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SFPI 2018 NWSL Power Rankings Week 16

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Finally Caught Up Edition

AND WE ARE BACK! After a (too long) delay due to real life getting in the way, the SFPI is back to ranking the NWSL teams! While we have been gone, North Carolina has continued to roll through the league like it was tissue paper, becoming the first team to clinch a spot in the 2018 NWSL Playoffs. Everything else is still up for grabs as second and seventh are only separated by nine points, and the question will be, which teams can get their act together enough to make that final push into the playoffs? One team that likely won’t is Sky Blue FC, who finally reached the negative total score threshold, and are one loss away from being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Due to the prolonged absence there will be no “movement relative to last week” feature this week, nor will there be any big winner/loser section. Those should return next week.

We do, however, have the return of the “Thorns Rooting Interest” Feature now that we are hitting the home stretch.

As always, here’s a quick reminder of how I arrive at these rankings:

The SFPI has two main components: “Performance Score,” which is determined 100% by on-the-field results, and “Strength of Schedule,” which takes the average Performance Score of all of a team’s opponents to date, with a mechanism to account for games on the road.

Performance Score

A team’s Performance Score is made up of the following components:

  • Points Per Game (PPG) Score: This takes a team’s overall PPG and adds their PPG over their last five matches, with the last five being given more weight. This is the single largest component of the SFPI.
  • Goal Difference Per Game: Overall goal difference divided by total games played
  • Home/Away Bonus: Bonus points are awarded for earning results (W/D) on the road, and an equal number of points are subtracted for dropping results (D/L) at home. Accrues over the entire season.

Strength of Schedule

As stated above, a team’s Strength of Schedule is reached by taking the average performance score of all of a team’s opponents to date. It accounts for road matches by adding a percentage of an opponent’s Points Per Game at home to their Performance Score. Teams faced multiple times are counted that number of times. Numbered 1-9, with 9 being the easiest, and weighted at less than 100%.

Strength of Schedule and Performance Score combine to give a team’s Total Score. A negative total score is theoretically possible, although it requires an extended period of very poor play.

Features of Note

  • Remaining Schedule: Same as Strength of Schedule, only for games remaining.
  • Pace: How many points is a team currently on pace for given their current PPG? Also shows how results for this week impact that pace vs last week.
  • Record is in W-L-D format. *Denotes playoff position **Clinched Playoff spot.
  • Parentheses indicate change from the previous week, with – indicating no change.

Rankings

1 **North Carolina Courage (45 pts 14-1-3) Score: 13.3399; High 1, Low 1

Schedule: 9; Pace: 60; Remaining Schedule: 2

Total Weeks at #1: 8 (8 Consecutive)

2 *Seattle Reign (29 pts 8-4-5) Score: 8.3479; High 2, Low 5

Schedule: 8; Pace: 40; Remaining Schedule: 3

3 Portland Thorns (26 pts 7-5-5) Score: 7.8646; High 3, Low 5

Schedule: 5; Pace: 36; Remaining Schedule: 6

4 *Chicago Red Stars (28 pts 7-4-7) Score: 7.811; High 4, Low 7

Schedule: 7; Pace: 37; Remaining Schedule: 1

5 *Orlando Pride (28 pts 8-6-4) Score: 7.3969; High 2, Low 5

Schedule: 6; Pace: 37; Remaining Schedule: 4

6 Houston Dash (20 pts 5-7-5) Score: 5.7603; High 6, Low 7

Schedule: 3; Pace: 28; Remaining Schedule: 9

7 Utah Royals (21 pts 5-6-6) Score: 5.4386; High 3, Low 7

Schedule: 4; Pace: 29; Remaining Schedule: 7

8 Washington Spirit (10 pts 2-11-4) Score: 1.9927; High 6, Low 8

Schedule: 2; Pace: 14; Remaining Schedule: 8

9 Sky Blue FC (0-12-3) Score: -0.1221; High 9, Low 9

Schedule: 1 Pace: 4; Remaining Schedule: 5

Predictions

Last edition, the SFPI went 2-5 (28.57%) bringing the season total to 13-18 (41.94%). I will continue the same formula of adding 1.5 points to home team score; if the two teams are then within one point of each other I will predict a draw.

North Carolina at Utah: NORTH CAROLINA

Seattle at Orlando: DRAW

Houston at Washington: HOUSTON

Portland at Sky Blue: PORTLAND

Playoff Picture

If my predictions are 100% correct, this is what the table will look like:

(*Clinched Playoffs **Clinched Home Semifinal ^Eliminated from Playoffs, GR= Games Remaining)

1 **North Carolina 48 (5 GR)

2 Seattle 30 (6 GR)

3 Portland 29 (6 GR)

4 Orlando 29 (5 GR)

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5 Chicago 28 (6 GR)

6 Houston 23 (6 GR)

7 Utah 21 (6 GR)

8 ^Washington 10 (6 GR)

9 ^Sky Blue 3 (8 GR)

Thorns Rooting Interest

In an ideal world, Portland would be controlling its own destiny towards obtaining Home Field Advantage. Sadly, we do not live in that ideal world, so assuming a Thorns win, how do the rest of the games need to go to be the most advantageous for Portland?

North Carolina at Utah: UTAH

Seattle at Orlando: DRAW

Houston at Washington: WASHINGTON

Here is how the table would look if the week went perfectly for Portland:

(*Clinched Playoffs, ^Eliminated from Playoffs, GR=Games Remaining)

1 *North Carolina 45 (5 GR)

2 Seattle 30 (6 GR)

3 Portland 29 (6 GR)

4 Orlando 29 (5 GR)

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5 Chicago 28 (6 GR)

6 Utah 24 (6 GR)

7 Houston 20 (6 GR)

8 Washington 13 (6 GR)

9 ^Sky Blue 3 (8 GR)