MLS Meta Power Rankings – Week 10

Note: You can click on any graphic below to make it larger (and, hence, more readable).

Well there were some positive comments, and a few people read this last week so I decided to do it again.

I’ve compiled the power rankings from MLS, Soccer By Ives, Sporting News, Bleacher Report, ESPN, and OregonLive (I looked at adding Seattle Times, but they weren’t published yet).

Here are this weeks #’s. Again, there is the the averaging of all the rankings from the six sources as well as points scored during the past 5 games – both of these give an indication of how teams are performing. I’ve also compiled the average movement for each team, and then the standard deviation for movement and rank (a low standard deviation means the ‘experts’ are in agreement and, conversely, a higher standard deviation means they are pretty varied in their assessments).

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Clearly there is one thing that all the experts agree on – right now with an average ranking of 1.0 and a standard deviation of 0.00 (meaning everyone ranked them #1) Dallas is the best team in the league (everyone also agrees that RSL is your consensus #8, but how interesting is that?). Almost everyone agrees that D.C. United is the worst team in the league at this point – the lone wolf is our own GCA from OregonLive. He is the only person to not rank DC dead last.

As with last week, even though San Jose has scored fewer points over the past 5 games than all but 3 teams, they are still ranked 12th on average. While this is a bit befuddling, almost more confusing is how NYRB have racked up 12 points over 5 games (an MLS best), but are only ranked 6th (on average). Since I was able this week to input all the rankings from the 1st 10 weeks, I may go back and add a strength of schedule component to see if there is any insight there.

Looking a bit closer at NYRB. They had the highest standard deviation in terms of movement this week. But rather than being indicative of the ‘experts’ not being sure on how far to move them, it was really about Sporting News and Bleacher Report falling in line with what the other 4 ‘experts’ were already saying – with Bleacher report moving them from 11th to 6th and Sporting News moving them from 10th  to 7th week over week.  If you look at their rank standard deviation (0.55) it’s clear that it’s pretty universally agreed they are a solid #7 in this week’s ranking.

As far as teams that the experts don’t really agree on, we can go back to San Jose.  They are ranked as high as 9th by GCA at Oregon live, and as low as 15th by ESPN (with one 10th and 3 12th’s from the others). Clearly ESPN feels 4 points over 5 games is a good indicator whereas GCA (and MLS for that matter) don’t give it much credence.

However San Jose only has the 2nd highest disparity in rankings – the team with the largest standard deviation (and by quite a margin) is the Fishing Village to the North.  Again our man GCA can take a lot of credit for this – he has them ranked at #11, which is 2 spots above anyone else. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Soccer By Ives and Bleacher report who have them ranked at 17th (they also have a 13th, 14th, and 16th in there).

As an aside, if I get really bored I’m going to look at exactly how far out of whack GCA is with his rankings vs. the rest of the ‘experts’.

Finally, looking at his week’s winners and losers. Chivas dropped an average of four spots after getting trounced by SKC (SKC by contrast only gained 1.3 spots – which doesn’t surprise since the top is pretty darn crowded).

If you look at some draws the Union and Sounders remained largely stagnant after their 2-2 outing. In the case of Portland and New England, the revolution gained about the same number of spots (1.7) as the Timbers gave up (1.5) coming out of their draw.

This weeks big winner in terms of picking up spots were the Rapids, who gained 3 spots. I don’t think it was their 1-0 victory of Toronto (who are battling with D.C. United for the title of worst team in MLS at the moment) that caused this move. I think that picking up 10 points in 5 games, and having only lost 1 in the past six were the key factors in their ascension this week.

I’m going to close with chart and a spreadsheet that you wont’ be able to read very well. They show the average ranking of each team over the 1st 10 weeks. I’ll work to see if I can find a better way to present this data moving forward.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments or questions – post them below.

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3 Responses to MLS Meta Power Rankings – Week 10

  1. Adam Evang says:

    I thnk a #7 ranking for the NYRB is pretty fair. While they may be one of the league’s “hottest” clubs their PPG and total loses show what they are overall throughout the season as a whole, a club who took a while to come together, haven’t played consistenly except for recently when their competition has been less than stellar. Their lose total indicates they’re a middle of the pack team but their win total brings them up on the table but again they’ve played more matches than anymore else so they’ve got that extra chance @ 3 more points.

    • Mike Coleman says:

      I do think 7 is fair given who is in 1-6. But, your comment lends itself to a a bigger discussion on “what are power rankings”. When you talk about games played or PPG, then you’re (IMHO) out of the realm of power rankings. Power Rankings are not a proxy for standings. The reason I like points from past 5 games is that it works regardless of how many total games a team has played and it is not related to standings (the main drawback is you don’t know who those past 5 teams were or if they were home or away matches).

  2. Richard Hamje says:

    An idea for a visualization of the season-to-date data: You create four quadrants of ranks (ex: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-19) and then for each week only shows teams that moved out of their quadrant that week. Obviously week one would be blank (unless you had a preseason ranking thrown in). Eyeballing it, it seems like there would be 1-5 “movers” per week.

    This could then be visualized using a candle chart, with up/down arrows in the team’s colors. With fewer data points to show per week, and showing only the most significant changes, the chart might be easier to follow.

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