The Comforts of Home in Major League Soccer

The Playoffs are in full swing and for some a shocker already as New England completely dominated Columbus – in Columbus!

Instead of some specific articles on Playoffs though; a different topic for your consideration — how teams, results and performance wise, competed against each other at Home versus on the Road.

Before digging into the details here’s how the CPWP Strategic Index looks at the End of the Season for 2014:

CPWP STRATEGIC INDEX END OF SEASON 2014 COMBINED

Like last year nine of the top ten teams in the Index made the Playoffs – but this year the Correlation (R2) is .85 as opposed to .77.

Now for the grist on Home and Away.

First up —> East meets West

Most should know but in case not – each season the teams swap venues – if last years’ game was at home, against one team, that single game is now played (away) in the other teams’ venue – and vice versa.

The average points per game of teams in the East, playing at home, against teams in the West was 1.58.

The average points per game for teams in the West, playing at home, against teams in the East was 1.93.

The sum of points earned by the East, at home, against the West was 71 points.

The sum of points earned by the West, at home, against the East was 87 points.

The average points per game of teams in the East, playing on the road, against teams in the West was .87.

The average points per game of teams in the West, playing on the road, against teams in the East was 1.04.

The sum of points earned by the East, on the road, against the West was 39 points.

The sum of points earned by the West, on the road, against the East was 47 points.

All total the East earned 110 points against the West.

All told the West earned 134 points against the East.

When it came to results, the measurement most feel comfortable with, Western Conference teams were better (24 points better) than Eastern Conference teams.  Regardless of the games being played at home or on the road.

So how about overall results, in general, remembering that even in each conference there is an unbalanced schedule where if you played one team at home twice last year you now played them on the road twice this year.

The home team won 151 times this year, had 89 draws, and 77 losses.

Home teams winning at home averaged 2.33 goals per game in those wins – while away teams winning away had to average 2.47 goals per game to win the game.

Home teams losing at home averaged .82 goals per game versus away teams losing away averaged .54 goals per game.  So even while losing, home teams still averaged nearly one goal per game.

Of the 77 games won by the away team this year only 15 were games won 1-nil.

When losing, (at anytime) the home team was only shut out 21 times, and when gaining a draw the home team was shutout just 18 times.  That’s just 39 times, out of 317 games played, where the home team was shut-out.

Meaning, on average, the home team scored at least one goal 88% of the time.

In addition, when adding up the percentages of winning (47%) and drawing (28%) – Home teams had a 75% chance of taking points in home games this year…

In other words – playing at home pretty much meant the home team started the game 1 – nil.

No doubt a whole Army of people will disagree with that (even I agree a team never starts the game 1-nil) but the percentages are compelling, if not at least somewhat intriguing.

Here’s my Composite PWP Strategic Index 2014 (End of Season) for  Teams On the Road:

CPWP STRATEGIC INDEX END OF SEASON 2014 ON THE ROAD

Not what you might say successful for most teams in MLS; five teams stood out in performing well as a team on the road.

Now here’s how that same Index looks for how teams performance at home:

CPWP STRATEGIC INDEX END OF SEASON 2014 HOME

A significant difference; not only in results but in team performance as well!

In Closing:

So it’s probably not surprising to see that playing a game at home quite readily feels like (and statistically supports) a better overall performance.

If you were to bet on Major League Soccer it would seem reasonable that every home team shown here, in the blue bars, would probably start with a +1 goal advantage for the bookies.

As the off-season continues I will peel back each team in MLS, excluding Chivas USA – no point – part of that team analysis will include their successes on the Road as well as at Home.

Best, Chris

You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp.com

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