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Association between playing tactics and creating scoring opportunities in counterattacks from United States Major League Soccer games

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The aim of this study was to examine the effects of playing tactics on creating scoring opportunities in counterattacks from the United States Major League Soccer (MLS) 2014 season. The sample included 452 counterattack possessions, corresponding to 30 randomly selected matches. Multidimensional data from 14 categorical variables were analysed by means of a descriptive analysis and binary logistic regression. Counterattacks that started in the pre-offensive zone and had initial penetration were more effective in creating scoring opportunities than those that started in the defensive zone (OR=3.825; 95% IC: 1.765 to 8.289; p<0.01), and those without initial penetration (OR=8.689; 95% IC: 1.142 to 66.116; p<0.05), only when the defensive team did not exert initial defensive pressure. Besides this, counterattacks with four or more passes were more effective than shorter ones, regardless of the initial defensive pressure. In terms of defence, not carrying out initial defensive pressure after losing the ball possession increased the probability of conceding scoring opportunities by means of counterattack by a factor of three (OR=3.315; 95% IC: 1.684 to 6.525; p<0.01). Effectiveness in the counterattacks analysed in MLS were associated with regaining ball possession in offensive zones, performing initial penetration, making four or more passes and playing against no initial defensive pressure.
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Keywords: EFFECTIVENESS; FOOTBALL; GOAL SCORING; MATCH ANALYSIS; NOTATIONAL ANALYSIS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2016

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