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Clueless Finn » Blog Archive » Sequences of passes and players

Sequences of passes and players

Auch, one week and no post from me - instead there seems to be a bunch of great posts from various people. Thanks for keeping this blog interesting.

After running around in CTIA and related events for the whole week, I decided to use a few hours to program a small python app to analyze sequences of passes (strings of players and strings of certain types of passes). I wanted to look past single passes to find out if there is a dominant string of players in a team. Or if a team seems to use a certain sequence of passes, like dumps after short attacking passes. Again I used data from WUGC open final: Canada vs. USA. small set of data, I admit.

Before diving in to the results, short note on the number of passes per team in that game. Canada passed 234 times and USA 164 times. Canada used proportionally more dumps than USA (29% - 18%) whereas USA used mid-length passes more than Canada (15% vs. 8%). Also the maximum number of passes from player A to player B was 6 for USA (Studarus to Lobue) whereas Al Nichols passed 13 times to Evan Wood for Canada. These differences of course are visible in pass sequences too.

Lets first look at the strings of players. For USA here are the most common 4-player strings (one time strings are not displayed, rest assured there were plenty of different srings for both teams).

Count Sequence
2 Studarus - Dugan - Studarus - Lobue
2 Dugan - Studarus - Lobue - Burfeind

And here are the most common 3-player strings

Count Sequence
2 Seidler - Husak - Cameros
2 Studarus - Dugan - Studarus
2 Dugan - Studarus - Lobue
2 Studarus - Lobue - Burfeind
2 Studarus - Lobue - Steets
2 Lobue - Steets - Leiserson
2 Glimme - Studarus - Lobue

Here are the same tables for Canada. First 4 players

Count Sequence
2 Savage - Lugsdin - Hassell - Savage
2 Savage - Cruickshank - Lugsdin - Alexander
2 Ortiz - Wood - Cruickshank - Ortiz

and then 3 players

Count Sequence
5 Wood - Nichols - Wood
3 Savage - Cruickshank - Lugsdin
3 Nichols - Wood - Nichols
2 Lugsdin - Ortiz - Savage
2 Cruickshank - Lugsdin - Wooldridge
2 Savage - Lugsdin - Hassell
2 Lugsdin - Hassell - Savage
2 Nichols - Pottinger - Harmer
2 Wood - Pottinger - Grant
2 Pottinger - Nichols - Wood
2 Wooldridge - Ortiz - Lugsdin
2 Savage - Alexander - Ortiz
2 Cruickshank - Savage - Lugsdin
2 Roberts - Ortiz - Lugsdin
2 Lugsdin - Savage - Alexander
2 Savage - Alexander - Savage
2 Cruickshank - Lugsdin - Alexander
2 Ortiz - Lugsdin - Alexander
2 Ortiz - Wood - Cruickshank
2 Wood - Cruickshank - Ortiz

I guess the higher number of different 3-player strings for Canada with 2 or more instances is explained mostly with higher number of Canadian passes in the game. It is however interesting to note that Wood seemed to play more (5 vs. 3) give-n-go plays off Nichols than the opposite way.

Pass categories

Here is a breakdown of 2 pass strings for USA

Count Sequence
21 a - a
12 a - m
12 s - a
11 d - a
9 a - d
9 d - s
7 l - d
7 s - s
6 d - m
5 m - a
5 a - l
5 a - s
4 m - d
3 m - m
3 a - h
3 s - d
2 l - a
2 m - h
2 s - m
2 l - l
2 h - d

and the same list for Canada

Count Sequence
27 a - d
27 a - a
21 d - a
16 d - d
13 s - a
11 a - m
9 a - s
8 d - s
6 m - a
6 d - m
4 s - d
4 s - h
4 s - s
4 d - l
4 l - d
3 a - h
3 l - l
3 l - a
3 m - d
2 s - m
2 l - s
2 d - c
2 d - h
2 a - l

There a more dump passes in the high ranking pass sequences for Canada than for USA, but that can be expected based on the higher number of dump passes Canada used in the game.

Finally, were there any player/pass-type strings which had more than one instance?

Yes, one for USA

Count Sequence
2 Glimme - a - Studarus - a - Lobue

And 4 for Canada

Count Sequence
2 Nichols - d - Pottinger - s - Harmer
2 Nichols - a - Wood - a - Nichols
2 Savage - a - Alexander - s - Ortiz
2 Wood - d - Nichols - a - Wood

Any suggestions how to proceed from here, or should I drop investigating this approach?

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