Nashville SC

USL Power Ratings and play-in round computer picks: Oct. 23, 2019

So I would have loved to get this up on a Monday like usual, but I’ve been without a computer for a week, which makes it very difficult to do. I’ve hacked together a less visually appealing version just to get something put together, but hopefully the lesson “take your computer to the Apple Store, rather than an authorized retailer” is one that stops biting me in the ass soon.

Pure power

This is the “team strength” rather than “projected table” metric. It looks at scores only (not result), normalizes offensive and defensive performance to the opponents’ averages, and tallies them all up. High numbers for offense are good, defense bad, and home-field advantage is simply the difference between gamescores home and away.

Not a ton changed here – as you might expect for a week in which teams’ resumes changed by only 1/34 (or 2/34) of the total, whereas previous weeks had smaller denominators.

Orange County was a big riser, Reno was the biggest riser near the top of the chart, and the majority of multi-position changes were about teams jockeying with others close to them, rather than super-meaningful changes to the Pure Power rating itself.

I’ll be honest, not trying to crank out a ton of prose on an iPad here: you can draw your own conclusions about most of these.

Above and below the curve

Since there’s no need to project a final table – we are now from the future and have access to said final table – let’s instead take final point totals, compare them with the above Pure Power numbers, and see who over- and under-achieved heir point totals based on team strength.

I’ve done this a couple times on Twitter (with prettier computer enabled formatting), but with the projected table. Those typically showed a really strong correlation, and there’s a slight drop in correlation only because teams’ schedules aren’t exactly level (because they couldn’t play themselves, tea,s at the top were slightly easier, while teams at the bottom tougher). It’s still fairly tight.

Atlanta United 2 and Birmingham Legion were the big overachievers, while Tampa and Saint Louis underachieved in comparison to team quality. The latter of each of those pairs is obviously the most relevant situation here, because it saw the Legion into the playoffs while STLFC misses out.

The difference is largely explained by getting blown out: those count for the same 0 points in the table, while a 1-0 loss and a 4-0 loss (to Hartford!) look very different to a margin-award system. Birmingham got blown out a few times, including 4-FREAKING -NIL TO HARTFORD WITH THE PLAYOFFS ON THE LINE. Fortunately for them, Saint Louis got a trademark 1-0 loss to help them back into the postseason.

The tight bunch in the middle never really resolved itself, and instead the cutoff simply happened where it happened, and teams really close to each other in quality saw their homies miss out (or make it while they themselves missed out). Tacoma overachieved thanks to a few results to close the year, while Phoenix (who simply couldn’t have had been good enough game-to-game – even though they were incredibly good – to live up the #thestreak) was above the line, too.

Big underachievers were Portland, Sacramento, and San Antonio. T2 was mostly poor throughout, but Sacramento has a play-in game despite being the sixth-best team in the West, while San Antonio misses on the postseason entirely despite being the seventh-best. Hard times.

Tonight’s games

Not gonna write a ton here, again because of the iPad situation. However, the computer sez:

  • North Carolina FC 2.85, Birmingham Legion 0.92
  • Ottawa Fury 1.32, Charleston Battery 0.68
  • Austin Bold 2.14, LA Galaxy II 1.44
  • Sacramento Republic 1.82, New Mexico United 1.36

Ok, one comment: I’m surprised the Sacramento-New Mexico score is that close (closest of the round), given how high the computer is on the Republic. They’re worse at home, while NMU is better on the road, but still.

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