Nashville SC

USL power ratings: April 15, 2019

Welcome to the USL power ratings! Herein, I’ll give weekly updates on the Eastern and Western Conference with a projected final table. When there’s enough data, I’ll expand the variety of rankings available. 

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Table Power

This rating method counts only opposition played and points attained in a given game – it is best used as a proxy for how the table is likely to play out at the end of the year.

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USL East power rankings:

  1. Saint Louis – 95.89 projected points
  2. Nashville – 81.93 points
  3. Ottawa (+3) – 68.28 points
  4. Birmingham(!) (+8) – 64.14 points
  5. NYRB2 (-1) – 62.07 points
  6. Tampa Bay (-1) – 56.55 points
  7. North Carolina (-4) – 55.61 points
  8. Bethlehem (+3) – 52.17 points
  9. Pittsburgh (+1) – 45.14 points
  10. Charleston (-2) – 39.72 points
  11. Indy (-4) – 39.01 points
  12. Atlanta 2 (+3) – 38.53 points
  13. Louisville City (+1) – 37.88 points
  14. Memphis (-5) – 29.35 points
  15. Loudoun (-2) – 17.93 points
  16. Swope Park (-1) – 14.48 points
  17. Charlotte – 8.89 points
  18. Hartford – 0.00 points

It’s still broken: even with a loss (and to a poor side), Saint Louis FC has an unsustainable projection. As the number of games played levels out a bit – Indy Eleven and Swope Park only have three games under their respective belts, with a fourth coming tonight – it should start to make more sense. I honestly thought this would be the week, but methinks we’re one more away (the West is basically fine, though the outliers will come back to the mean there as well).

I’m a skeptic on Birmingham despite the big win this weekend, but of course time will tell. Having Saint Louis count for 1/4 of your strength of schedule (and not being docked for their lone loss, because it came to you) skews things a bit. Schedule strength also indicates that Charlotte and Swope have played tough slates so far, and there’s a chance they perform better against bad teams than the formula currently anticipates.

There’s not a whole lot else controversial around here. Nashville dropped numerically (not in position) only because their schedule strength went down: they played Memphis, Ottawa took down Loudoun for past-opponent-on-past-opponent crime, and Saint Louis took its first loss.

Will Hartford ever win? Maybe! But giving up a 1-0 lead (check out the golazo that got them there, if you would) to lose 3-1 is a major bummer instead of at the very least their first points.

The upcoming week has a few midweek games – starting with Indy and Swope tonight – so there could be some significant shakeup here. For now, I’d divide it into reasonable tiers, with Saint Louis and Nashville the class of the East to date, a band of Ottawa through North Carolina, Bethlehem and Pittsburgh together, Charleston through Memphis in a grouping, and Loudoun joining up with Swope, Charlotte, and Hartford for that bottom tier. They’ll be a little more defined – or the race will get more jumbled – as we have more data. I almost held off for that Indy/Swope game to publish this set of ratings because it’s going to be pretty informative, given the low n for both of those teams right now.

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USL West power rankings

    1. LA Galaxy II – 72.87 projected points
    2. Portland Timbers 2 (+1) – 72.70 points
    3. Sacramento Republic (-1) – 71.25 points
    4. Real Monarchs – 62.14 points
    5. Tulsa Roughnecks – 59.69 points
    6. New Mexico – 54.28 points
    7. OKC Energy – 52.50 points
    8. Colorado Springs – 49.87 points
    9. Orange County (+4) – 46.98 points
    10. Fresno FC (-1) – 45.33 points
    11. Reno 1868 (-4) – 43.39 points
    12. El Paso (+2) – 37.42 points
    13. Phoenix Rising (-1) – 36.58 points
    14. Tacoma Defiance (-4) – 34.87 points
    15. Austin Bold – 27.04 points
    16. Las Vegas Lights – 24.64 points
    17. San Antonio – 21.49 points
    18. Rio Grande Valley – 12.60 points

There was shockingly little movement here, primarily because the games turned out the ways the numbers would have expected them to (internal validity of the method once there’s enough data, hopefully). Even the unexpected-ish results didn’t affect things too significantly.

Weirdly… LA Galaxy II might be good? Despite a loss to San Antonio FC (not a good result!), the out-of-town scoreboard propped up their past games as impressive opposition, leaving them atop the West for the time being. I do think they’ll slip, but Los Dos is currently tracking to be a playoff team. Weird times indeed.

The big change was a massive drop for Tacoma Defiance after losing to Las Vegas Lights (and the formula doesn’t even know it was a 5-0 thrashing), which I think most would consider a return to form after they were artificially propped up for a week thanks to half the Seattle Sounders playing against Sacramento Republic. They seem to be more settling into their level with one outlier result (of course there have been and will be outlier results everywhere over the course of the year).

Orange County SC is slowly working its way back toward preseason expectations, and while they may not get to that lofty stature, certainly they’re proving not to be one of the worst teams in the West, as it looked for the first couple weeks. So too with Phoenix Rising, even though their first win of the season after four draws didn’t see them, uh, rise.

Given the greater number of games played in the West to date (53 to only 45 in the East), we’re about a week into the future here, but with only one mid-week game coming up, that will equalize a bit going forward.

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