How have teams fared in the interconference battle?
A big difference between the two conferences
With the season drawing to a close, and the Legion still to play two interconference game – 1 at home and 1 away – we thought it high time to take a look at how each team in the Championship has handled this new aspect of the regular season. The results are a bit surprising in some respects.
The table below shows each team’s record, divided between home and away games, together with the points per game for each set of games and also overall. Interestingly, there are only 2 teams with perfect home records, and if Memphis 901 drops points to Rio Grande Valley next Wednesday, that will be down to just one. Shockingly, that’s San Antonio, whose home schedule was Detroit City (in week 1, their first ever game in the league!), FC Tulsa, Charleston Battery and Atlanta United 2. Not exactly taxing the best team in the league, that. Memphis have played Oakland Roots, LA Galaxy II and Phoenix Rising. Also not that tough a slate of games. Between them the top two teams at home have not played a single team above the playoff line in the other conference.
There are equally only two perfect teams away from home, those being our very own Legion and RGV. The Three Sparks looks to make that 4 on the road against Oakland this weekend. The previous 3 games, you may recall, were Phoenix, New Mexico United and Sacramento Republic, 2 of whom are in playoff position currently. RGV played New York Red Bulls II, Atlanta United 2 and Charleston, another easy schedule but with a tough game remaining – at least one of those perfect records will fall.
All four of those teams feature in the top 5 overall. The surprise though would be Monterey Bay, sandwiched in the middle at #3. They still have to play Tampa Bay at home and Tulsa away, so could very easily slip by season’s end. They too had a moderately soft interconference schedule but as league rookies that’s more than fair and given also that they are perched way over on the West Coast the extensive travel for those road games makes it even more impressive.
Overall, it is clear that the West has had the upper hand over the East. Of the top ten teams, only 4 are from the East – Memphis, Birmingham, Louisville and Tampa. That’s more or less in line with overall performance, although Tampa only just gets in at #10. Of the top 15, only 6 are Eastern. That’s quite some dominance. However, the much heavier presence of MLS 2 teams in the East at least partly accounts for that. Indeed, the bottom 7 teams are all from the East, and include all 3 Eastern MLS 2 squads. That may mean some improvement in the East’s competitiveness next year.
The big surprise at the bottom though is the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Then again, they have only played 5 of their 8 interconference games and finish out their season with nothing but. Those games are San Antonio (home), SacRep (away) and Oakland (home). But they haven’t been stellar: they beat El Paso Locomotive at home, but drew with Orange County. Away, they lost to Las Vegas and RGV and drew with New Mexico.
There are 13 interconference games yet to be played; we’ll keep an eye on those and update this table when the regular season is completed.
|Monterey Bay Union||2||0||1||2.333||2||0||1||2.333||2.333|
|Rio Grande Valley Toros||1||1||1||1.333||3||0||0||3.000||2.167|
|Colorado Springs Switchbacks||2||1||1||1.750||3||1||0||2.250||2.000|
|San Diego Loyal||3||1||0||2.250||1||2||0||1.000||1.714|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||2||1||0||2.000||1||1||1||1.333||1.667|
|El Paso Locomotive||2||1||1||1.750||1||1||2||1.250||1.500|
|New Mexico United||0||3||1||0.250||3||0||1||2.500||1.375|
|LA Galaxy II||1||1||1||1.333||1||2||1||1.000||1.143|
|Las Vegas Lights||1||2||0||1.000||1||1||2||1.250||1.143|
|Atlanta United 2||0||1||3||0.750||0||2||0||0.000||0.500|
|The Miami FC||0||3||1||0.250||0||2||1||0.333||0.286|
|New York Red Bulls II||0||3||1||0.250||0||3||0||0.000||0.143|