Before I started drafting this update I checked what I said at the halfway point last year.
Here is what I discovered. NYC had 24 points after 17 games last year, which meant they earned 30 in the second half. Which further means the team has now put together two consecutive 30-point half seasons. They did this with only 15 Home games and 19 Away. That’s a very impressive season-length stretch, even if it is spread over two seasons.
But oddly, despite an increase of 0.35 PPG which translates to 6 more points than this time last year, the team is in a less favorable spot due to the torrid paces of both Toronto and Chicago. Halfway through last season NYC only looked up at Philadelphia. Toronto was below the playoff line, but had games in hand and most of them at home, which led me to predict they would make a run. Of the Red Bulls at this point last year, I noted they could not win at home and so seemed not so much a threat except they always beat us. Toronto made its run, but so did RB, who lost game 18 then never lost again in the 2016 regular season.
If you combine TFC’s second half of 2016 with their first half this year it adds up to 65 points, but was done with 19H and 15A.
Chicago’s notable achievement is that in 2017 they won more points in 17 games (34) than they did in the full season of 34 games last year (31).
You can see there is now real separation between the top 3 in the East and the rest of the conference. SKC and Dallas are within range but NYC would be comfortably atop the West while not even getting a bye in the East. The playoff projection line for both conferences is probably within margin of error, but everything else skews solidly East.
I dropped a line or two on the bottom of this table and added one between 68 and 63 near the top. Barring a collapse, the issue is how far above 50 does NYC finish, and can they break through to the top 2 spots. Both TFC and Chicago built their record this year by not losing at home. It seems unlikely they will both hold that record through the full season, but undefeated home records are not unknown in MLS. Since going to the 34 game season in 2011, there have been 3 home-undefeated teams in 6 years, including Colorado last year. Having 1 or 2 teams finish that way in 2017 would be unusual, but not ridiculous to imagine.
NYCFC finally has a 3-game winning streak in 2017, but still less streaky than the past. The other notable item in this week’s graphs is that the Goal Differential chart had to expand its range. The old ones went to 10, but NYC just went to 11, and so the graph had to expand to 15: