Friday, September 9, 2011

Return of the Blog

The blog has been on hiatus for the past month.  Life got hectic for a while.  We now have a baby on the way, work's been keeping me quite busy lately and we have an upcoming vacation to Ireland so posts will be somewhat sparse.  I have also been thinking about the content of the blog and plan on shifting my focus towards player stats and less on team stats and modeling.  I plan on covering the Premier League and La Liga but will need a few more matches before I can publish any meaningful data.  So please stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MLS Week 21 Recap

Had a so-so week with my predictions as you can see below:

Predicted Score
Actual Score
Colorado 1Columbus 1Colorado 2Columbus 0-10
D.C. United 2Toronto FC 1D.C. United 3Toronto FC 3-10
New England 1Chivas USA 2New  England 2Chivas USA 3 15
Philadelphia 1Houston 0Philadelphia 1Houston 1-10
Kansas City 1Seattle 1Kansas City 1Seattle 2-10
Real Salt Lake 2New York 1Real Salt Lake 3New York 0 10
Los Angeles 1FC Dallas 0Los Angeles 3FC Dallas 1 10
San Jose 2Portland 1San Jose 1Portland 1-10
Vancouver 1Chicago 1Vancouver 4Chicago 2-10
Total -25

My accuracy was 3 for 9 on the outcomes and I did not predict any scores correctly.  My outcome accuracy is now 39.6% for the season.  Let's see how the new SRS ratings look:

Real Salt Lake0.667-0.0080.659-0.011
Los Angeles0.600-0.0430.557-0.096
FC Dallas0.2920.0150.307-0.067
New York0.1670.0200.186-0.107
Chivas USA0.174-0.0180.1560.010
Kansas City0.087-0.0650.0220.102
D.C. United-0.190-0.010-0.201-0.057
San Jose-0.2170.009-0.209-0.024
New England-0.4780.041-0.438-0.017
Toronto FC-0.880-0.011-0.8910.029

Both Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles won one and lost one last week.  However, LA's loss to Portland hurt their SRS rating more than RSL's loss to Columbus due to Portland being the weaker team.  Conversely, Portland's victory over LA allowed them to register the biggest gain in the ratings.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Thoughts on the MLS League Structure

A tough weekend for the Eastern Conference with none of their teams winning.  There is now a definite imbalance between the East and West.  Columbus leads the East with only 34 points.  This point total would be good for only 6th place in the Western conference.  I'm now questioning why the MLS is split into conferences.  The geographic alignment of "East" and "West" should encourage rivalries between conference foes, but since every team plays every other team in the league twice, teams actually play more games against the other conference (18) than against their own conference (16).  Based on the way that teams are seeded in the current playoff structure the MLS Cup will likely feature a matchup of the best team in the league (LA) against the 5th or 6th-best team (whoever comes out of the East).  This is not the marquee matchup that the league needs to generate buzz for the Cup final. 

If the league goes to a single table structure, which every other major soccer league in the world plays, they can seed the playoff teams 1 - 10 strictly on record and increase the likelihood that the two best teams in the league will meet in the MLS Cup final.  It will make the regular season more meaningful because teams will be seeded based on their performance rather than conference alignment.  For example, Colorado currently has the fourth best record in the league.  In a single-table league they would be seeded fourth.  In the current structure, although they have the 4th-best record, the three teams ahead of them are in their conference.  So Colorado has to step aside while the league allocates the next three spots to the top teams from the East, which all have a worse record than Colorado.  So the 4th-best team is relegated to a wild-card slot and has to play an extra-match while the weaker teams from the other conference get a bye.  This is certainly not fair.

With the Montreal joining the league next season, the MLS has a golden opportunity to change their league structure.  Going to a single table will, in my opinion, be better for the league.  Regular season games will be more meaningful because teams will know exactly what they need to do to finish in the top 10.  The playoffs will become more meaningful because we will have matchups based on performance rather than conference alignment.  This will lead to better matchups in the MLS Cup final which should generate more buzz for this championship.

Friday, August 5, 2011

MLS Week 21 Weekend Predictions

We have a full slate of games this weekend.  Here are my predictions:

Predicted Score
Colorado 1Columbus1
D.C.  United 2Toronto FC1
New England 1Chivas USA2
Philadelphia 1Houston0
Kansas City 1Seattle1
Real Salt Lake 2New York1
Los Angeles 1FC Dallas0
San Jose 2Portland1
Vancouver 1Chicago1

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

MLS Week 21 Mid-week Predictions

Even though last weekend's predictions bombed I'm staying in the game.  For July I finished with an accuracy rate of 42.2% which raised my season average to 40.8%.  Let's see how we do in August.  We'll be kicking off the month with four three matches tonight.  Here are my predictions:

Predicted Score
Kansas City1Real Salt Lake1
Portland0Los Angeles1

MLS Season Projection Week 20

After a weekend full of upsets we have quite a shake-up in the season projection.  Here are the projected standings based on results through week 20:

3New York341116754421249
4D.C. United34101684649-346
5Kansas City3481974541443
8New England34415153045-1527
9Toronto FC34313183060-3022
1Los Angeles341814247252268
2Real Salt Lake341614445252062
3FC Dallas341612643301360
6Chivas USA3491694238443
7San Jose34615133847-933

Los Angeles moves ahead of RSL for the Western Conference title and best record in the league.  In the East, Columbus is now projected to finish 2nd with D.C. United moving up to 4th and Kansas City dropping out of the top three into 5th.  I'm now projecting United to make the playoffs as a wild card along with KC.  The MLS Cup final will be Los Angeles vs Philadelphia.  Since it will be played at the Home Depot Center, it will effectively be a home game for the Galaxy so I project them to win the Cup.