Friday, July 24, 2009

MLS: The Impact of a Red Card (part two)

Part 1: MLS: The Impact of a Red Card

Back with more details on the history of red cards in MLS. Be sure to check out part one too. This data is through 2008, and includes only regular season games.

Better or Worse?

Exactly how did the scoreline of the game change when one team was a man up? How many goals did each team score after that? The GD in the table below refers to the team that was a man up, and also only includes the time in the game while that team was a man up.

So for example, let's say a team was losing 0:3 and went a man up. If the game ended up with a final score of 1:3 (and no more reds were shown), it would be listed below as +1.

GD Times PCT
+6 2 0.4%
+5 2 0.4%
+4 4 0.8%
+3 9 1.9%
+2 38 8.0%
+1 104 21.9%
0 257 54.1%
-1 50
-2 8 1.7%
-3 0 0.0%
-4 1 0.2%

Total 475 100.0%

The -4 game was in 1999. Chicago was up 1:0 on Colorado in Soldier Field when Jerzy Podbrozny was ejected in the 25th minute. The Fire scored four more times in the second half and it finished 5:0.

Simplifying it a bit:

Times PCT
Better 159 33.5%
Even 257 54.1%
Worse 59 12.4%

So MLS teams have only outscored their opponent about one out of every eight times after going a man down.

This holds even when accounting for the location of the team going a man up:

Home Away
Better 34.4% 32.1%
Even 54.5% 53.6%
Worse 11.1% 14.3%

Outcomes Changed?

The last table concerned only the number of goals scored versus conceded. What about how the actual outcomes of games? To make things easier, I only looked at games with a single sending off. The only exception was if a second red was given to someone on the bench or otherwise not in the match. There were 389 such games:

Times PCT Home Away
L to W 9 2.3% 7 2
L to D 14 3.6% 5
L to L 84 21.6% 43 41
D to W 52 13.4% 31 21
D to D 65 16.7% 41 24
D to L 17 4.4% 7 10
W to W 136 35.0% 95 41
W to D 10 2.6% 4 6
W to L 2 0.5% 1 1

Total 389 100.0% 234 155

In summary:

Better 75 19.3%
Even 285 73.3%
Worse 29 7.5%

Interesting that most of the time the result stayed the same in the end. Of course, many of these red cards were given at the end of matches.

The 2009 MLS Fact & Record Book lists 6 games where a team scored a tying and winning goal while a man down. Those games are:

  • NY 2:3 LA (April 11, 1998)
  • COL 1:2 MIA (May 13, 2000)
  • NY 2:1 NE (August 12, 2000)
  • DC 1:2 CHI (June 2, 2001)
  • COL 2:1 KC (July 4, 2005)
  • RSL 3:2 DAL (September 16, 2006)

The first, third, and sixth matches were all tied when the red card was shown. The team a man up then scored, followed by the team a man down scoring twice to win. They were included in the "D to L" category above.

The second match was 1:0 Rapids, a red card was shown, and then the Fusion scored twice to win. It's not in the above stats because a second red (to Colorado) was shown in the dying minutes.

The other two make up the 2 in the "W to L" column above.

Once again, let's see how it breaks down into home/away:

Home Away
Better 18.4% 20.6%
Even 76.5% 68.4%
Worse 5.1% 11.0%

Away teams are more than twice as likely to end up with a worse result. No surprise if you saw part one where I detailed the average number of goals scored for home and away teams.

Coming up next:

In part three, I'll look at how each MLS team has done while up and down a man. Have certain teams done better than the rest


Comments on "MLS: The Impact of a Red Card (part two)"


Anonymous David said ... (9:16 PM, July 26, 2009) : 

Why don't you look at any changes after the side has a man sent off, as this will surely affect the outcome.

Jose Mourinho as an example went 4-3-2, other coaches may go 4-4-1.

What about the scoreline when the sending off occurred and how far into the match etc.

Lastly if you have a good team spirit a red card can galvanize the team, as could it if they were playing at home. The fans effectively becoming the "extra man".

Nice idea, too many variables imo.


post a comment