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Toronto FC’s statistical leaders in MLS so far

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A quick review of what the numbers say about the Reds.

MLS: Toronto FC at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This is not intended to provide any kind of in-depth analysis, but I was taking a look at a few Toronto FC statistical categories and thought it might be interesting to share a few at this midway-ish point of the season.

All of these stats come from Opta, and one or two may differ slightly from what you see on MLS’ official website - namely assists, where the league has a much more generous definition.

Goals

1. Sebastian Giovinco: 9
2. Jozy Altidore: 8
3. Tosaint Ricketts, Justin Morrow and Victor Vazquez: 3

Pretty much what you’d expect. If Seba is setting himself up for a big second half of the season having got over his little injury niggles, he will absolutely be in the MVP conversation; he’s already third in the league in non-penalty goals per 90 minutes (0.62) among players to have logged 1,000 minutes, behind only Nemanja Nikolic (0.76) and Maxi Urruti (0.64).

Altidore hasn’t been as prolific when you take penalties out (0.4) - he’s in the realm of C.J. Sapong (0.37) and Clint Dempsey (0.42). What we know there, though, is that he brings plenty more to the team than just goals and can suddenly hit a hot streak, as he did to incredible effect in last season’s playoffs.

Assists

1. Vazquez and Altidore: 5
2. Giovinco: 4
3. Raheem Edwards: 3

And here’s part of that extra value Altidore has: he creates. Perhaps not by dribbling past three men like Giovinco or threading a perfect through ball into the box like Vazquez, but his hold-up play in and around the area allows others to play off him.

MLS: New England Revolution at Toronto FC Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Chances created

1. Vazquez: 43
2. Altidore: 23
3. Giovinco: 17

Vazquez leads the league in chances created per 90 minutes among players with 500 minutes logged. A lot of his work comes from set pieces, though, and when you filter for chances created from open play, Altidore impresses again - he’s only three behind Vazquez and trails only David Villa on a per-90 minutes basis among centre forwards.

Passes

1. Michael Bradley: 1228
2. Vazquez: 736
3. Eriq Zavaleta: 698

In terms of raw numbers, Bradley leads in every passing category; passing accuracy, passes in the opposition half, passes into the final third. Marky Delgado just edges in him in the opposition half stat per 90 minutes, which speaks to his growing importance to the team’s ball circulation.

There aren’t any surprises in terms of the passing accuracy numbers; all of the midfielders range between 83 per cent and 87 per cent. Drew Moor and Chris Mavinga are tidier than Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund, and Justin Morrow has eight per cent on Raheem Edwards, which isn’t especially unexpected.

Zavaleta, interestingly, is third in raw passes and passes into the final third. Vanney has spoken about the importance of him improving his play on the ball and I’d guess that’s because quite often he’s the guy the opposition won’t press, because they’d rather he started attacks than, say, Bradley.

Dribbles attempted

1. Giovinco: 52
2. Armando Cooper: 46
3. Edwards: 41

Three likely suspects. Cooper is actually the most efficient of the them, with nearly half of his dribbles successful (meaning he beats a player and retains possession).

I’m going to list the defensive stats all together and discuss them as a group. I’m also listing them per 90 minutes rather than raw, as I think that’s more useful.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Toronto FC Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Tackles

1. Delgado: 2.88
2. Morrow: 2.73
3. Edwards: 2.66

Interceptions

1. Mavinga: 2.35
2. Bradley: 1.71
3. Morrow: 1.67

Recoveries

1. Bradley: 11.47
2. Cooper: 6.93
3. Morrow: 6.6

A few things.

Delgado is putting together a very nice profile as a box-to-box midfielder. I compared his numbers to Cristian Roldan’s and while he’s not quite there, he’s not a million miles away.

Morrow’s stats are compromised a bit because he’s played at two positions, which makes comparisons difficult, but suffice to say he is just an excellent all-round player.

Mavinga’s clear lead over everyone else in terms of interceptions is interesting. That’s probably a product of his athleticism allowing him to be more aggressive; what’s slightly concerning, though, is that Toronto face 1.34 shots on target per 90 minutes when he’s on the field compared to 0.82 when Hagglund is playing.

Recoveries is a somewhat vaguely defined stat...

This is where a player wins back the ball when it has gone loose or where the ball has been played directly to him.

...but it’s Bradley’s specialty. It’s usually dominated by goalkeepers but the captain is second in the entire league, and among outfield players only Marcelo Sarvas, Alexander Ring and Anibal Godoy get close to him.

If there’s any stats not listed here that you’d be interested in seeing, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.