SEBA Projections

MLS, USL, and NWSL projections through May 6th

Below are the 2018 MLS season forecasts using data from games through May 6.

Some key points up front:

  • Union playoff chances: The Union now have a 12.7 percent chance of making the MLS playoffs.
  • Bethlehem playoff chances: The Steel are up to a 38.7 percent chance to make the USL playoffs.
  • Plus/minus: The two top players in the league, in terms of their teams’ goal differentials when they’re on the field, are Atlanta’s Michael Parkhurst and the New York Red Bulls’ Sean Davis.
  • Data fix: I made a fix to the model based off of input from my colleagues, in which I discovered that for non-MLS matches, old matches weren’t diminishing as quickly as they should be. This fix may show some greater changes to USL and NWSL as a result.


Interactive Charts

MLS forecasts

MLS forecasts over time

USL forecasts

USL forecasts over time

NWSL forecasts

NWSL forecasts over time

Power Rankings

The scores used for these rankings are the expected points-per-game for all league opponents both home and away.

SEBA has Philadelphia decreasing from 19th to 21st.

Currently, Philadelphia’s performance expectation is set by the following distribution of minutes:

Philadelphia +/- for 2018

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MLS +/- for 2018

[table id=65 /]


Playoffs probability and more

Philadelphia has decreased from a 21.4% to a 12.7% chance of making the playoffs.

Next is the distribution of Philadelphia’s points against the MLS East’s sixth seed in all the simulations.


Philadelphia decreased from 0.1% to a 0% chance of winning the Supporters’ Shield.

The Union decreased from a 0.5% to a 0.3% chance of winning the MLS Cup.


Philadelphia’s chances of having a U.S. Open Cup win decreased from 2.8% to 2.7%.


The 2019 CONCACAF Champions League qualification from the U.S. was supposed to be the 2017 & 2018 winners of the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup. This is why Kansas City has already qualified. However, since Toronto (not eligible for a U.S. qualification slot) won the MLS Cup, that slot (and any other future Canadian or Kansas City wins) will be given to the club with the most regular season points over both 2017 and 2018.

Philadelphia decreased from a 3.3% chance to a 3.0% chance of qualifying for the 2019 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The following are Philadelphia’s odds at different prizes over time.

The following are the probabilities of each final playoffs placement for Philadelphia.

The following shows the summary of the simulations in an easy table format.

[table id=59 /]

Next is a table showing the difference between this forecast and the last forecast.

[table id=61 /]

The following shows the difficulty for each team’s remaining schedule. Higher values means an easier remaining schedule.

The following shows the expectations for upcoming Philadelphia matches:

Model Validation

The following shows SEBA’s model error compared with random guessing. To do this, we save forecasts for the entire season’s games for every forecast’s data, and update the error charts all the way through the season.

Lower error is better.


Power Rankings

SEBA has Bethlehem increasing from 23rd to 19th since the last published forecast.

Playoffs probability and more

Bethlehem increased from a 29.7% to a 38.7% chance of making the playoffs.

Bethlehem increased from a 0.3% to a 0.6% chance of claiming the USL regular season title from the last published forecast.

Bethlehem’s odds of winning the USL championship increased from 1.6% to 2.1% since the last published forecast.

The following is Bethlehem’s odds at different prizes over time.

The following shows the probability of each post-playoff ranking finish:

The following is the strength of remaining schedules for each team. Higher values mean an easier remaining schedule.

The following are the upcoming expectations for Bethlehem matches.



The following are the initial projections for the 2018 NWSL season.

The following shows the remaining strength of schedule, as we project. Higher values represent easier remaining schedules.



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