Home-field advantage is greater in MLS than in other top leagues

In Week 14 we saw 12 of 15 home teams win, with the three other games ending in draws. This is a trend we have seen over the course of the entire 2017 season, which has been marked by an increased winning percentage and points per game for home teams.

Be sure to check out Matt Doyle's roundup of the weekend for a full breakdown of the stats surrounding home-field advantage in MLS.

Digging into some advanced statistics provided by Opta, we can say that the advantage MLS teams experience is unlike any other when compared to some of the top European leagues.

The average expected goals differential for home teams this season has been +.43. Putting this number into context, no "top five" European league (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1) has seen home teams have an expected goal differential aveage higher than .37 over the past two seasons. Basically, according to the data, the home-field advantage in MLS this year is something we don't see in those leagues.

When comparing this season to previous years, we see that the increased success of home teams could be do to a little luck. The .43 xGD average is actually less than what we saw in the league last year. In 2016 the average sat at .54, very close to the actual goal differential of .55 per game.

Home team goal differential per game

Year Average GD Average xGD
2016 .55 .54
2017 .78 .43

Given these numbers, we could see a drop in some of these extraordinary numbers over the course of the rest of the season.

Two important notes before looking at the weekend's numbers: Penalties have a value of .79, and own goals are not factored into the values.

Game Result Home xG Away xG
Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 2.25 .23
New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union 2-1 1.27 .43
Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC 3-0 3.27 .50
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Atlanta United 3-1 2.33 .88
D.C. United vs. LA Galaxy 0-0 1.13 .72
Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls 1-0 .90 .68
New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC 3-0 3.07 1.39
FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake 6-2 2.86 .91
Colorado Rapids vs. Columbus Crew SC 2-1 1.39 1.12
Orlando City SC vs. Chicago Fire 0-0 .15 1.17
Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo 1-0 1.23 .45
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