I think Home/Away is very real. From 2013:
“Since 2008, 100 different MLS squads have taken the field and 96 of them have played better at home than on the road (measured by goal differential). The average home team over the past five and a half years has a positive goal differential of +0.47 goals a game.” Home Field Advantage In MLS
Next from 2014: measuring more than 1700 MLS games excluding draws, the Home team won 67% of the time. None of the other major US team sports reached 60%.
Between 2011-2015, only 7 teams have had a winning Away record.
Between 2011-2015, only 5 teams have had a better Away record than Home.
Note: 2011 is when the league went to a 34 game schedule.
I don’t disagree with the importance of quality of opponent. But Home and Away is real, and easier to measure, especially early in the season. Who knew Colorado and Philadelphia would be any good? If we succced by continuing our pattern this team will be a true anomaly.