Week 9 MLS Score Predictions

The Poisson Distribution formula used to predict MLS scorelines isn’t flawless, but you can use it to help select fantasy players. Here’s how the formula lines up for week nine action.

Last week the formula correctly predicted five wins but missed on the remaining nine games. This is why I don’t gamble — there is no perfect formula to predict MLS games. MLS is the wild west of all leagues where anything is possible week to week.  However, the one thing the scores have helped with is providing good information for MLS Fantasy.  The formula does provide a fairly accurate prediction of teams that will have a strong offensive or defensive showing. 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):

  • 20 correct – 31 incorrect (39.2% all games)
  • 18 correct – 21 incorrect (46.2% removing three closest predicted games of the week)
  • The three games the formula says to stay away from: Los Angeles FC vs Seattle, Orlando vs. Vancouver, and Philadelphia vs. Montreal.

Quick Hits:

  • Toronto vs Portland is the biggest mismatch but has Portland found something after its surprise 3-1 victory over Columbus? Seattle vs San Jose was the second largest predicted victory, but San Jose has found something with its man marking system. Dallas over San Jose is the third largest, but again can Dallas handle the San Jose defensive system?
  • There are 10 teams that played already, and all will have a second game this weekend.  If your fantasy team is not comprised of players from teams that get a double game you have probably missed out on a bunch of points.  However, Toronto is predicted to have a big week, but will Jozy Altidore play?
  • 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, there were not many games that had a great chance of a shutout, but the Wednesday games proved that wrong, with five teams keeping opponents off the board. A 0-0 draw between Minnesota and LA Galaxy was the oddest of the bunch.
  • Ten of the 16 games have less than a goal difference between the teams, with seven of those games having less than half a goal difference. That is a good indication that many games will not have a team with a significant advantage.
  • The local boys, FC Cincinnati, are not favored over the New York Red Bulls, but neither team has produced in a victory in their last four games.
  • For more in-depth Fantasy Coverage listen to the On The Bounce podcast, produced locally here in Cincinnati.

For FC Cincinnati’s game versus New York Red Bulls, 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: NYRB Win 1-0, Draw 1-1, NYRB Win 2-0, NYRB Win 2-1, Draw 0-0
  • FC Cincinnati has a 23 percent chance of winning and a 25 percent chance of a draw
  • FC Cincy being shutout is at 37 percent, while New York has a 19 percent chance of being shutout
  • New York Red Bulls have the 18th ranked offense and the seventh ranked defense in MLS
  • FCC has the 19th ranked offense and the 16th 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 Wednesday’s game, LAFC was running away with the Supporters Shield.

Last week FC Cincinnati had a projected season points total of 42 and now it has fallen to 33, one of the largest drops for the week. That was how bad that loss was to Real Salt Lake.

Here are the tiers from the start of the week:

Tier 1 – LAFC (yep they are alone)
Tier 2 – LA Galaxy,  Toronto, Houston, Seattle, Dallas, DC
Tier 3 – Montreal*, Philadelphia, KC
Tier 4 –  Columbus, Chicago, Orlando, New York City FC, Minnesota
Tier 5 –  Real Salt Lake thru Colorado   —  FC Cincinnati is here

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

To Top