FanPost

latest PPM/extrapolated standings

I decided to run with a 20-game extrapolation (instead of 19) per a request from Dave. I included the 30-game extrapolation just for grins, with the caveat that I'm not a fan of extrapolating out that far (more on this later)

team points matches GD PPM 20 game 30 game
LAG 40 19 18 2.105 42.105 63.158
RSL 34 18 18 1.889 37.778 56.667
CC 34 18 10 1.889 37.778 56.667
FCD 27 17 6 1.588 31.765 47.647
NYRB 27 17 -1 1.588 31.765 47.647
SJE 23 16 1 1.438 28.750 43.125
CR 24 17 2 1.412 28.235 42.353
TFC 23 17 0 1.353 27.059 40.588
CF 20 15 0 1.333 26.667 40.000
SSFC 25 19 -4 1.316 26.316 39.474
HD 20 18 -5 1.111 22.222 33.333
KCW 19 17 -6 1.118 22.353 33.529
CUSA 18 17 -2 1.059 21.176 31.765
PU 15 15 -8 1.000 20.000 30.000
NER 15 16 -11 0.938 18.750 28.125
DCU 12 18 -19 0.667 13.333 20.000

If you remember a few weeks ago I got into a little debate about the Sounders' chances at the playoffs. In the aftermath of the 4th of July loss to the Galaxy, when the Sounders were sitting at 15 points through 15 matches, I said that we needed to see at least 23 points by the end of the month before we could even Begin to discuss playoffs. Well, mission accomplished, plus some, but unfortunately, one look at the table above shows that 10 points over 4 matches - the hottest stretch in MLS over that time - still leaves us "out of the playoffs" based on PPM.

What we have accomplished, however, is we have Significantly closed the gaps to the teams immediately ahead of us. If anything, we have decidedly jumped a layer in the MLS strata (more on this later), from "out" to "in contention" which may not seem like much at first, but when you think back to how deep a hole we were in on July 5th, its certainly worth regarding.

I posted a comment to the PPM standings posted back on July 18th in which I laid out how much the Sounders could improve their league positioning if they beat Colorado, San Jose, and Houston. Lets go into the wayback machine and revisit some of those numbers:

SJE 47.1
CR 46
TFC 44
CF 36.4
HD 35.6
SSFC 33.5

this was the 30-game extrapolation based on the July 18th PPM standings, places 6-11 (this was before I settled on the idea I had last week to just extrapolate to the most games played in the League table). All you need to do is compare this to the League table above to see just where we have come in the last 2 matches. Yeah, we've only climbed 1 place, but a gap that was once nearly 14 points to #6 is now less than 4!

Now, about this "strata" idea. I come from a point of view that linear rankings (like in college football) don't make much sense, since the distribution of quality amongst teams in a league or group rarely follow that neat linear pattern (this being one of MANY problems with the college football system). In this case, I like to "stratify" the teams into layers. Granted, there will still be an arbitrary delineation between the layers, but looking at it like this gives a better view. In that light, here are my "strata" for the MLS currently:

Supporter Shield contenders: 1) Galaxy, 2a) RSL, 2b) Crew

knocking on the door: 4a) Dallas, 4b) NYRB note: Dallas hasn't lost in 8 league matches, 4 wins 4 draws in that stretch!

playoff contenders: 6) San Jose. 7) Rapids, 8) Toronto, 9) Chicago, 10) Seattle

outside looking in: 11) Houston, 12) Wizards, 13) Chivas, 14) Philly, 15) Revs

forget about it: 16) DCU

It really speaks to the parity of this league that only 1 team is truly out of it, DC. N.E. and Philly have a bit of a climb and are only marginally in a group with Houston , but I also just wanted to keep this to 5 layers, breaking along obvious gaps in the extrapolated numbers.

Having said all that, I have one last little bit to share. It's turned into "dork central" a bit around here the last few days, and of course i have my contribution. I have decided to add a few columns to the PPM/extrapolated table. I started by looking at how many points each team had earned in their last 4 matches (I chose 4 as a compromise between 3, a number I felt better indicated the "trend" a team was on, and 5, a larger sample set but I felt like 5 matches ago is a veritable eternity). I then determined how much those last 4 matches affected a teams PPM. In the case of LA, , 4 matches ago they stood at 36 points through 15 played, good for 2.4 PPM; they currently sit at 40 points through 19 played, good for 2.105 PPM. This means that the last 4 matches have brought their PPM down by -0.295, worst in MLS over that stretch. In the case of the Sounders, their 10 points in 4 matches has increased their PPM by 0.316, best in the MLS over that stretch:

team last 4 trend trend 30
LAG 4 -0.295 59.916
RSL 7 -0.040 56.190
CC 6 -0.111 55.333
FCD 6 -0.027 47.294
NYRB 3 -0.258 44.294
SJE 5 -0.063 42.250
CR 2 -0.281 38.706
TFC 4 -0.109 39.176
CF 6 0.061 40.909
SSFC 10 0.316 42.947
HD 3 -0.103 32.095
KCW 7 0.195 36.059
CUSA 8 0.290 35.529
PU 5 0.091 31.364
NER 4 0.021 28.417
DCU 1 -0.119 18.571

the last column merely attempts to extrapolate the current trend out to 30 games by adjusting the "normal" 30-game PPM extrapolation (in the first table above). Its certainly not a panacea, and I'm not sure of the way I'm calculating it even myself, but in the spirit if what we've seen the last couple of days, I just thought I'd put in my 2 cents!

This "trend" number certainly sheds more light on my "strata" idea, although we all know fortunes can change in the blink of an eye. I would say that trends of between -0.1 and +0.1 aren't necessarily very significant, since only taking 4 matches introduces "noise" to the system, and renders too much importance on the last match played. However, there are some certain things to notice, such as Chivas (+.290) Colorado (-.281) NYRB (-.258) and the aforementioned Galaxy and Sounders.

FanPosts only represent the opinions of the poster, not of Sounder at Heart.