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Dave Tenney
Dave Tenney, director of performance and sports science at the Seattle Sounders FC, at the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

If you’re a fan of the Seattle Sounders FC, you’ll grasp at anything that might explain away that painful 1-1 tie with Orlando City SC on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field.

Back at the scene of the sports tragedy on Thursday, Dave Tenney, director of performance and sports science for the team, took a shot at the question of whether data analytics could have helped prevent the last-second goal that doomed the Souders.

Tenney was on a panel with Dr. Laila Mintas, deputy president at Sportradar U.S, during the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit.

“I think where we’re at with our staff and data, when most people think analytics and they think data they think very ‘event driven,'” Tenney said. “As we’ve evolved our staff and our way of seeing things we want to use data more for the relationship between the players.

“If you look, yesterday was a good example,” Tenney continued. “We had a lot of shots, we had a lot of passes, maybe even more than the opponent, but yet the other team had some passes in difficult areas, we couldn’t finish our chances, and the relationships between the players weren’t quite right at times. And you can quantify that, but most people aren’t quantifying that.”

So, unlike the bang-bang method by which Orlando erased a 1-0 deficit, that’s Tenney’s way of saying, yes, data analytics could have helped Seattle.

“You have to know how to use the data, apply that to the coaching, apply that to the training field, and change things there, rather than change things in game.”

So, with a little more applied analysis — and some luck, perhaps — the next time the Sounders are in a similar situation, it’ll be worth watching to see if they can get away with a victory.

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