Front-Office Efficiency in MLS: 2014 edition

If you’ve been following Soccermetrics on Twitter this week, you would have seen infographics on the Front-Office Efficiencies of all nineteen Major League Soccer teams.  You could have worked out the ranking yourself, but if not, below is the full infographic for posterity.

For those who want to understand how I did it, here is this post.

A few observations:

  • The six teams with the most efficient front offices qualified for the playoffs.  For the Columbus Crew to make the playoffs with a budget of that size is remarkable — adjusted for inflation, it is 40% smaller than what they spent in 2007.
  • DC United flipped from being the most inefficient team to the second-most efficient, which shows what a 43-point improvement can do for a club.
  • New England Revolution — the MLS Cup finalist — ranks sixth on the Front-Office Efficiency list, which continues their trend from the last two seasons.
  • Three of the bottom four teams in the list qualified for the playoff, and two of them were the top two teams in the league.  So there appears to be the resource-efficient path to success, and the resource-rich path to success in Major League Soccer, and it seems that most clubs choose (or are forced) to pursue the former.
  • Seattle Sounders were among the most efficient teams in the league (and I’m in the middle of revising those figures retroactively), but it’s been clear that they have been transitioning toward a resource-rich strategy.  Their position in the Front-Office Efficiency table finally reflects that.
  • Away from the ends of the table is the mushy middle of sides with small budgets that had mitigating circumstances due to injury (Colorado Rapids) or got what they paid for (just about everyone else).  Only one team in this middle group qualified for the playoffs, and that was Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • Poor Toronto FC.  Highest payroll spend in the league and the result remains the same.

The infographic looks even better than I imagined — I ought to get it printed and displayed on my wall!



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