Just four weeks separate the fans of OCSC and the start of the 2016 season. The anticipation and fiery hope is akin to a new form of static in the humid Central Florida air. Perhaps the feeling of something new has worn off as this year does not seem to have the same type of early engagement as last year's inaugural season, but there is a different type of swell, like a rip current under the calm ocean waves. With that reserved suspense hanging over The City Beautiful this week This week, The Mane Land would like to hopefully strengthen the surge of expectations by looking at some possible point totals for the Lions this season.
Returning readers will recall last week's look into the Orlando City season and whether or not Orlando would be considered favorites or underdogs in each match. In summary, the article worked through the current strength of schedule pieces circling the web and built upon those by creating a plus or minus points measure by using the average home and away points earned for each club in each match within the MLS structure for 2016. The final metric which would show the relative strength for Orlando in each match spoke to the over or under if you will.
There were noticeable periods when Orlando looked to have a stretch of matches where they could make a good run of points but also three periods noting difficult stretches for the second year MLS team. Taking into account the same spread that was built last week's piece, this article will talk to some of the point outcomes we could see in 2016.
The three different looks--positive, negative and split--will consider different methodologies for the games that were shown to be in contention last week from a favorite and underdog point of view. The matches that were through the use of the created points differential metric to one-sided will stay one-sided and those points will not be changed in these predictions.
If we first baseline the number of points Orlando can earn on the season by looking at all the games not in contention, a total of 14 home matches and 11 away matches, and then using the average points earned from last year at home, 1.53, and away, 1.06, we can come to the conclusion in those matches Orlando will be sitting at 33 total points. However, that still leaves nine matches still up in the air essentially, totaling 27 points. Here we can fashion the season in those positive, negative and split descriptions.
If we consider a negative split at earning 33 percent of total points available, a split at earning 50 percent of total points available and a positive look at earning 66 percent of total points available then Orlando could earn in these three scenarios totals of nine, 14, and 21 points. The end of the year points would look like this (adding together the assumed 33 points to each of those totals):
Negative - 42
Split - 47
Positive - 54
With the opponents in these nine contention matches being; New York City FC twice, Portland, Philadelphia twice, New York Red Bulls, Chicago, Colorado and Columbus some can argue that Orlando may have a good chance of earning the positive number of points available or even more. That assumption becomes even more viable one we understand that the three toughest matches, Portland, NYRB and Columbus are all played in Orlando.
Another reason to pay close attention to these matches is that Orlando last year ended up with 44 total points, five points out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. This year, finding themselves hopefully in playoff contention and quite possibly playing in the winter months, Orlando will need to earn better than a split of the points available from those matches if we consider the line for the playoffs being around 49 total points.
So, here is to counting down the days, the hours, and the minutes until the 2016 MLS kickoff. Here is to counting down the points needed to reach the playoffs. Go Lions!