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2018 SFPI NWSL Power Rankings Week 17

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Everybody FREEZE! Edition

Kris Lattimore

No movement this week as we are reaching the home stretch of the 2018 NWSL Season. The Thorns look like they may have finally started to turn a corner as they have now won three straight to leap back into third place, one point behind Seattle for the second home playoff spot (which for Portland would mean hosting both playoff games). The Royals fought the Courage to a gritty 0-0 draw, becoming the only team to go unbeaten against North Carolina in 2018 (1 win and 2 draws), and the first team to take points off of them since their shocking 1-0 win in Cary back on June 16th.

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 (46 pts 14-1-4) Score: 12.7634 (-0.5765); Prev: 1 (-); High 1, Low 1

Schedule: 9 (-); Pace: 60 (LW 60); Remaining Schedule: 1 (+1)

Last Week: D 0-0 at Utah; Next Week: Bye

Total Weeks at #1: 9 (9 Consecutive)

2 *Seattle Reign (30 pts 8-4-6) Score: 8.5344 (+0.1865); Prev: 2 (-); High 2, Low 5

Schedule: 8 (-); Pace: 40 (LW 40); Remaining Schedule: 3 (-)

Last Week: D 1-1 at Orlando; Next Week: Bye

3 *Portland Thorns (29 pts 8-5-5) Score: 8.1869 (+0.3223); Prev: 3 (-); High 3, Low 5

Schedule: 6 (-1); Pace: 38 (LW 36); Remaining Schedule: 5 (+1)

Last Week: W 2-1 at Sky Blue; Next Week: Bye

4 Chicago Red Stars (28 pts 7-4-7) Score: 7.8649 (+0.0539); Prev: 4 (-); High 4, Low 7

Schedule: 7 (-); Pace: 37 (LW 37); Remaining Schedule: 2 (-1)

Last Week: Bye; Next Week: vs (9) Sky Blue

5 *Orlando Pride (29 pts 8-6-5) Score: 7.6775 (+0.2806); Prev: 5 (-); High 2, Low 5

Schedule: 5 (+1); Pace: 36 (LW 37); Remaining Schedule: 6 (-2)

Last Week: D 1-1 vs Seattle; Next Week: Bye

6 Houston Dash (23 pts 6-7-5) Score: 7.0107 (+1.2504); Prev: 6 (-); High 6, Low 7

Schedule: 4 (-1); Pace: 30 (LW 28); Remaining Schedule: 8 (+1)

Last Week: W 1-0 at Washington; Next Week: Bye

7 Utah Royals (22 pts 5-6-7) Score: 5.6807 (+0.2421); Prev: 7 (-); High 3, Low 7

Schedule: 3 (+1); Pace: 29 (LW 29); Remaining Schedule: 9 (-2)

Last Week: D 0-0 vs North Carolina; Next Week: Bye

8 Washington Spirit (10 pts 2-12-4) Score: 1.1012 (-0.8915); Prev: 8 (-); High 6, Low 8

Schedule: 2 (-); Pace: 13 (LW 14); Remaining Schedule: 7 (+1)

Last Week: L 1-0 vs Houston; Next Week: Bye

9 Sky Blue FC (3 pts 0-13-3) Score: -0.6618 (-0.5397); Prev: 9 (-); High 9, Low 9

Schedule: 1 (-) Pace: 4 (LW 4); Remaining Schedule: 4 (+1)

Last Week: L 2-1 vs Portland; Next Week: at (4) Chicago

Predictions

Last week the SFPI went 3-1 (75%), only missing Utah getting the draw at home against North Carolina. This brings the Season total to 16-19 (45.71%). Only one match this week:

Sky Blue at Chicago: CHICAGO

Playoff Picture

If my prediction is correct, how will the table look?

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

1 *North Carolina 46 (5GR)

2 Chicago 31 (5GR)

3 Seattle 30 (6 GR)

4 Portland 29 (6 GR)

-------------------

5 Orlando 29 (5GR)

6 Houston 23 (6 GR)

7 Utah 22 (6 GR)

8 ^Washington 10 (6 GR)

9 ^Sky Blue 3 (7 GR)

Thorns Rooting Interest

Last week went well for the Thorns, with the most important match, Orlando and Seattle ended up as a draw, allowing Portland to gain ground on both. Utah rose up and stole 2 points from North Carolina, keeping Portland’s very slim chances of winning the NWSL Shield alive, while putting 7 points between them and Utah. The only match that did not help Portland in any way was Houston beating Washington.

How do we want this weeks one match to go? Well, it is obvious. Sky Blue can’t catch Portland, while Chicago is still right in the mix of things, so anything to get them to drop points is to be desired.

Sky Blue at Chicago: SKY BLUE

The table would then look like this:

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

1 *North Carolina 46 (5 GR)

2 Seattle 30 (6 GR)

3 Portland 29 (6 GR)

4 Orlando 29 (5 GR)

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5 Chicago 28 (5 GR)

6 Houston 23 (6 GR)

7 Utah 22 (6 GR)

8 ^Washington 10 (6 GR)

9 ^Sky Blue 3 (7 GR)