With Toronto FC winning the Voyageurs Cup yesterday after their victory over struggling Vancouver Whitecaps FC the CONCACAF Champions League 2011-2012 competition is finally set. While it has been known for sometime that the Seattle Sounders would face San Fransisco FC of Panama for some time (season ticket holders currently able to buy seats, public on July 6th), the full slate of teams let's us play with some math and figure out which MLS side has the most difficult road out of the Group Stage.
Using the coefficients from Soccermetrics we can estimate the strength of schedule. Last year using this method it showed that Seattle had the hardest road out of the Groups of any MLS team, and was in the Group of Death. There are a few tweaks to the methodology this year in order to improve things a bit. First, for any team that has no coefficient due to lack of entry in the last five seasons their national coefficient was used a place holder as an rough representation of their qualification over other teams from their league. Second, is the inclusion of strength of schedule if favorites advance past the Preliminary Round in every circumstance, because honest the FMF teams are going to advance. For teams in the Prelims their opposition in that round and the Groups are included, because they have to win to make the Groups.
Here's the MLS teams only. Note that the Sounders have the most difficult path by average of other prelims, but not by favorites advancing. If favorites advance they have the second toughest route after the Colorado Rapids who are in the same group as Santos Laguna and the Puerto Rico Islanders. The Los Angeles Galaxy have the easiest path as Morelia of Mexico has not appeared in the tourney yet, but if Morelia is an average FMF side in this tourney it is actually Toronto FC that has the easiest path by both measures. Group B is this year's Group of Death.
|MLS Team||Str of Schedule||If Favored|
After the break is all data by Group.
|Group A||Coeffecient||Str of Schedule||If Favored|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||15.500||36.488||47.863|
|Real Espana (HON)||17.813||74.026||106.963|
|Puerto Rico Islanders||36.375||76.339||93.776|
|San Fransisco FC||10.813||102.939||107.376|