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Ryan O’Hanlon,, talks World Cup

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November 18, 2022 7:54 pm

Ryan O’Hanlon,, talks World Cup

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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November 18, 2022 7:54 pm

Ryan O’Hanlon,, talks World Cup with Adam; who is the first person to do what?

-Net Gains: Inside the Beautiful Game’s Analytics Rev.

-First, did the make up of the roster (Ream v Carter-Vickers; Haji v Pepe, Stefen out) make sense from an analytical standpoint?

-Win probability is about identical to Wales.

-Curious which choices he makes for the front 3.

-Assuming Adams, McKennie, Musah in midfield

-You predicted EVERY match of the World Cup.


And the World Cup starts Sunday and I need to get my rest. Ryan O'Hanlon from, author of NetGains, Inside the Beautiful Games, Analytics Revolution. He has joined us before. So I'm going to ask you an analytics question, Mr. O'Hanlon. I appreciate your time. Did the makeup of Greg Berhalter's roster, Tim Rehm in, you know, Haji Wright over Pepe, Zach Stefano. Did it make sense from an analytical standpoint or do we even know the answer to that? I appreciate you having me on.

I wanted to congratulate you on being the first person that interviewed me twice since my book came out. I must win something. Yeah. I mean, I think, I think generally with these rosters, right?

Like the shredding over the 26th, 23rd man. It's fun to do, but it's going to probably have almost no effect on the outcome of the team's performance. Those players barely end up playing. But I think the one thing to point out is that Zach Stefan has always had pretty bad at all levels. He's played at below average shot-stopping numbers, which are, you know, you can figure out using analytics, using expected goals.

You can determine the difficulty of the shot and figure out how often the average keeper would save the shot that this keeper faced. And he would always be below that. Matt Turner is the best keeper in MLS history based on that metric. And, you know, he's barely played for Arsenal, but he's done quite well when he's played. And it seemed like Stefan might still be the starter after the most recent friendlies with the way Berhalter was talking about him. And that would have been a very seemingly unanalytical choice. And then all of a sudden Stefan wasn't even on the roster.

So that makes it very clear. I think that Matt Stefan or Matt Stefan, Matt Turner is going to be the starter. So I think like from that point, it actually, you know, checked off one question mark, I think I had about the team going forward. I actually, I saw your, you retweeted a stat about, or not a stat, I guess it was a chart that said that Alison, Alison Becker, who plays for Liverpool, but is Brazil's first choice keeper, that he is the best in the world at stopping shots, but he's also gotten a lot better in distribution. He's got a few assists this year.

Mostly his long balls have been tremendous. What do you make of the United States roster and the level of importance on this game one on Monday at two o'clock against Wales? Yeah. So the thing with the World Cup is like the first game, like the schedule of the games actually matters a lot, right? Because you can get to the third game and the team you're playing can suddenly have no incentives, right? Like they could be eliminated. They could be, they could have clinched qualification.

You could both, there's been many games in World Cups where both teams needed a draw and then both teams just magically ended up with a draw, you know? So I think the first game matters in that perspective in terms of the roster. I mean, I think, you know, the US is still a relatively young soccer playing nation and there's a ton of players playing on big teams now, but then the backups to those players are players that are playing, you know, in MLS still. So it's still, it's not like England where you can, you know, replace one superstar with another with an injury. And so one of the fears with the US I think was that, you know, a couple of these stars get injured, they don't play at the World Cup, and then you have, you know, a much worse player playing. And so all of the US's stars are actually healthy, which is like a huge boon, I think, for the team and definitely raises their ceiling. The one issue is that these kind of star players that we call them, Surgenio Dast, who plays for Barcelona, Tyler Adams played for Leeds, Wes McKinney at Juventus, Christian Polisic at Chelsea, and Gia Reyna at Dortmund, these guys have never played a full competitive 90-minute match together, ever. So, you know, that one, you can look at it as if, okay, this is good, the team will probably, well, they should be better than we've seen them play, right? Because they're going to have all their best players. But then it's also, well, in soccer, you do need some kind of cohesion, right? You need to kind of understand the various tendencies of your teammates, and if these guys have never played together, what does that mean?

So I think in a lot of ways, there's a lot of, kind of a lot of question marks heading into the first game, I think, in interesting ways, potentially. Ryan O'Hanlon from ESPN is joining us, also the author of Net Gains, Inside the Beautiful Games, Analytics Revolution. All the players you mentioned, if I'm not mistaken, combined, have fewer goals than Ivan Toney, who plays for Brentford, who didn't even make England's squad, and they take 26. That was probably because he wasn't going to play, because I guess he plays the same position as Harry Kane, and Kane's never coming off the field, so there's probably reasons for that. So it leads me to, who's going to score the goals, Ryan? Ryan O'Hanlon- That's a very good question.

Jack- Because they keep score, right? Ryan O'Hanlon- Yeah, they do, but I guess you can draw your way to winning the World Cup, but you have to win a game in the group stages, at least. It's very hard to advance with three draws in the group stages, but you could theoretically draw 0-0 in four rounds in a row and win in PKs, so that could happen. I think for them to do well, they're going to have to score a couple goals on set pieces, which is true for everyone, but I think it's especially true for the US, given that they don't really have a reliable striker on the team, or at least someone who hasn't shown himself to be reliable. But then I think it's going to be, I think Weston McKinney is going to have to score from midfield, and that's kind of what he does.

He runs from deep. His defense has a hard time following, and I think Pulisic and Reyna and Aronson and possibly Tim Weah, I think, are going to... I don't think there's... If I had to kind of sketch out, if the US has a good tournament, I think their distribution of goals will be evenly distributed between a couple of the midfielders, maybe one of the centerbacks gets a goal here and there, and then the attack, the kind of all these wingery types that they have, each guy will have like one or two.

That's kind of how I would... If it goes well for the US, I would imagine that. I don't think we're going to have like, you know, Jesus Ferreira is going to score five goals or something like that. It would be great, though. It would be great. If that happens, then the United States is probably playing well into December. We are joined by Ryan O'Hanlon from ESPN. You just wrote, you predicted every World Cup game. You actually did a write-up for every World Cup game. Unfortunately, for us, for you, I guess, no Sadio Mane from Senegal, who is a player who I absolutely grew to love last year, and now he's playing for Bayern Munich, so I don't get a chance to watch him as much because I'm a Liverpool guy, but he's not going to be there.

They strung it along and then finally said, yeah, no, he's not going to play. I'm guessing it changes your view of what Senegal is capable of, although they're still a good team. They have good goalkeeping in Edouard Mendy. What do you think about them?

Yeah, I think they suffered from like a greater version of what I was saying the U.S. could have suffered from. Like Sadio Mane is one of the, you know, we had to do ESPN. We ranked all of the players, our top 50 players at the World Cup, and I had, I don't know, I think I had Mane.

I don't have the list in front of me. I don't remember what I did because I've since predicted every World Cup game and that's taken up all the space in my brain. I had Mane in the top seven, let's say, seven players in the world, and now he'll be replaced by, I'm not sure who's in the back of the place, but I'll be someone who's probably in a sort of mid-tier European team. So it's just a massive, you know, Senegal has this one elite world-class goal scorer, which is the most important position at the World Cup.

And now he's not there. So I think Senegal goes from, I think they were a real, they had a legit shot at winning their group, which if the U.S. and the U.S. matches up with Senegal and the Netherlands group, so the U.S. could have ended up playing them. And then I think they would have had potential some danger to knock out one of the favorites.

I don't think they would have won, but they could have made a run. Now I kind of look at it as if like the Netherlands are heavy favorites to win the group, which would mean the U.S., you know, if they come in second, that's who they would play. And then I would say Senegal, probably Senegal and Ecuador, I would say are like 50-50 at this point in terms of second place. And I guess we can give Qatar like, you know, 1%.

I don't know. Don't host countries generally do well? It's true. Those countries generally do well. They do. This is the worst host country that's ever hosted.

You probably could have just stopped right there. This is the worst host country. Ryan O'Hanlon from ESPN is joining us. Portugal was all over that list of players in the top 50.

It almost seemed like this was the top 50 players from Portugal at one point. But you don't have them going far. The Venture X card from Capital One gives you more of what you love, like premium travel benefits and access to Taylor Swift tickets.

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See additional terms at Yeah. So is that bad chemistry? Is that bad head coaching?

What is the problem there? Is Ronaldo a spoiler? Well, so, you know, as someone who wrote a book about analytics, I guess I am more skeptical of, you know, quote unquote vibes based analysis than the average person. But for people that don't know, Cristiano Ronaldo essentially just went scorched earth on Manchester United in an interview with Piers Morgan. Less said about that, the better, I guess.

And just, you know, we was very much old man yells at cloud kind of situation. And what's happened with Cristiano Ronaldo, he's 37. He's just a very immobile player that doesn't contribute to the game beyond scoring. And he doesn't score as much as he does anymore. And Manchester United are clearly better without him. And he gave this interview, just ripping the club to shreds. Meanwhile, you know, Portugal, one of their most important players, Brian Fernandez plays for Manchester United.

One of their right backs, Diogo Dallo also plays for Manchester United. And it's just created a kind of like all the questions that Portugal in Portugal media availability now are just about Ronaldo. Right. Right. So you have that. And then you have the fact that Ronaldo is just not as good as it used to be.

He just not. And they're still, you still built, you have, you're going to play him 90 minutes of every game, you know, as evidenced by what happens when you don't. And I think that really lowers their ceiling. And then they also, their coach, Fernando Santos, has been a very conservative to a fault, I think, with the players who play it on Portugal. I think, you know, people get upset when the U.S. doesn't play like all of their European based players or whatever. Well, Portugal, the number of stars that Portugal will have on the bench, I think, can kind of put into perspective for U.S. and how, you know, how worse it could be in terms of the conservative decision making of the coach. Portugal is loaded and they've got some injuries too. I know Jota from Liverpool is not going to play and he's, he's a dynamite goal scorer. It's going to really suck for Portugal when Korea goes, goes forward and so does Uruguay and Portugal doesn't. That is my own little sneaky prediction.

Yeah. Plus it would be fun. I like, I mean, Uruguay is, it's fun to say, I think, as much as anything else. I'm not going to give away who your winner is because I want people to go read the piece of picking every single World Cup game, but I will give this spoiler.

You have the United States advancing to the knockout stage and that would be a very cool thing for all of us here, including you. Ryan O'Hanlon, I appreciate your time. Good luck with the book. We'll bother you again if that's okay.

We'll love it. Anytime. You got it.

Ryan O'Hanlon from ESPN. It's here. Peloton's best offer of the season.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-18 20:55:02 / 2022-11-18 21:01:20 / 6

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