We return to our Strength of Schedule projections for the Eastern Conference. With the conference playoff race heating up, our projections are here to provide the best look into the potential future of the regular season for the conference.
You can find last week’s projections here, and an explanation on our methodology here. Projections are as of August 13th, 2017 (last week’s projected position is in parentheses).
Eastern Conference Points Projections
1 (Last Week- 2). Louisville City (61.7)
2 (2). Charlotte Independence (58.5)
3 (3). Charleston Battery (54.6)
4 (5). Rochester Rhinos (54.4)
5 (4). Tampa Bay Rowdies (51.0)
6 (6). Bethlehem Steel FC (48.4)
7 (7). FC Cincinnati (45.6)
8 (8). Saint Louis FC (43.7)
9 (11). Ottawa Fury FC (42.2)
10 (10). Orlando City B (41.8)
11 (9). New York Red Bulls II (39.5)
12 (12). Pittsburgh Riverhounds (36.6)
13 (13). Harrisburg City Islanders (32.2)
14 (14). Toronto FC II (25.8)
15 (15). Richmond Kickers (23.7)
Hardest Remaining Schedules: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1.503 average points per future opponent), Richmond Kickers (1.473), Bethlehem Steel FC (1.468).
Easiest Remaining Schedules: Saint Louis FC (1.221 average points per future opponent), FC Cincinnati (1.239), Rochester Rhinos (1.336).
It was a 5-0 win this week, coupled with a loss from Charlotte, that has vaulted Louisville City into the top spot of our projected table. The Kentucky club holds a little over a three point advantage over second place Charlotte. Outside the top two, Charleston held a minuscule advantage—just a 0.2 point lead—over Rochester for third place in our projections.
The eight clubs occupying the playoff spots are unchanged from last week, with Tampa taking a fall from fourth to fifth, and out of projected home playoff match. Bethlehem, FC Cincinnati and Saint Louis maintain their positions in the race for the postseason. The gap between eighth to ninth has dropped compared to last week—a 2.8 advantage— to just a little over a point this week. Ottawa, Orlando City B and New York Red Bulls II continue to apply pressure to playoff race, each sitting within five points of eighth.
One advantage Saint Louis FC does have over their playoff chasing counterparts is the easiest remaining schedule in the Eastern Conference. FC Cincinnati and Rochester have the next easiest remaining fixtures, which could play heavily into the seeding of the postseason. This is particularly important in Rochester’s case, as the Rhinos are in the hunt for a home playoff match. At the other end, Pittsburgh hold the hardest remaining schedule in the conference, followed by Richmond and Bethlehem. As we come down the stretch, 40 remains the target minimum threshold to be competitive for a playoff spot.
What are your thoughts on this week’s projections? With the top spot in our conference projections changing with each passing week, who do you think will end the regular season atop the conference table? Is there a club currently outside the projected playoff picture that you think can make a run for the postseason? Let us know in the comments below!