After Week 4, Nashville gains ground in Points Off Playoff Pace model

After a frustrating start to the season, Nashville SC turned in a complete performance to secure all three points against New England. The Revs came into the match sitting atop of the Eastern Conference and figure to remain a key player in playoff race throughout the campaign. On the traditional table, Nashville has moved up to 5th place in the Eastern Conference. In my Points Off Playoff Pace model, Nashville sees a slight improvement from last week gaining one extra point towards the playoff target line. 

Explaining Points Off Playoff Pace

For those unfamiliar, the Points Off Playoff Pace (“POPP”) table is a set of standings that I created that aims to show how a club is progressing towards earning a playoff spot. 

The basic premise that underlies the POPP table is that the target line for making the MLS playoffs is 50 points. In any typical year, 50 points is enough to safely secure a playoff berth. 

On average, MLS teams earn roughly 1.85 points per home match and 0.93 point per road game. Rounded up, it comes to 2 points / 1 point. Hitting this target of 2 points per home game and 1 point per away game would yield 51 points in a 34-game season, one point clear of the playoff target line. 

With Saturday’s win over New England, Nashville improved to only two points behind the 51-point pace and 9th place in the Eastern Conference POPP standings. While still behind the pace due to the early season draws, the narrative around the start of the season significantly improves with the win.

Nashville’s opening season home stand has concluded, and the Boys in Gold will make their first road trip of the year as they head to Real Salt Lake for a Saturday night matchup. If they pick up a coveted road “W”, it will instantly erase the dropped home points and put Nashville back on pace for another playoff berth.

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