The famous quote by Henry George Bohn used in the title of this article is a convenient way to summarize the conventional wisdom that playing on their home field provides a substantial advantage to professional soccer teams. Home teams enter matches with an expectation that they will be getting points. How often have you heard quotes like the following fall from the lips of players and coaches:
“It was important that we get all three points at home.”
“We are going back home with a stolen three points in our pocket.”
“We need to make our stadium a fortress that teams fear to enter.”
“We will take a point on the road.”
“We dropped two points at home tonight that might come back to haunt us later.”
Of course, a number of features like size of the field, the vocal support of home crowds, and even elevation play a part, but let’s take a look at how results have played out so far this season in the USL. Last season the Monarchs went 12-1-3 at home to average 2.43 points per game. On the road, their 8-4-4 record equated to 1.75 points per game.
The following tables show the overall, home and road record of each team in the Western Conference and in the Eastern Conference so far this season. It also Provides their point total and a breakdown of their Points Per Game in all matches, home matches, and road matches.
As expected the Points Per Game are higher at home than they are on the road. In fact, although the average is 1.55 PPG at home, three western conference teams (Sacramento Republic FC, Real Monarchs SLC, and Swope Park Rangers) are still perfect at home while only one team (Reno 1868 FC) has yet to get any points at home.
However, with an average of 1.31 PPG on the road so far this season, the old “go for a point” approach seems to be leaving points on the table. 6 of the 17 teams in the Western Conference are averaging at least 2 points per game on the road. While some of those teams (including Las Vegas Lights FC who will be a Zion Park Stadium on Monday) have yet to play a number of matches on the road, there are only two teams that have yet to get points on the road.
in the Eastern Conference, the divergence between home and road points is larger and the average PPG on the road of only 0.95 makes a point on the road look good. Only two Eastern Conference teams have an average PPG of 2.00 or greater. Louisville City FC is the defending cup winner and Cincinnati FC is a major contender for MLS expansion. Five teams in the Eastern Conference have yet to gain a point on the road.
With the two conferences playing only a very limited number of cross-conference games, it will be interesting to follow along this season to see if the differences between the two conferences persist without head-to-head competition.
Western Conference Standings with PPG
|Sacramento Republic FC||4-0-2||3-0-0||1-0-2||14||2.33||3.00||1.67|
|Orange County SC||4-2-1||1-1-1||3-1-0||13||1.86||1.33||2.25|
|Real Monarchs SLC||4-1-0||1-0-0||3-1-0||12||2.40||3.00||2.25|
|Phoenix Rising FC||3-1-2||1-1-1||2-0-1||11||1.83||1.33||2.33|
|Saint Louis FC||3-1-2||2-0-1||1-1-1||11||1.83||2.33||1.33|
|Swope Park Rangers||3-1-2||2-0-0||1-1-2||11||1.83||3.00||1.25|
|Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC||3-3-1||2-1-1||1-2-0||10||1.43||1.75||1.00|
|Portland Timbers 2||3-3-1||1-1-0||2-2-1||10||1.43||1.50||1.40|
|Las Vegas Lights FC||2-0-2||1-0-2||1-0-0||8||2.00||1.67||3.00|
|Seattle Sounders FC 2||2-4-1||2-2-0||0-2-1||7||1.00||1.50||0.33|
|San Antonio FC||1-2-3||1-1-1||0-1-2||6||1.00||1.33||0.67|
|Rio Grande Valley FC||1-3-2||1-0-2||0-3-0||5||0.83||1.67||0.00|
|Reno 1868 FC||1-3-1||0-3-0||1-0-1||4||0.80||0.00||2.00|
|OKC Energy FC||1-5-0||1-3-0||0-2-0||3||0.50||0.75||0.00|
|LA Galaxy II||0-4-3||0-1-2||0-3-1||3||0.43||0.67||0.25|
|Tulsa Roughnecks FC||0-3-2||0-2-1||0-1-1||2||0.40||0.33||0.50|
Eastern Conference Standings with PPG
|Louisville City FC||4-0-1||3-0-0||1-0-1||13||2.60||3.00||2.00|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||4-2-0||3-0-0||1-2-0||12||2.00||3.00||1.00|
|New York Red Bulls II||3-1-2||3-0-0||0-1-2||11||1.83||3.00||0.67|
|Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC||2-0-3||2-0-1||0-0-2||9||1.80||2.33||1.00|
|Atlanta United 2||1-1-3||1-1-2||0-0-1||6||1.20||1.25||1.00|
|Bethlehem Steel FC||1-2-2||1-1-2||0-1-0||5||1.00||1.25||0.00|
|North Carolina FC||1-3-2||0-2-0||1-1-2||5||0.83||0.00||1.25|
|Ottawa Fury FC||0-3-1||0-0-1||0-3-0||1||0.25||1.00||0.00|
|Toronto FC II||0-4-1||0-0-1||0-4-0||1||0.20||1.00||0.00|