SEBA Projections

MLS, USL, and NWSL projections through March 4th

Below are the initial 2018 MLS season forecasts using data from games through March 4, 2018.

*I’ve made a change to the model to factor in distance traveled to include USL, legacy NASL, and NWSL clubs in addition to MLS. However, distances are treated differently for each league to account for the likely difference in relaxation/ease-of-travel that different levels can afford to provide their players.

Interactive Charts

MLS forecasts

MLS forecasts over time

USL forecasts

USL forecasts over time

Power Rankings

The “Power Rankings” we concoct are the actual “strength” of the team according to competitive expectations. They are computed showing average expected points result if every team in MLS played every team both home and away.

SEBA has Philadelphia in 7th.

Currently, Philadelphia’s performance expectation is set by the following distribution of minutes:

Philadelphia +/- for 2018

Philadelphia Plus/Minus

David Accam220852.1182.1180
Alejandro Bedoya22090220
Andre Blake22090220
Auston Trusty22090220
CJ Sapong22090220
Haris Medunjanin22090220
Jack Elliott22090220
Keegan Rosenberry22090220
Cory Burke110243.753.750
Jay Simpson110243.753.750
Anthony Fontana110661.3641.3640
Fabian Herbers110661.3641.3640
Shows the goal differential for each player while they were on the field


Playoffs probability and more

Philadelphia has increased from a 53.1% to a 67.9% chance of making the playoffs.

Next is the distribution of Philadelphia’s points against the MLS East’s sixth seed in all the simulations.


Philadelphia increased from a 3.2% to a 7.2% chance of winning the Supporters’ Shield.

The Union has increased from a 3.4% to a 5.8% chance of winning the MLS Cup.

* I now have assumed to exclude NASL clubs from USOC as their season was cancelled, and I would guess that those clubs that moved to the NPSL are too late to attempt qualification.

Philadelphia’s chances of having a U.S. Open Cup win increased from 4.2% to 4.5%.


The following 2018 CCL Champion odds do not include Tuesday night’s two matches.

The 2019 CONCACAF Champions League qualification from the U.S. was supposed to be the 2017 & 2018 winners of the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup. This is why Kansas City has already qualified. However, since Toronto (not eligible for a U.S. qualification slot) won the MLS Cup, that slot (and any other future Canadian or Kansas City wins) will be given to the club with the most regular season points over both 2017 and 2018.

Philadelphia has increased from an 8.1% to a 11.8% chance of qualifying for the 2019 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The following are the probabilities of each final playoffs placement for Philadelphia.

The following shows the summary of the simulations in an easy table format.

Los Angeles FCWest54.
New York CityEast51.614.210.895250.21.841.43179.26.810.64.8NA52.1NA4.17.78.1
Columbus CrewEast51.51410.59.453.747.95.851.429798.1114.8NA46.6NA4.17.88
Vancouver WhitecapsWest51.11410.99.156.8551.871.41276.36.49.5NA23.523.5NA4.48.18.4
New York Red BullsEast49.413.211.19.76350.11361.42470.
Atlanta UnitedEast49.
Toronto FCEast47.913.112.28.762.754.28.421.45562.87.15.1NA44.
Philadelphia UnionEast47.912.811.89.454.951.13.891.37962.754.74.2NA10.2NA5.510.610.6
Sporting Kansas CityWest46.31211.710.346.6460.6121.3551.
San Jose EarthquakesWest46.212.312.59.25371.7-18.6151.32750.
Seattle SoundersWest4612.212.49.450.544.85.781.39351.54.734.5NA21.115.66.412.112
Houston DynamoWest45.91212.1105350.42.6111.35349.
Minnesota UnitedWest45.712.4138.657.764.2-6.5161.32748.
New England RevolutionEast45.612.513.48.254.465.6-11.2131.34249.72.12.64NA8.4NA6.412.512.5
Real Salt LakeWest44.611.412.210.557.659.5-1.8101.35942.
FC DallasWest44.210.811.511.753.457.7-4.3181.31239.
Los Angeles GalaxyWest43.911.713.58.858.868.6-9.8221.2938.
Chicago FireEast43.711.613.58.864.566.1-1.6141.33740.
Colorado RapidsWest43.311.313.39.546.452.9-6.5191.31136.
DC UnitedEast42.410.71310.351.158.3-7.2201.30531.
Montreal ImpactEast42.211.414.58.16161.3-0.3171.31733.71.91NA24.224.2NA7.515.114.9
Portland TimbersWest41.510.814.2955.261.1-6211.29326.
Orlando CityEast40.49.713.

Next is a table showing the difference between this forecast and the last forecast.

Los Angeles FCWest5.22.2-0.8-1.447.917.130.8-40.08820.311.511.71.5NA12.3NA-1.9-3.5-3.6
New York CityEast2.41-0.5-0.5-0.60.3-0.920.0197.
Columbus CrewEast2.91.3-0.3-
Vancouver WhitecapsWest2.31.1-0.2-
New York Red BullsEast3.61.5-0.4-1.15.6-0.86.6-50.06116.32.32.61NA4.59.6-1.1-2.6-2.4
Atlanta UnitedEast3.61.5-0.5-
Toronto FCEast1.50.8-0.1-
Philadelphia UnionEast-0.4-0.10.4-
Sporting Kansas CityWest3.41.4-0.6-0.8761-90.0317.
San Jose EarthquakesWest-0.500.6-0.6-1.21.9-31-0.023-5.1-1-1.90NA-1.1NA0.410.8
Seattle SoundersWest1.40.7-0.1-0.60.9-0.81.8-20.0267.
Houston DynamoWest-2.2-0.51.2-0.6-1.53.2-4.82-0.03-13.3-2.9-4.4-0.5NA-6.2NA1.12.32.1
Minnesota UnitedWest2.61.3-0.1-
New England RevolutionEast2.11.10.1-
Real Salt LakeWest-2.3-0.21.8-1.5-0.58.2-8.66-0.039-13.4-2.9-3.4-1.2NA-5.7NA1.12.32.2
FC DallasWest0.20.10.1-
Los Angeles GalaxyWest-1.8-0.31.2-12.14.9-2.82-0.031-11.4-1.4-2.10.1NA-1.3NA0.91.81.7
Chicago FireEast-2.1-0.11.8-
Colorado RapidsWest-2.2-0.31.6-
DC UnitedEast-2.5-0.41.7-
Montreal ImpactEast-1.301.2-
Portland TimbersWest-2.1-0.41.3-0.9-0.36.5-6.95-0.043-13.1-1.8-1.3-0.7NA-4.4NA122.1
Orlando CityEast-2.9-0.61.7-1.1-0.33.5-3.80-0.044-16.6-1.4-1.4-0.1NA-1.6NA1.22.52.5

The following shows the difficulty for each team’s remaining schedule

The following shows the expectations for upcoming Philadelphia matches:

Power Rankings

SEBA has Bethlehem starting out in 18th. However, the model has no data on changes to squads, so this is largely reflective of last season’s finish (and model changes such as distance traveled).

Playoffs probability and more

We start off with Bethlehem at 49.2% chance of making the playoffs. (Sorry for the cutoff table, I’m working on it, but the interactive charts linked above should be easier to read)

We give Bethlehem a 2.9% chance of claiming the USL regular season title.

Bethlehem’s odds of winning the USL championship start off at 3.1%.

The following shows the probability of each post-playoff ranking finish:

The following are the upcoming expectations for Bethlehem matches.



The following are the initial projections for the 2018 NWSL season. Like the USL, these are based solely on matches from 2017 and the additional factor of distance traveled.

The following shows the strength of schedule, as we project.


Below is the table form of the above. “AdvPerc” is the percentage advantage in points that a team has over the league average, so higher is an easier schedule.


  1. Chris, what informed your “baseline” assumption about each team’s chances? In other words, what was your starting point, before any Week 1 match results?

    • Chris Sherman says:

      As far as the team’s assessments (excluding other factors such as home/away and distance traveled), it was based upon the previous season’s results, weighted by how many of the players in those matches were still on the team’s roster.

      Last week’s post of power rankings should give you a sense for how the model considered them prior to week 1 (although there were a few CCL matches). If you look at the interactive chart’s pwrScr over time, you should have a sense for how the model’s opinion of teams change throughout the course of the season.

      Did I answer your question?

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