NEWS: OptaPro publishes 2018 NWSL regular season review

Article by Andy Cooper

Following the release of the 2018 MLS season review last month, OptaPro has now published another end-of-year review focusing on the NWSL regular season.

Opta has been collecting detailed event data from every game played in the top tier of US domestic women’s football for the past three years and this review represents OptaPro’s most extensive analysis to date of team and player performance in NWSL.

As well identifying key stylistic differences between teams across the division, both with and without the ball, the analysis applies a combination of advanced metrics and new qualifiers introduced by Opta in 2018 to offer new insights into decision-making in front of goal, as well as the quality of chances created.

Key findings from the NWSL review include:

– Championship winners North Carolina Courage dominated the competition in terms of shots on goal and xG output.

– Despite finishing third, Seattle Reign had to rely heavily on set pieces to score goals. Their open play goals total of 13 was the second-lowest in NWSL.

– As well as creating the most chances, North Carolina were the most direct team in getting the ball forward quickly and winning possession back in the attacking third.

– Portland’s Linsey Horan scored eight of her side’s 12 set piece goals, including four headers.

– Jodie Taylor and Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic demonstrated outstanding decision-making in front of goal – recording a ratio of 0.22 xG per shot each.

– As well as finishing as the league’s top scorer, Samantha Kerr was also involved in more sequences ending in a shot or goal than any other NWSL player.

You can read the NWSL review here.

The recent publication of the NWSL and MLS reviews marks the first time that in-depth OptaPro season analysis has been made available publicly to a wider audience. If you have any questions relating to our findings in either review, please get in touch with us on pro@optasports.com.

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