Thursday, April 22, 2010

MLS Power Rankings: LA, CLB, KC on Top - DC, Toronto, Philly at Rock Bottom

By M.J.D
We've thoroughly tweaked the metric, and at this early stage, LA and the Crew are outpacing the rest of the league.  The Crew's numbers are obviously suspect, as they've only played two games.  But we think the rankings of the teams with 4 games played are fairly solid, which is only to say that our rankings accurately reflect how well, or how poorly, they've been playing over the season thus far, and not necessarily their potential.

Given all the work we've done over the last year on both the MLS and the EPL, we've added a column to our rankings (P Pts) that projects the number of points a team is on pace to accrue by the end of the year.  The key is that the projection is a hypothetical: "If LA continues to play they way they've been playing thus far [that is, they play this well for all 30 games, which is an abject impossibility], they are on pace to earn 68 points by season's end."  Obviously, it's not possible for D.C. to earn a negative 2 points, but that's how poorly they've performed thus far.  Wow.  They truly stink.

Other things worth mentioning include the fact that the infamous MLS parity is not as apparent early on.  The bottom six teams in the league look to be considerably weaker than the top six.  Could the MLS table finally be starting to look like other tables across the globe?  We'll have to wait and see.  But our rankings do suggest that at this early stage, both the league standings and a comparison of teams by points earned alone, do not reveal the real differences among the teams in the league.  Finally, if Philly, Toronto and DC don't turn it around soon, and continue to drop points for another 4 games, over 25% of the season will have elapsed and their respective playoff aspirations will almost certainly be over.  In any league, you have to establish a decent rate of point production per game, or else the hole you'll dig for yourself will be very difficult to climb out of.  Of course, in the MLS you can always stink it up and then get rewarded with the eighth playoff spot and THEN try and play like a champion.  But I digress. . .

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