It's been a couple of months since the last such table, but now that we're in the final third of the season it's time to publish a Pythagorean league table for the 2011 Major League Soccer season. The table contains matches played up to last Sunday (14 August), so last night's matches (Philadelphia-Sporting KC and New England-Houston) are not included. The league Pythagorean exponent is 1.70, and draw and loss columns are reversed from the format used to report records in the USA.
This league season has been characterized more by clubs playing below their expectations than outperforming them. The teams in the top five of the general table have positive Pythagorean residuals, but nothing beyond the error margin of 3-5 points. The underperformance of the teams can be illustrated further by comparing the residuals of the current Pythagorean table to the previous one computed in June. Seven clubs exhibited a positive change in the Pythagorean residual between June and August, of which only the Seattle Sounders showed a change of +3. Five sides showed a negative change in the Pythagorean residual worse than -3, and both Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire had residuals go down from -2 to -7. Chicago's decline is easy to understand with their long winless streak, but Chivas' descent will require some further examination.
Teams in general seem to find their level in MLS and stay there for much of the season. In general, the Galaxy deserve to be where they are, and the Whitecaps deserve to be where they are — and the Pythagorean table appears to verify that.
|Los Angeles Galaxy||25||13||9||3||35||20||+15||48||13||7||5||46||+2|
|Seattle Sounders FC||25||11||9||5||35||27||+8||42||11||7||7||40||+2|
|Real Salt Lake||22||10||6||6||30||17||+13||36||11||6||5||39||-3|
|New York Red Bulls||25||6||13||6||39||35||+4||31||10||6||9||36||-5|
|Sporting Kansas City||23||7||9||7||32||30||+2||30||9||6||8||33||-3|
|San Jose Earthquakes||24||5||10||9||26||32||-6||25||7||7||10||28||-3|
|New England Revolution||24||4||9||11||23||36||-13||21||6||6||12||24||-3|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||24||3||9||12||25||40||-15||18||6||6||12||24||-6|