Tuesday, September 8, 2015


This image was introduced this week ahead of the USMNT's game against Brazil, where Jozy Altidore has the possibility to join a very distinguished group of players to reach the 30 goal milestone. What's not included in the graphic is that McBride only played three more games and didn't score another goal (95 C / 30 G); Wynalda only scored 4 more goals in his next 23 caps (106 C / 34 G); Dempsey can still add to his total, but currently sits at 48 goals and 119 caps; while Landon reached 57 goals in 157 caps.

This is where I segue into a post that I've had in my head for awhile.  Landon scored nearly 60 goals for the USMNT, but that would barely crack him into the Top 10 for the USWNT, where Abby Wambach has tripled Landon's total and currently sits at 184 goals in 251 caps. Landon would be just behind Shannon MacMillan (176 C / 60 C) and right before Carin Gabarra (117 C / 53 G). If (when) Jozy gets goal number 30, that would put him in a tie for 17th place with Brandi Chastain (192 C / 30 G), albeit at a much higher rate than Brandi.

Statistics Sorted by Goals (first MNT player highlighted)
Put another way, the Top 5 USMNT goalscorers only have 15 more goals COMBINED than Abby. It's not just a function of caps either (though I'll get to that in a minute) because Abby has scored at a rate of 0.7331 goal/cap, while Dempsey leads the top men goalscorers with a 0.4034 goal/cap. What differentiates Landon from the other top USMNT scorers was his ability to also provide assists to his teammates (LD had 58 assist and Cobi Jones finished in 2nd with 22 assists) giving him a 1.0955 points/cap.  Landon would finish in 5th place in the Pt/Cap category of the Top 5 USWNT goalscorers and there are other USWNT scorers further down the list that have higher pt/cap totals, notably Alex Morgan at 1.5109 pt/cap (92 C / 53 G / 33 A) and April Heinrichs at 1.7609 pt/cap (46 C / 35 G / 11 A).
Statistics Sorted by Pt/Cap (first MNT player highlighted)
Note - Table created using only the data from Top Scorers.
Michael Bradley recently celebrated his 100th cap with the USMNT, which Alexi Lalas commented was a great achievement for a USMNT player. Donovan finished his national team career in 2nd place in caps for the USMNT behind Cobi Jones (164), but Cobi would be in 17th place on the USWNT between Carla Overbeck and Cindy Parlow. The USWNT's cap leader is Kristine Lilly with 352 caps or 31 more caps than Landon and Cobi combined. Lilly isn't alone in her cap total with 10 players exceeding the 200 cap milestone. I'm not sure where Bradley would fall on the USWNT list (now at 105 caps) because their list online stops at 30th place with Angela Hucles at 109 caps.

Statistics Sorted by Cap (first MNT player highlighted)
Note - Table created using only the data from Top Scorers. Other players are missing.
The differences are amazing when I started looking into them. I wish I knew why the USWNT players stay longer and score more than their male counterparts, but I don't. Is it competition level or tactical philosophies or something else entirely? I'm sure there are reasons, but I'm a numbers guy and the numbers are staggering. I've written on this site about the consistency (lineups and rosters) that can breed success in the NASL and I would assume that those play at least a part in the successes of the US National Teams as well. They women stick together, play together for longer, and success is bred from that and the culture to be the top team in the world. Though it doesn't hurt from the goal scoring aspect that the women never take their collective foot off the gas until the final whistle sounds.

Again, I don't know the difference between the two teams, but I hope you got something from my data dump.

Source Data:
WNT Records
MNT Records


Don said...

Could it be, at least in part, due to the fact that for many years the USWNT were much better than their competition, whereas the USMNT never has.

Or saying it another way, the men played much tougher competition and never had the chance to rack up the stats that the women did.

If you reset the women's stats, and several years down the road did the same comparison, would there be as much of a gap now that the rest of the world has somewhat caught up with our women?

Drew said...

To some extent, yes, I think the level of competition was/is different. However, if you look at the current "new guard" USWNT goalscorers of Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, and Christen Press, they are scoring at 0.5761, 0.4667, and 0.4878 goal/cap, which are all higher than Dempsey's rate, against competition that has somewhat caught up. All three also have above a 1.0 pt/cap rate (1.5109, 1.0933, and 1.2439 respectively), whereas Donovan is the only male to be above that threshold.

They're different games, but the numbers are interesting to me.