Week 8 MLS Score Predictions

Nine of the thirteen games have less than a goal difference between the teams.  The local boys, FC Cincinnati, are favored over a Salt Lake team that struggles on the road.

Photo Credit: Joe Schmuck

Last week the formula correctly predicted six wins but missed on the remaining eight games. Feels like a rough start but when there are three possible outcomes in a game, win/loss/draw, getting six correct is pretty good. Out of the three games that were stated to stay away from this past week, two of the predictions the formula missed while getting the other correct. We are reaching a point where the data should be substantial enough that the formula can start using home and away forms.

Note: Things the formula cannot take into consideration are injuries, weather, fatigue, and international duty.
It is based solely on a team’s offensive and defensive efficiency when compared to the league’s average offensive and defensive efficiency.

Here are this week’s scores:

Running Total for Predicted Scores (started week 5 of the season):

  • 15 correct – 22 incorrect (40.5% all games)
  • 14 correct – 14 incorrect (50% removing three closest predicted games of the week)
  • The three games the formula says to stay away from LAFC vs Seattle, Orlando vs. Vancouver, and Philadelphia vs. Montreal.

Quick Hits:

  • LAFC vs Vancouver is the biggest mismatch, we know how this turned out.  Bradley rotated heavily on the backline and removed Mark Anthony Kaye from the lineup as well. This is a perfect scenario of where the formula has to assume an ideal lineup was being used.  This was not LAFC ideal lineup.
  • There are three other matches this week where one team has a goal advantage Sporting Kansas City over San Jose, Columbus Crew over Portland, and DC United over NYCFC.  Sporting seems like the best pick of these three, while I am not confident in the Columbus attack and tend to shy away from them on the offense.
  • Toronto vs Minnesota is predicted to be a goal-fest. I trust Toronto’s offense and Minnesota may be without Ike Oppara after a nasty head injury last week which means the defense may be light.
  • On the defensive side,  LAFC  was predicted to not concede against Vancouver, that didn’t happen. After LAFC the Columbus side is the next best bet to not concede.  I do like the defensive side on Columbus, especially against a struggling Timbers side that just can’t get it together.
  • Nine of the thirteen games have less than a goal difference between the teams, so many of the games can swing either way.
  • The local boys, FC Cincinnati, are favored over a Salt Lake team that struggles on the road. It looks to be a good game for defensive selections from the home side.
  • For more in-depth Fantasy Coverage listen to the On The Bounce podcast, produced locally here in Cincinnati.

For FC Cincinnati’s game versus Real Salt Lake, below are the score lines broken down by percentages. Reminder, this is based on teams playing at full strength and under ideal conditions.


  • Top five most likely scores in order: FCC Win 1-0, Draw 1-1, FCC Win 2-0, FCC Win 2-1, Draw 0-0
  • FC Cincinnati has a 50 percent chance of winning and a 26  percent chance of a draw
  • FC Cincy being shutout is at 23 percent, while Real Salt Lake has a 40 percent chance of being shutout
  • Salt Lake has the 18th ranked offense and the 21st ranked defense in MLS
  • FCC has the 16 ranked offense and the 12 ranked defense in MLS

Predicted Season Points

Here is another aspect where the Poisson Distribution is used to predict a team’s final points for the year. Not including last nights game LAFC was running away with the Supporters Shield.

There are tiers starting to form using the model:
Tier 1 – LAFC, Seattle, Houston
Tier 2 – DC, Toronto, LA Galaxy, Montreal*
Tier 3 – Dallas, Columbus, KC
Tier 4 – Philly, Minnesota, NY Red Bulls, FC Cincinnati, Orlando
Tier 5 – Chicago thru Portland

Montreal received a large bump because they won their only home game and did not concede a goal.  Their projection will smooth out and drop a few spots when they concede at home.

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