Week 24 MLS Power Rankings: Revs finally on top

Another packed week of MLS action sees the New England Revolution finally take over the top spot in the rankings, beating narrowly beating out NYCFC and Nashville.

How the rankings work

These power rankings aren’t a subjective result of one person’s opinion, but use a stats-based model for each team to get a more in-depth look at where clubs actually stand. The model weighs points per game and strength of schedule most heavily, with goal difference and expected goal difference weighted incrementally less. This is an attempt to show not just how teams have done in the table, but how they’ve played on the field. If you’re interested in the methodology, the full model can be viewed here.

These power rankings aren’t an attempt to predict the final table, just to provide readers with a different angle from which to judge teams. A helpful way to think of it is if a team is significantly higher in the rankings than they are in the table, they’re probably underperforming. If they’re significantly lower in the rankings than in the table, they’re overperforming.

Week 24 Power Rankings

  1. New England Revolution (↑1)
  2. NYCFC (↓1)
  3. Nashville SC (↓1)
  4. Seattle Sounders (-)
  5. Sporting KC (-)
  6. Colorado Rapids (-)
  7. LA Galaxy (-)
  8. DC United (-)
  9. Minnesota United (-)
  10. Philadelphia Union (↑1)
  11. Orlando City SC (↓1)
  12. LAFC (↑1)
  13. Real Salt Lake (↓1)
  14. CF Montréal (-)
  15. Atlanta United (↑2)
  16. FC Dallas (↓1)
  17. New York Red Bulls (↓1)
  18. Vancouver Whitecaps (-)
  19. Portland Timbers (↑1)
  20. San Jose Earthquakes (↓1)
  21. Columbus Crew (-)
  22. Inter Miami CF (↑1)
  23. Houston Dynamo (↑2)
  24. Chicago Fire (↓2)
  25. Austin FC (↓1)
  26. FC Cincinnati (-)
  27. Toronto FC (-)

For the first time this season, New England Revolution take the top spot in the rankings, coming from behind to beat NYCFC 2-1 at home. Their 9.60 score is the highest mark this season.

Nashville SC drop a spot, although their overall score actually increased. This was largely because of the tie for second place last week; New England jumped into first place, breaking the tie. NYCFC’s score dropped, but they had enough of a cushion that they hold onto second place. With Nashville’s 1-0 win over CF Montréal, they’re within 0.04 points of NYCFC.

Philadelphia Union didn’t play this week, but they break into the top 10, thanks to a 3-0 loss from Orlando City, who were thoroughly outplayed by Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

LAFC and Real Salt Lake trade places in 12th and 13th place, respectively, following a 2-1 Los Angeles win last night. LAFC have been one of the unluckiest sides this season in terms of finishing, while RSL have overperformed more than anyone in front of goal. This bodes well for Bob Bradley’s side down the stretch; not so much for Salt Lake.

At the bottom, Toronto FC are still in last place, but they continue to drop. Their -0.27 score is the first negative mark since Week 5, and they look completely lost on the field. They’re still technically alive in the playoff race, but could find themselves the first side to be eliminated in as few as five matches. It doesn’t get easier for them this week; they’ll play Inter Miami on Wednesday, who haven’t lost in five matches (including a 3-1 win over Toronto) and Nashville, who have won back-to-back games on the road.

Projected standings

These projections are created by taking each sides home and away form and factoring them out across their remaining matches.

These projections will change significantly over the course of the season as teams get larger sample sizes at home and on the road. And they’re not a concrete attempt to predict the final table, but rather to show each team’s trajectory based on current form.

We’re getting close to being able to incorporate the elimination line, which will show how close teams are to going out of playoff contention. Look for that in the next three or four weeks.

Nashville SC’s win over Montréal, as well as losses from Orlando and NYCFC, move them up into second place in the projections. They’ve been excellent at home all season, but their two wins on the road have significantly boosted their remaining away point projections. Before their win in Atlanta, they averaged just 0.71 PPG on the road. Now, they’re up to 1.22. Like I said in Week 21:

The real issue is their road form, which has been talked about ad nauseam this season. They’re averaging 0.71 points per game on the road, which is why they’re so low in the projections. Taking just seven points from their remaining 10 away games would be a disaster. One or two wins certainly isn’t unrealistic, and would drastically improve their total.

Out west, a draw from Colorado Rapids and a win from Seattle Sounders has Seattle back on top of the conference. Portland Timbers have somehow hung onto a playoff spot despite some really rough patches, while Vancouver Whitecaps have snuck up to within two points of a playoff spot, beating out both LAFC and FC Dallas for an eighth place finish.

Both conferences are really, really tight towards the final playoff spot. The last 11 weeks of the season will be absolutely fascinating.

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