The end of the season approaches, and while the news that the Western Conference won’t try to fit in a full schedule alters things (despite sorta being expected round-about the time Colorado Rapids saw their fifth game postponed/canceled), the power ratings soldier on. The latest:
The Boert Index now includes a bit more color, because it is more fun this way.
Seattle remains the top-performing team in the league, with the shrug emoji indicating a lack of worry about the fact that it’s been a pretty unlucky year for the Sounders. It’s a little less rosy for a team in a similar circumstance, given that New England’s poor luck sees the Revs go from elite in xG terms to mediocre-plus in actual results.
The flipside of that – near the top of the table, at least – is Philadelphia, which has been good-not-great, but the horseshoe (or magnets, because a horseshoe emoji evidently doesn’t exist?) up its collective butt has seen the Union excel. The big slide for Red Bulls from the rankings after the weekend is largely due to correcting a data-entry error, but it in part demonstrates that New York was lucky to get a win over the Revs despite losing the xG battle.
Locally, Nashville SC remains middle-of-the-pack, and slightly overachieve-y. This is in part because their recent run has seen opponents (e.g. Houston and Dallas) pile up xG late in games that they had no chance to win. It is also because NSC games tend to be low-volume in xG overall, so each goal (or lack thereof) has an outsized impact on how the final outcome relates to what the xG numbers expect.
The rootin’ guide will wait until after the NSC/Chicago game, because your desires for Sunday’s outcomes will be affected by what happens tomorrow evening. However, we can take a look at the bigger picture right now. Nashville has a reasonably narrow range of potential finishes in the table (third through 10th). That’s the difference between a second-round home game in the playoffs and a play-in game on the road.
All told, of the 17 remaining games in the Eastern Conference – including a couple cross-conference matchups – 14 of them can have some sort of impact on Nashville SC’s seeding. Tomorrow evening’s game is one of those 14, and depending on its outcome, it will render some others irrelevant, too:
|Date/result||Ahead of (low finish)||Behind (high finish)||Games no longer relevant|
|Today||CIN, ATL, DC, MIA (10th)||PHI, TOR (third)||ATLvCIN, TORvMIA, MIAvCIN|
|WIN||CIN, ATL, DC, MIA, CHI, MTL (8th)||PHI, TOR (third)||+ MINvCHI, DCvMTL|
|DRAW||CIN, ATL, DC, MIA, CHI (9th)||PHI, TOR, CLB (fourth)||+ CLBvPHI, MINvCHI, CLBvATL|
|LOSS||CIN, ATL, DC, MIA (10th)||PHI, TOR, CLB, ORL (fifth)||+ CLBvPHI, ORLvCLB, CLBvATL|
Obviously, the goal is to be locked ahead of as many teams as possible, and behind as few of them as possible. A win goes a long way toward helping those goals, but enough of the season is out of Nashville’s hands that the team only controls its destiny as far as remaining sixth in the table.
Barely over a week remains in the regular season, but a lot of soccer to fit into that timeframe.