mls Nashville SC

MLS Power Ratings: Oct. 8, 2020

Since the game weeks are coming fast and furious – we’re midweek/weekend basically through Decision Day by now – I haven’t published ratings after each gameweek (though I’ve updated weekly).

Methodology reminder: teams’ ratings are the average of their gamescores. The gamescores are their offensive and defensive performances normalized for the opposition. (Long story short: your résumé is the average of what you’ve done in each game, and “what you’ve done in each game” is adjusted for strength of opponent and home/away status). xG and goals data from American Soccer Analysis. Feel free to drop me a line on social media if you want the nitty-gritty.

Without further ado:

The xG ratings are largely more predictive going forward, whereas goals (“G”) ratings are descriptive looking backward.

The midweek was kind to New England, San Jose, New York Red Bulls, and Portland in xG terms, even though the soccer gods frowned upon the Revs (lost a 1-0 game to Toronto FC in which they won the xG battle 2.17-1.15) and NYRB (lost 2-1 to Inter Miami despite a 1.87-0.94 xG advantage). It was less kind to Philly – largely because of the out-of-town scoreboard, though “only” leading Cincy 1.13-0.58 in xG terms in a 3-0 win is… not gonna bug the Union faithful – Minnesota United, and Nashville.

That last game is an interesting case study. While keeping in mind that the out-of-town scoreboard is also important (Nashville had only dropped one spot by Wednesday morning, when this was the only game played in Week 16, and three more after last night’s results), neither side was improved in the eyes of the spreadsheet by a scoreless draw that Minnesota led 1.85-1.58 in expected goals. IT’s worth noting that Opta’s model was a little kinder to Nashville (1.59-1.35 in xG) than ASA‘s.

Moving along… in luck terms, Philly, Montreal, and Dallas basically lap the field in the difference between their actual outcomes and expected, while LAFC and Chicago both remain pretty unlucky. Philly is far and away the best team in the league if you look at goals, rather than expected goals.

FC Cincinnati, Vancouver, and DC are all awful, though Cincy less so in expected goal terms, they’ve just been unlucky (whereas the other two are actually outperforming their expected goals and still having a rough go).

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