 36 shots on goal (30.6%). Scoring goals is a skill, and though we don’t know how much is luck vs. his ability, I think it’s very possible that he will continue to beat the league average conversion rates.

Looking at Chris Wondolowski, Kenny Cooper and Álvaro Saborío–the top 3 scorers for 2012–they all combined to beat the league average by scoring a goal on 43.9% of their shots on target. So, we can safely attribute scoring goals on shots on target as being a skill, the only problem is trying to account for luck. That’s a little difficult at this stage, and so for now, we’ll just mention it.

But assuming that Agudelo is consistent and continues scoring at a high rate and matches 1500 minutes. I have him for about 6 goals this season. Right now considering their goal conversion and their already abysmal offense, the Revs are on pace for 36 goals total to end the season. Considering their ability to suppress their opponent’s talent and ability to score goals I have them for 26 goals allowed, assuming they continue their defensive supremacy.

Using SoccerMetricsPythagorean this comes out at about 51 points… given the asinine goal difference. Add in the additional 6 goals that Juan Agudelo brings and that brings them to a total of 56. Basically almost a full point for each goal.

Now, I’m not about to say that the Revolution have a shot at 60 points, not in your life. But in the last 3 years the only teams to have a plus goal differential AND not make the playoffs were 2011 Chicago Fire and the 2010 Kansas City Wizards. Considering a team-wide return to a league-average ability to score goals AND adding Juan Agudelo, it’s very possible that New England just moved themselves within striking distance for the 4th or 5th spot in the East.

Columbus and Philly, beware.


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