In my previous USL piece, Ranking The USL, the 2021 teams were ranked using a bastardization of the traditional RPI method to act as a data-based replacement for the somewhat questionable power rankings. This new methodology, henceforth to be known as the USL Power Index, provided some interesting deviations from the points table as well as the USL produced power rankings. Taking things one step further, I wanted to provide a snapshot of how the ranking for each team played out over the course of the 2021 season and to also see how teams of the past ranked using the USL Power Index.
2021 By Month
Let’s start with the month-by-month breakdown of 2021. Small sample sizes produce some questionable results, so May isn’t exactly the best gauge of the teams, but beyond that, the results largely adhere to the general order one would expect. Over time, you can watch teams such as Hartford Athletic and Indy Eleven, who didn’t have terrible starts, fall continuously. Conversely, you had teams like Tulsa and Miami FC climb over time, and teams such as Memphis bounce all over the place. Those at the top, like Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Phoenix Rising, were fairly stable in their placement.
Pulling in data from season’s past can help us to better understand the quality of the top performers this season. The year 2020 was omitted because it was an outlier in about every conceivable facet of life and the schedule setup forced by ‘Rona produced some funky results. All in all, 130 teams were in the mix. Below are the top 30 teams according to the USL Power Index. Of those 30, a whopping 10 from 2021 made the cut. The 2021 Tampa and Phoenix teams fell 4th and 5th only to FC Cincinnati’s 2018 squad, Phoenix of 2019, and Louisville City’s 2018 championship team. Interestingly enough, only one top 10 team to win it all was the 2018 LouCity squad.
Now, let’s take a look at how all 2021 teams ranked. It was a fairly even distribution with 16 teams in the top half of the full list and 15 in the bottom half with the 2021 Loudoun United team only topping four other sides (ouch).
I’m open to any feedback, comments, or questions on this USL Power Index calculation. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter at PurpleSDF. If you happen to be a Louisville City fan or someone interested in checking out some LouCity content, you can check out my work over at VamosMorados.com.
Thank you for reading and I look forward to sharing the USL Power Index results during the next regular season!