Portland Timbers

Points in League Table vs Possession with Purpose Attacking Index – How close do they match?

For those who have followed my analyses this year you should be familiar with my Possession with Purpose research and my PWP Attacking Index.

In case you haven’t read any information on it before here’s a quick description… this Index was developed to quantify an empirical ranking system that leverages team performance indicators and other ratio’s developed from those indicators.  There is no ‘feeling or gut instinct’ in this Index.

As the season has ended I have also used those team performance indicators to develop my End of Season analyses for each team in the MLS.  Links are provided here for the teams I’ve already covered.

All 646 MLS games are captured in my database; the sources for that data include the OPTA Chalklboard and the MLS Statistic Match Reports.  Below are the final rankings in my Index.

Attacking Possession with Purpose Power Index 2013

Attacking Possession with Purpose Power Index 2013

Some thoughts/observations…  reading left to right (best to worst) higher number is better.

Eight out of the top ten teams in my PWP Attacking Index made the Playoffs.

The two teams in the top ten that didn’t make the Playoffs either had their Head Coach resign (FC Dallas) or had their Head Coach sacked (Vancouver).

Four out of the bottom six teams had their Head Coach sacked; (Chicago, Columbus, San Jose and Chivas); Chivas also had their second Head Coach step down while Ryan Nelson was newly appointed this year as Toronto have attempted to ‘build the plane while flying it’.

Only Olsen remained unscathed and DC United are in a massive turnaround mode where it is likely that if he fails to return to the Playoffs this year he will also get sacked…

The bottom four teams in my Index all scored fewer than 40 goals.

Only one team in the top ten of my Index (FC Dallas) allowed more than 50 Goals Against this season; might this explain why they missed the Playoffs?

Of the top ten teams in my Index only one of them had a negative Goal Differential; again, FC Dallas!  Perhaps this provides further evidence as to why they missed the Playoffs?

The three bottom teams in my Index were also the same three teams with the fewest points in the League Tables.

In closing…  answering the initial question – how close do they match? 

It appears that the Attacking Index did a pretty good job of matching how the teams finished in the league standings.

Even without defensive data the Index comes very close to matching the final league standings.

For now I’d even venture that this Index might provide a useful Predictive Model for next season; perhaps others have a different view?

By the way – after 17 games in the MLS Regular Season last year the top ten teams for the PWP Attacking Index were:

  1. Portland 2.53
  2. Montreal 2.47
  3. FC Dallas 2.46
  4. Real Salt Lake 2.44
  5. Philadelphia 2.43
  6. Sporting KC 2.37
  7. LA Galaxy 2.37
  8. New York 2.37
  9. Columbus 2.32
  10. Colorado 2.32

Given those results at the mid-point only three teams (FC Dallas, Philadelphia and Columbus) were teams that didn’t make the playoffs – that looks like a 70% accuracy rating in predicting what teams would finish in the Playoff race – I wonder what those odds were last year for folks who bet on soccer?

Next up – An update to my Dispossession with Purpose Defending Index as well as my continuing team performance analysis series.

You can follow me https://twitter.com/ChrisGluckPTFC

All for now and Happy New Year!

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012 and occasionally write for Soccer Yanks. A recent highlight in my short time as an MLS Analyst was being invited to present my Possession with Purpose MLS Soccer Analysis at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. With the increased visibility of my work I have created a new Domain at www.possessionwithpurpose.com. My background in soccer started in the United Kingdom, where, as an American, I was the General Manager and President of an English Youth Football Club just outside of Thetford, England. (Barnham Bulldogs FC). I also served as a head coach for U-11/12's, and obtained my English FA Youth License Certification through Norwich City FC. Upon returning to the U.S., I was an Assistant Coach and eventually a Head Coach within the Ajax Youth Football Club organization, Kent Washington. I have recently started a small business ...Possession with Purpose (Soccer Analysis & consulting) and I retain COPYRIGHT on The Possession With Purpose ideas and research published on these sites.