MLS, Home Field Advantage And Success Rates

This week on the podcast we talked a bit about home field advantage and the fact that it undeniably exists. But while it does exist, the question then becomes to what extent does it exist? What teams have taken advantage of it over the past few years? I went back as far as 2008 to collect some data. I’m not sure what this data all means, but I feel that it, at the very least, gives us a bit of commentary on those teams that had success and failure on their home pitches.

I broke clubs into two groups: teams that scored more than 40 points and teams that scored less than 40 points. Then I compiled some key home stats for the two groups.

A quick key for the stats used:

%home won, is the percentage of possible games at home at the team won. Duh, right?

%home points is the percentage of its home games in which the team nabbed any points (draw or win).

%total of points is how many points from home games contributed to their total points accrued over the season.

Then GD is just goal differential.

Team Above 40 Points

2008
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 Houston 15 10 4 1 30 14 34 51 66.67% 93.33% 66.67% 16 13
2 Chivas USA 15 7 4 4 21 15 25 43 46.67% 73.33% 58.14% 6 -1
3 Real Salt Lake 15 8 6 1 24 10 30 40 53.33% 93.33% 75.00% 14 1
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 Columbus 15 11 2 2 30 15 35 57 73.33% 86.67% 61.40% 15 14
2 Chicago 15 7 3 5 23 17 24 46 46.67% 66.67% 52.17% 6 11
3 New England 15 6 4 5 24 20 22 43 40.00% 66.67% 51.16% 4 -3
4 Kansas City 15 9 4 2 22 15 31 42 60.00% 86.67% 73.81% 7 -2

Team Below 40 Points

2008
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
5 New York Red Bulls 15 9 3 3 30 20 30 39 60.00% 80.00% 76.92% 10 -6
6 DC United 15 9 2 4 32 19 29 37 60.00% 73.33% 78.38% 13 -8
7 Toronto FC 15 6 7 2 17 12 25 35 40.00% 86.67% 71.43% 5 -9
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
4 Colorado 15 7 3 5 22 14 24 38 46.67% 66.67% 63.16% 8 -1
5 FC Dallas 15 5 6 4 23 19 21 36 33.33% 73.33% 58.33% 4 4
6 San Jose 15 6 4 5 22 19 22 33 40.00% 66.67% 66.67% 3 -6
7 Los Angeles 15 6 5 4 35 27 23 33 40.00% 73.33% 69.70% 8 -7

Team Above 40 Points

2009
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 Columbus 15 9 4 2 25 15 31 49 60.00% 86.67% 63.27% 10 10
2 Chicago 15 5 6 4 16 17 21 45 33.33% 73.33% 46.67% -1 5
3 New England 15 7 4 4 22 16 25 42 46.67% 73.33% 59.52% 6 -4
4 DC United 15 7 5 3 19 14 26 40 46.67% 80.00% 65.00% 5 -1
POS TEAM W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 Houston 15 8 6 1 23 13 30 48 53.33% 93.33% 62.50% 10 10
2 Los Angeles 15 7 4 4 18 17 25 48 46.67% 73.33% 52.08% 1 5
3 Seattle Sounders FC 15 7 6 2 21 10 27 47 46.67% 86.67% 57.45% 11 9
4 Chivas USA 15 9 3 3 25 14 30 45 60.00% 80.00% 66.67% 11 3
5 Real Salt Lake 15 9 5 1 34 11 32 40 60.00% 93.33% 80.00% 23 8
6 Colorado 15 8 5 2 25 10 29 40 53.33% 86.67% 72.50% 15 4

Team Below 40 Points

2009
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
5 Toronto FC 15 8 4 3 20 14 28 39 53.33% 80.00% 71.79% 6 -9
6 Kansas City 15 4 5 6 18 20 17 33 26.67% 60.00% 51.52% -2 -9
7 New York Red Bulls 15 5 4 6 24 20 19 21 33.33% 60.00% 90.48% 4 -20
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
7 FC Dallas 15 8 4 3 28 19 28 39 53.33% 80.00% 71.79% 9 3
8 San Jose 15 6 4 5 22 21 22 30 40.00% 66.67% 73.33% 1 -14

Team Above 40 Points

2010
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 New York Red Bulls 15 10 2 3 18 9 32 51 66.67% 80.00% 62.75% 9 9
2 Columbus 15 10 2 3 22 12 32 50 66.67% 80.00% 64.00% 10 6
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Pts %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 Los Angeles 15 9 2 4 27 19 29 59 60.00% 73.33% 49.15% 8 18
2 Real Salt Lake 15 11 4 0 31 7 37 56 73.33% 100.00% 66.07% 24 25
3 FC Dallas 15 8 6 1 25 13 30 50 53.33% 93.33% 60.00% 12 14
4 Seattle Sounders FC 15 8 3 4 21 16 27 48 53.33% 73.33% 56.25% 5 4
5 Colorado 15 8 5 2 26 11 29 46 53.33% 86.67% 63.04% 15 12
6 San Jose 15 7 3 5 17 14 24 46 46.67% 66.67% 52.17% 3 1

Team Below 40 Points

2010
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
3 Kansas City 15 7 3 5 25 19 24 39 46.67% 66.67% 61.54% 6 1
4 Chicago 15 4 7 4 14 13 19 36 26.67% 73.33% 52.78% 1 -1
5 Toronto FC 15 6 6 3 19 15 24 35 40.00% 80.00% 68.57% 4 -8
6 New England 15 7 3 5 21 18 24 32 46.67% 66.67% 75.00% 3 -18
7 Philadelphia Union 15 6 6 3 22 16 24 31 40.00% 80.00% 77.42% 6 -14
8 DC United 15 3 1 11 12 25 10 22 20.00% 26.67% 45.45% -13 -26
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
7 Houston 15 6 3 6 25 21 21 33 40.00% 60.00% 63.64% 4 -9
8 Chivas USA 15 6 2 7 19 19 20 28 40.00% 53.33% 71.43% 0 -14

Team Above 40 Points

2011
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 Sporting Kansas City 17 9 6 2 29 51 52.94% 88.24% 56.86% 10
2 Houston Dynamo 17 10 4 3 33 49 58.82% 82.35% 67.35% 4
3 Philadelphia Union 17 7 9 1 22 48 41.18% 94.12% 45.83% 8
4 Columbus Crew 17 9 5 3 30 47 52.94% 82.35% 63.83% -1
5 New York Red Bulls 17 8 6 3 27 46 47.06% 82.35% 58.70% 6
6 Chicago Fire 17 6 8 3 21 43 35.29% 82.35% 48.84% 1
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 LA Galaxy 17 12 5 0 36 67 70.59% 100.00% 53.73% 20
2 Seattle Sounders FC 17 9 4 4 31 63 52.94% 76.47% 49.21% 19
3 Real Salt Lake 17 10 4 3 33 53 58.82% 82.35% 62.26% 8
4 FC Dallas 17 9 3 5 32 52 52.94% 70.59% 61.54% 3
5 Colorado Rapids 17 6 9 2 20 49 35.29% 88.24% 40.82% 3
6 Portland Timbers 17 9 3 5 32 42 52.94% 70.59% 76.19% -8

Team Below 40 Points

2011
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
7 DC United 17 4 8 5 20 39 23.53% 70.59% 51.28%
8 Toronto FC 17 5 8 4 23 33 29.41% 76.47% 69.70%
9 New England 17 4 6 7 18 28 23.53% 58.82% 64.29%
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
7 San Jose 17 5 8 4 23 38 29.41% 76.47% 60.53%
8 Chivas USA 17 5 5 7 20 36 29.41% 58.82% 55.56%
9 Vancouver Whitecaps 17 6 5 6 23 28 35.29% 64.71% 82.14%

Team Above 40 Points

2012
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 Kansas City 17 10 4 3 22 12 33 63 58.82% 82.35% 52.38% 10 15
2 DC United 17 12 4 1 37 17 37 58 70.59% 94.12% 63.79% 20 10
3 New York Red Bulls 17 11 4 2 34 18 35 57 64.71% 88.24% 61.40% 16 11
4 Chicago 17 11 3 3 27 18 36 57 64.71% 82.35% 63.16% 9 5
5 Houston 17 11 6 0 31 12 33 53 64.71% 100.00% 62.26% 19 7
6 Columbus 17 11 3 3 28 21 36 52 64.71% 82.35% 69.23% 7 0
7 Montreal Impact 17 10 3 4 31 19 34 42 58.82% 76.47% 80.95% 12 -6
POS TEAM P W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
1 San Jose 17 10 6 1 43 22 31 66 58.82% 94.12% 46.97% 21 29
2 Real Salt Lake 17 11 2 4 27 15 37 57 64.71% 76.47% 64.91% 12 11
3 Seattle Sounders FC 17 11 2 4 27 11 37 56 64.71% 76.47% 66.07% 16 18
4 Los Angeles 17 10 1 6 31 20 36 54 58.82% 64.71% 66.67% 11 12
5 Vancouver Whitecaps 17 8 6 3 25 17 27 43 47.06% 82.35% 62.79% 8 -6

Team Below 40 Points

2012
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
8 Philadelphia Union 17 7 2 8 22 20 23 36 41.18% 52.94% 63.89% 2 -8
9 New England 17 7 6 4 23 15 27 35 41.18% 76.47% 77.14% 8 -5
10 Toronto FC 17 3 5 9 15 25 14 23 17.65% 47.06% 60.87% -10 -26
POS TEAM GP W D L F A Home Points Total Points %home won %home points %total of points Home- GD GD
6 FC Dallas 34 6 8 3 21 16 26 39 17.65% 41.18% 66.67% 5 -5
7 Colorado 34 8 3 6 29 19 27 37 23.53% 32.35% 72.97% 10 -6
8 Portland Timbers 34 7 6 4 24 21 27 34 20.59% 38.24% 79.41% 3 -22
9 Chivas USA 34 3 3 11 9 30 12 30 8.82% 17.65% 40.00% -21 -34

2008-2012 average, Teams above 40 points

avg HP avg TP avg %HW avg %HP avg %of TP
25 41 46.10% 68.59% 50.56%

2008-2012 average, Teams below 40 points

avg HP avg TP avg %HW avg %HP avg %of TP
24 35 37.67% 67.26% 71.09%

There are a few things that I think you could really take from this, starting with A) there is so much parity in this league that it doesn’t matter if you are a good team or a bad, a game at home should give you a lot of confidence. B) Good teams, play-off teams, teams who want a chance at the Supporters Shield … they win road games. The teams above 40 points and teams below 40 points are only separated by their percentage of total points won at home. Meaning that teams above 40 points only took 50% of their teams total points from home games; they won on the road, too. Where as teams that struggled depended on those home games to make them suck less.

Good teams win at home, but so do bad teams… unless you are DC United. Sorry, Drew.

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One thought on “MLS, Home Field Advantage And Success Rates

  1. It’s interesting that both the top-finishing teams and bottom-finishing teams are able to avoid losses at home equally, but it’s the wins and draws that separate them. I wonder how much of that is that good teams are able to earn those three points, and how much of that is random. Kind of like the Baltimore Orioles last season winning all those one-run and extra-innings games, when most telling baseball statistics said they were probably a mediocre team. Just because you have a good record doesn’t mean you were a good team!

    I want shot ratios, Harrison! 😉

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