There is an adage in soccer that you should at least win at home and tie on the road. If any MLS team did that the entire season, they would have won the Supporters Shield any of the last 4 years. They also would have gone undefeated, which would be pretty amazing.
While this goal comes across as a bit complacent for away teams, I've written before about how in MLS, the road is tough. Long travel times will always dog this league, and will actually get worse for many teams when the new Southeastern contingent arrives over the next few years. Maybe a tie's not so bad?
So let's see how everyone's doing. I'm co-opting this idea from plenty of journalists, one of whom is Grant Wahl. I think I first saw him post how the CONCACAF teams were doing in the Hex, and I dug it. To evaluate a club's performance on the metric, you award points like this:
So periodically, we'll look at how teams are doing with respect to this old WAGs tale. Here's the East and West tables so far:
|Real Salt Lake||0|
|San Jose Earthquakes||-9|
Seattle and RSL at the top, just like in the regular standings. Seattle has 3 away wins, and RSL has 2 wins and 3 ties. These are the last 2 teams undefeated on the road.
|New England Revolution||-1|
|New York Red Bulls||-4|
Other than New England, this table is much different than the current Eastern Conference standings. Hmmm. The Crew's trip to Houston on Wednesday may help to shake this out a bit.
|If "Home Team" were in MLS, their projected points:||55|
|If "Away Team" were in MLS, their projected points||37|
|Top 11 scores all have away wins, bottom 8 don't||whoa, cool|
At first glance, it seems like the strongest factor is away wins. Not much else to conclude yet; it's too early. Actually, it's also too late... I need to wrap this up and get some sleep.
The whole point of even checking these tables out would be to see if they help predict which teams are secretly better than their record. Since MLS' standings often compare teams with vastly different numbers of games played, they're often worthless. Often. So maybe this will help shed some light. Or at least be conversation fodder; something you can throw over the wall as a reason why people need to watch out for your dark horse team.