The EoS Forecaster: I Love L.A.

Crystal Ball Predictor

by BILL REESE
Staff Writer

Week 22: August 6-10

It’s been a few weeks since our last EoS Forecaster, and much has changed. The biggest change is at the top of the table.

The computer model has always had a soft spot for the L.A. Galaxy, mostly due to the fact that their season was back-loaded with home games. (The author remains perplexed about how a team in Southern California does not host more games in March and April while the rest of the MLS thaws out from winter). L.A. has had a tendency to be shaky away from the confines of the StubHub Center, but last week’s shock 0-3 result at Seattle turned many heads around the league; it was even a topic of discussion on the August 1 episode of “BBC World Football Phone-in” with Tim Vickery and Jon Arnold! More specific to this discussion, it greatly increased L.A.’s away statistics in the game simulator to the point that the EoS Forecaster now predicts that the Galaxy will win the 2014 Supporters Shield, narrowly edging out last year’s Shield runners-up Sporting KC.

The Sporks are still predicted to win the Eastern Conference—and with it, an automatic berth in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League. Other than DC United—predicted to finish 2nd in the East—the rest of the conference is wide open. The difference between a place in the Conference Semifinals and a seat outside the playoffs is a mere 3 points. Ironically enough, the team on the outside in this week’s model—New England Revolution—are predicted to have more wins than their other rivals (14-17-3), yet still miss the playoffs due more points from Columbus (48), Toronto, (47) and the inexplicable comeback kids from Harrison, the NY Red Bulls (46). How does Columbus—who’s never been ranked higher than 4th in the Forecaster’s standings so far this season—end up in the Conference Semis? It’s basically a game of “Eastern Conference Roulette” and the way the goals-per-game averages shake out, there’s no bullet in the Crew’s chamber.

If MLS were a contained entity, we would have a large enough sample size to believe that our prediction models would start to even out and give us a clear view of the future. This is not the case. Between the upcoming close of the summer transfer window, US Open Cup semis and finals, the CONCACAF Champions League and other external factors, we cannot be quite certain what the final few months has in store. And frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

THIS WEEK’S PREDICTIONS:

LA Galaxy > San Jose
Philadelphia > Montreal
Columbus = Toronto FC
FC Dallas >
Colorado
Real Salt Lake = DC United
Portland = Chivas USA

Vancouver Houston

Remember, don’t blame me, blame the math!

SEASON FORECAST

A B C D E F G
1
Supporters Shield Prediction W L D Pts. Change from Last week
2
1 LA GALAXY 23 4 7 76 +3
3
2 SPORTING KC 22 5 7 73 =
4
3 DC UNITED 19 8 7 64 =
5
4 SEATTLE 20 12 2 62 -3
6
5 REAL SALT LAKE 17 6 11 62 +2
7
6 FC DALLAS 16 11 7 55 -1
8
7 COLUMBUS 12 10 12 48 +5
9
8 TORONTO FC 12 11 11 47 -2
10
9 COLORADO 13 14 7 46 -1
11
10 NEW YORK 11 10 13 46 +3
12
11 NEW ENGLAND 14 17 3 45 =
13
12 VANCOUVER 9 12 13 40 -2
14
13 SAN JOSE 10 16 8 38 +4
15
14 PORTLAND 8 13 13 37 =
16
15 PHILADELPHIA 7 11 16 37 -6
17
16 CHICAGO 6 11 17 35 =
18
17 HOUSTON 8 20 6 30 +1
19
18 CHIVAS USA 6 20 8 26 -3
20
19 MONTREAL 3 25 6 15 =
21
22
Eastern Conf. Prediction W L D Pts. Change from Last week
23
1 SPORTING KC 22 5 7 73 =
24
2 DC UNITED 19 8 7 64 =
25
3 COLUMBUS 12 10 12 48 +3
26
4 TORONTO FC 12 11 11 47 -1
27
5 NEW YORK 11 10 13 46 +2
28
6 NEW ENGLAND 14 17 3 45 -1
29
7 PHILADELPHIA 7 11 16 37 -3
30
8 CHICAGO 6 11 17 35 =
31
9 HOUSTON 8 20 6 30 =
32
10 MONTREAL 3 25 6 15 =
33
34
Western Conf. Prediction W L D Pts. Change from Last week
35
1 LA GALAXY 23 4 7 76 +1
36
2 SEATTLE 20 12 2 62 -1
37
3 REAL SALT LAKE 17 6 11 62 +1
38
4 FC DALLAS 16 11 7 55 -1
39
5 COLORADO 13 14 7 46 =
40
6 VANCOUVER 9 12 13 40 =
41
7 SAN JOSE 10 16 8 38 +2
42
8 PORTLAND 8 13 13 37 -1
43
9 CHIVAS USA 6 20 8 26 -1