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NUMBER CRUNCHING: Rising FC FiveThirtyEight.com’s 2020 Title Favorite

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 02/06/20, 11:45AM EST

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Projections place Miami FC as best chance to represent Eastern Conference in Championship Final


After a record-setting campain last season, Phoenix Rising FC is fivethirtyeight.com's preseason favorite to lift the trophy at the 2020 USL Championship Final. | Photo courtesy Phoenix Rising FC

There should be no surprise as to which side fivethirtyeight.com has installed as favorite to claim victory in the 2020 USL Championship Final.

Returning most of the key players from a record-setting season, Phoenix Rising FC sits head-and-shoulders above the field as a 21 percent chance to be celebrating in November. Phoenix’s 38.7 overall rating places it at No. 331 in the world, above a group of sides from Major League Soccer including Minnesota United FC, Columbus Crew SC and Sporting Kansas City.

As for the side rated most likely to face Phoenix from the Eastern Conference? Well, that might raise some eyebrows.

Newcomer The Miami FC rates a 19 percent chance to reach the USL Championship Final according to the analytics-based predictive website, giving it a three-percent edge on Florida rival the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Indy Eleven as the preseason gets underway.

As for Louisville City FC, which will be looking to reach its fourth consecutive USL Championship Final and become the first team to lift the trophy three times? It’s sitting at 12 percent despite returning much of the roster that continued the side’s success in 2019.

Other notable data from the initial 2020 season ratings includes good news for San Antonio FC and Saint Louis FC fans, with both clubs predicted for bounce-back campaigns after missing the postseason last year. SAFC is rated an 83 percent chance to reach the postseason – good for third-best in the Western Conference behind Phoenix and Orange County SC – while STLFC is rated a 75 percent chance to see playoff action for the second time in its history, putting it seventh-best in the East.

Meanwhile, the Championship’s other newcomer, San Diego Loyal SC, comes in at a 55 percent chance to reach the postseason in its inaugural season with a projected total of 46 points. SD Loyal fans should be able to take heart from last year’s projections, which placed then-expansion side New Mexico United outside the playoff picture, only for NMU to reach the postseason at its first time of asking.

As for teams that are going to have to prove it on the field, FC Tulsa’s offseason overhaul hasn’t quite moved the needle for the computers, which gives Head Coach Michael Nsien’s side a 24 percent chance at the postseason, while both Hartford Athletic (36 percent) and Las Vegas Lights FC (22 percent) are also facing an uphill climb according to the projections. 

FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM 2020 USL CHAMPIONSHIP PROJECTED STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Pos. Team SPI Rating Points Goal Diff. Playoff Odds
1. Phoenix Rising FC 38.7 70 +39 98%
2. Orange County SC 27.7 58 +18 87%
3. San Antonio FC 27.4 56 +16 83%
4. Sacramento Republic FC 24.1 54 +12 79%
5. Reno 1868 FC 23.6 53 +9 75%
6. Austin Bold FC 23.0 53 +10

75%

7. Real Monarchs SLC 22.5 51 +7 70%
8.  El Paso Locomotive FC 17.9 48 +2 61%
9.  Portland Timbers 2 20.3 47 +0 59%
10. OKC Energy FC 18.6 47 +0 58%
11. New Mexico United 18.3 46 -1 55%
12. San Diego Loyal SC 17.6 46 -1 55%
13. LA Galaxy II 13.3 39 -14 32%
14. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 11.7 38 -15 28%
15. FC Tulsa 11.5 36 -18 24%
16. Las Vegas Lights FC 10.6 35 -19 22%
17. Tacoma Defiance 10.8 34 -22 19%
18. Rio Grande Valley FC 9.2 33 -22 18%

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Pos. Team SPI Rating Points Goal Diff. Playoff Odds
1. Miami FC 29.6 63 +27 95%
2. Indy Eleven 26.4 61 +23 93%
3. Tampa Bay Rowdies 27.6 61 +23 93%
4. Louisville City FC 26.1 58 +19 89%
5. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 22.8 57 +17 88%
6. North Carolina FC 21.4 54 +11 80%
7. Saint Louis FC 19.2 52 +8 75%
8. Charlotte Independence 16.3 47 +0 62%
9. Birmingham Legion FC 15.4 46 +0 61%
10. Charleston Battery 15.3 46 -1 59%
11. Memphis 901 FC 13.3 43 -6 49%
12. New York Red Bulls II 13.1 41 -10 43%
13. Hartford Athletic 11.8 39 -14 36%
14. Loudoun United FC 11.8 38 -15 33%
15. Atlanta United 2 8.0 32 -25 18%
16. Sporting Kansas City II 7.4 31 -28 14%
17. Philadelphia Union II 7.2 30 -30 12%

 

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