Sunday, March 29, 2009

MLS: 2-0 and 0-2 Starts

The first two rounds of the 2009 MLS regular season have been completed. At the top of table are Chivas and Seattle at 2-0, and at the bottom are Dallas and Kansas City at 0-2. What I want to know is, how many teams have started off with those records and how did they finish the year?

First of all, I will be counting shootouts from 1996-99 as draws (as is the norm on this blog).

In MLS history, 16 previous teams have started off 2-0, while 19 have started off 0-2. There have been a total of previous 149 MLS team seasons. If you take the average PPG that those 149 teams finished with, it comes out to 1.38. So how did those 16 and 19 teams do in comparison? Let's take a look:

Number PPG > AVG <.AVG
2-0 start 16 1.66 14 2
All teams 149 1.38

0-2 start 19 1.26 5 14

It appears that teams who started 2-0 are much more likely to do well than teams who started 0-2 are likely to do bad. I should note that for the starts I haven't taken into account home and away games.

The 2-0 teams include 4 MLS Cup champions and 5 Supporters' Shield winners. The only two teams in that group to finish below 1.38 were the 2004 Metrostars and the 2006 Kansas City Wizards. KC is the only not to make the playoffs. The median is exactly the same as the average of the 16 teams.

The 0-2 teams feature a couple of the worst teams in league history, but also some really good teams. The total haul includes an MLS Cup winner, 2 Supporters' Shields, and 3 Open Cups. Because of that, the median is a little lower than the average of the 19 teams: 1.22.

So I guess that Chivas and Seattle should be feeling very good at the moment, but Dallas and KC fans (and potentially RSL fans) shouldn't feel like they're doomed to a poor season. What's next? Well, only four teams in league history have started off 3-0, and only one has won their first four games (1996 LA). That team actually their first eight matches. On the flip side, eight teams have started off 0-3, two were 0-4, and only one team has lost their first five games (2001 NE). They started 0-6.

The 4 teams that started off 3-0 had a PPG of 1.49 (includes that KC team mentioned earlier), while the 8 teams that started off 0-3 had a PPG of 1.27.


Comments on "MLS: 2-0 and 0-2 Starts"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:10 AM, March 30, 2009) : 

Since the -03 teams had a (very) slightly higher PPG than the 0-2 teams, it would be interesting to see what the 1-2 teams did.


post a comment