You saw the Nashville SC 2021 schedule, now let’s dig into it a little bit, beginning with the power ratings…
As a reminder, these are the teams’ values better or worse than the average MLS team – for reference, the average game is won 1.60-1.19 by the home team. You can see the full final 2020 MLS power ratings here. I consider xG Power to be the more replicable and forward-thinking number, though G Power is strong with a backward-looking lens.
|DATE||OPPONENT||xG Power||G Power|
|Saturday, Apr 17||FC Cincinnati||-0.34||-1.04|
|Saturday, Apr 24||CF Montreal||-0.11||+0.21|
|Sunday, May 2||Inter Miami CF||+0.35||-0.38|
|Saturday, May 8||New England Revolution||+0.12||+0.65|
|Saturday, May 15||@ Real Salt Lake||-0.27||-0.76|
|Sunday, May 23||Austin FC||N/A||N/A|
|Saturday, May 29||@ Atlanta United FC||-0.65||-0.74|
|Saturday, June 19||@ New York Red Bulls||-0.44||-0.16|
|Wednesday, June 23||Toronto FC||+0.18||-0.21|
|Saturday, June 26||CF Montreal||-0.11||+0.21|
|Monday, July 5||Philadelphia Union||+0.31||+0.51|
|Thursday, July 8||Atlanta United FC||+0.17||+0.11|
|Saturday, July 17||Chicago Fire FC||-0.24||-0.20|
|Wednesday, July 21||@ Columbus Crew SC||+0.31||+1.14(!)|
|Saturday, July 24||FC Cincinnati||-0.34||-1.04|
|Sunday, Aug. 1||@ Toronto FC||+0.06||+0.20|
|Wednesday, Aug. 4||@ New England Revolution||+0.99||+0.26|
|Sunday, Aug. 8||@ Inter Miami CF||+0.20||-0.37|
|Sunday, Aug 15||D.C. United||-0.63||-0.12|
|Wednesday, Aug. 18||Orlando City SC||+0.68||+0.59|
|Saturday, Aug 28||@ Atlanta United FC||-0.65||-0.74|
|Saturday, Sept. 4||New York City FC||+0.26||+0.65|
|Sunday, Sept. 12||@ CF Montreal||-0.73||-0.51|
|Saturday, Sept. 18||@ Toronto FC||+0.06||+0.20|
|Wednesday, Sept. 22||@ Inter Miami CF||+0.20||-0.37|
|Sunday, Sept. 26||@ Chicago Fire FC||-0.24||-0.20|
|Wednesday, Sept. 29||Orlando City SC||+0.68||+0.59|
|Sunday, Oct. 3||@ New York City FC||+0.46||+0.39|
|Saturday, Oct. 16||@ D.C. United||-0.91||-0.85|
|Wednesday, Oct. 20||Columbus Crew SC||-0.32||-0.11|
|Saturday, Oct. 23||@ Philadelphia Union||+0.69||+1.14|
|Wednesday, Oct. 27||@ FC Cincinnati||-1.05||-0.66|
|Sunday, Oct. 31||@ Orlando City SC||-0.11||+0.21|
|Sunday, Nov. 7||New York Red Bulls||-0.25||+0.24|
Zero is average there, positive numbers mean a team is better than average (adjusted for location), and negatives mean that team is below average (again, adjusted for location).
So…. average those all up and Nashville’s opponents were -0.07 in xG terms, and -0.05 in actual goal terms over the course of last season. Probably not the easiest schedule out there, but certainly easier than the average schedule. When you take into account that Atlanta United was one of the worst home teams in the league, getting them twice in Mercedes-Benz looks good. I would also imagine that a packed-out Mercedes-Benz is a totally different equation than last year’s situation in the A.
Unbalancing the opposition
My apologies for the crappy Gregg Berhalter reference.
Let’s take a look at how many times Nashville plays each opponent, as well:
|Inter Miami CF||1||2|
|New England Revolution||1||1|
|New York City FC||1||1|
|New York Red Bulls||1||1|
|Real Salt Lake||0||1|
The only Western Conference teams are expansion Austin FC (home) and Real Salt Lake (away). To be honest, I’d much rather have six more Western Conference teams on the schedule than a handful of East opponents on it a third time, but from a pragmatic perspective, I guess I get it.
We’ll just have to wait another year before seeing Nashville play any of Colorado Rapids, LAFC, LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes (Wondo 😔), Seattle Sounders, or Vancouver Whitecaps for the very first time in MLS play. On the bright side, finally facing intra-conference opposition for the first time – Cincinnati, both New York teams, Philly, and Toronto (in a regular-season game) – will be refreshing.
Nashville SC’s home/away splits will come in runs: beginning with four straight at home, then a month and a half with only one home game (also: only four total games), another run of five straight at home, then a slightly more-normal split before nine of the final 12 come on the road. Some of that is the nature of sharing a stadium with an NFL team – The Shield rules the roost come Fall – some of it is simple bad luck.
Still, this NSC team is going to have the opportunity – or burden – to rack up some nice runs of home results to build momentum for perilous road swings (or to get a buffer for the times when those road swings are difficult).