"You are what your record says you are."
The quote above comes from legendary football coach Bill Parcells and it's hard to argue with. There are always other factors in a team's overall production and performance, but when it comes down to it, all that matters is what's in the win, loss and draw columns.
As we enter the final month before the World Cup break, the table is beginning to take shape. The top six in the East have opened up a six-point gap above the playoff line, while Sporting Kansas City and LAFC have separated themselves a bit in the West. Of course, a major factor for some of these teams is the amount of matches played, with Columbus Crew SC already playing 12 and D.C. United sitting at just eight matches played.
While we discuss whether a team is lucky or unlucky, overperforming or underperforming, a major factor in a team's record is what teams they have played to earn it. Some have had the benefit of a home-heavy schedule (like FC Dallas), while Montreal, NYCFC and D.C. have spent a lot of time on the road.
Taking a look at the points per game a team's opponents have averaged so far can tell us who has had the benefit of an easy schedule so far and who has had to endure a tough one.
The figure above averages the points per game a team's opponents have earned, factoring in the differences between home and road performances. It also excludes the result in the match in question. For example, if we were trying to figure out the difficulty of Columbus' schedule and had to get the figure for a home win vs. D.C. United, the number would be .20, not .17 since their away record is 0-4-1 if you take out a loss.
The higher the average, the tougher the schedule. We can see that NYCFC have easily had the toughest schedule, which is no surprise considering they already made trips to Sporting KC, New England, Atlanta, LAFC and Portland. The Galaxy's schedule has been a lot tougher than it looks, considering their home matches have come against tough road opponents including LAFC, SKC and Atlanta.
Of the five teams with the easiest schedules so far, four sit in the top eight of the Supporters' Shield standings. The team with the easiest schedule so far, Toronto FC, has not been able to take advantage of it as they have been felled by injury woes and used second-string sides because of their run to the final in the Concacaf Champions League. With their schedule toughening up, a run to the top of the Eastern Conference could prove even more difficult.