Gavin Wilkinson famously set a target of 45 points upon becoming the Portland Timbers' Interim Head Coach, saying it was
a reasonable expectation an attainable goal for the rest of the season.
Two dreadful performances later, few Timbers fans would consider 45 points remotely possible. And indeed the updated end of season projections here on Stumptown Footy predict the team finishing with somewhere between 25 and 32 points.
To put that kind of a finish in context, last year only New England Revolution and Vancouver Whitecaps finished that low, both ending the season at 28 points. In 2010 only DC United and Chivas USA finished with a ppm lower than 0.94, which is what 32 points in 34 games would amount to. The New York Red Bulls ended their 2009 campaign with an awful 21 points, only two of them earned on the road.
Yes, the Timbers are bad, but at least we've got company, historically speaking. After the jump, we'll recap our methodologies and share our most recent projections.
Ryan uses a simple calculation. First he separate home and away points and calculates the points per match for home and away games. Then he takes how many home and away games each team has left and multiplies that by points per match for home and away games. He then takes those numbers and adds them to the points a team currently has.
I use a combination of (a) each team's goals scored and allowed and (b) home and away winning percentages to predict the winner of every game for the remainder of the season. In order to account for changes in team performances, I give a higher weight to recent matches, based on the assumption that recent games are a better indicator of future performance than those that took place earlier the season.
In order to make sure the predictions don't get too far out of whack, I keep teams from going on extended winning or losing streaks and make sure that roughly the same percentage of overall draws are predicted going forward as have already happened (about 21% as of today).
Both project the Timbers to finish at least tied with the fewest points in the league. Ryan's methodology is actually a bit optimistic, since it figures the Timbers will right the ship enough to draw them back to the season-to-date home and away averages.
By contrast, because mine weights recent results higher, my model assumes the Timbers will continue their recent trend of giving up a metric ton of goals, a more pessimistic view. Indeed, my model predicts the Timbers will win just one more game and draw three (just one on the road) for the rest of the season, the win coming in the season finale against the San Jose Earthquakes.
I certainly hope Ryan's is right. Actually, I hope we're both wrong, and the Timbers start playing better than they have all season. But somewhere between 25-32 points is pretty much what Timbers fans can expect if the team continues its present course.