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One stat that defines each MLS Eastern Conference team

Here’s what the numbers have to say about your favorite team.

9 min read

If I know anything about anything, I know that fans love having their favorite team’s entire season reduced to a single statistic by some random guy on the internet. Well, fans, you’re in luck, because today some random guy on the internet is reducing your favorite team’s entire season to a single statistic.

Now, I’ve watched an absurd number of games throughout the season, too. So these numbers aren’t just pulled out of thin air — they’re designed to pair with what we’ve all seen from each team on tape. But believe me, these numbers have plenty to say.

Let’s dive into one stat that defines each MLS team in the Eastern Conference.

Keep your eyes out for a Western Conference edition coming next week.

Atlanta United

Stat: 4.2…more goals allowed than expected

At this point in the year, we can make a few definitive statements about Atlanta United.

First, they’re super fun to watch as a neutral: they’ve scored more goals than all but one team in the East (Columbus). Second, they’re leaky defensively, which makes them even more fun for the neutral: they’ve allowed more goals than all but one team in the East (Charlotte). Third, their goalkeepers are bad: no team has allowed more goals than expected based on FBref’s post-shot expected goals metric than Atlanta United. Brad Guzan, Quentin Westberg, and Clement Dion have all played in goal this year, and they’ve all been noticeably below-average.

Even with two legitimately elite attacking players in Thiago Almada and Giorgos Giakoumakis, it’s hard to imagine Atlanta making a playoff run with such poor goalkeeping.

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