2019 MLS Preseason ELO Update

2018 MLS Cup

The following predictions are based on the ELO ranking system. This system was first used in chess to calculate the skill level of players and predict the most likely winner. It’s a good system, but soccer is not chess because soccer can end in a draw. Fortunately chess also allows for a draw and the ELO system is setup to factor this into its calculations. There are also new factors that weren’t originally factored in to the system that must be addressed (such as home field advantage, season-to-season carryover, and past-season play) as they offer information to the relative strength and weakness of teams. To account for these factors, I’m using a modified formula that tries to predict the chance that a team will come away with points. This includes not only wins, but also draws.

The system starts each new team at a score of 1500 and then adjusts their rating as the season goes on. My current team scores include data from 1996-2018 (with some adjustment to account for the changing MLS win/draw rules). The following are not included: Domestic tournaments, preseason friendlies, and international games. These scores are used to rank teams for my Power Rankings table and the values are now included in the chart.

2018 Prediction Success

  • 2018 Regular Season Overall: Correct = 213  Incorrect = 94  Draw = 84. Total accuracy of predicting teams earning points = 76%

Success was down a bit from previous seasons, but the explosive success of LAFC out of the gate and the crumbling of several teams in CCL played a factor into this reduction. There was alos a large jump in the home field advantage calculation at the end of the 2018 season so I hope the updated variable will help to improve accuracy again.

2019 MLS Preseason ELO Update

Alphabetical Listing

Highest to lowest ELO Rating


About MLS Fantasy Boss

Founder of MLS Fantasy Boss, moderator of /r/FantasyMLS, freelance contributing writer for fantasy.MLSsoccer.com. Passionate about all things MLS and growing the Fantasy MLS community.

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