Farewell 2018 soccer. We will miss thee. As our Patreons will already be familiar, there were a few interesting jumps this month. Sadly, with all three MLS teams and Ottawa Fury FC failing to make playoffs, this post will wrap things up for the monthly elo ranking updates for this year. The PLSQ Cup and the League1 Ontario Playoffs concluded over the past couple of weekends, and some results did not go as anticipated.

In the 2018-only ranking, Montreal Impact briefly flirted at the top of the table. If the final week of the season had proceeded in a more predictable fashion, they would have remained at the top. However, Montreal lost and Toronto FC managed a victory over Atlanta United, allowing them to retake the top position.

Vancouver’s final victory of the season was not enough to bring them back into 2nd place, although they have gained just under 22 points since the beginning of October.

As mentioned above, Ottawa floundered in October. Fury left their chances of making the playoffs right to the final match, and then proceeded to lose, badly. As a result, they’ve dropped roughly 10-points to 1192.658. They’re still in 4th, followed by Calgary Foothills FC & Toronto FC II.

The PLSQ Cup offered many surprises. Top-ranked AS Blainville were eliminated in the first round, causing them to lose enough points to slip down to 9th place. Bottom of table FC Lanaudiere managed to grab the cup, lifting them up by 11 points to 34th, just above CS Fabrose. They would have gained more points, but the final match was determined by PKs, which you will recall, are not part of the elo rating system as we only take the score during played time.

League1 Ontario’s playoffs helped consolidate the rankings, as teams that were expected to triumph, generally triumphed. Vaughan’s victory in the final helped propel the team up 18 points in October, landing them in 10th place above USL League Two’s Victoria Highlanders. The runners-up, Woodbridge Strikers, lost 3 points on the month, holding them steady in 15th. Sigma FC performed well in the round-robin stage, moving up 13 points into 13th above Toronto FC III.





In the cumulative ratings, TFC continued to drop, with their elo ratings down 28 points on the month. This makes for a huge loss for TFC over the course of the year, having dropped from 1568.695 at the beginning of the year to a more modest 1452.583.

Montreal and Vancouver were both up on the month, with the teams ending at 1397.048 and 1389.728 respectively. When looking back to the beginning of 2018, Montreal is the only MLS side showing a gain on the year, having increased their elo rating by almost 55 points.

Ottawa Fury FC is down by 10 points, while Toronto FC II managed to regain 5. However, when looking back over the year, both USL-sides have dropped in the ratings, with Ottawa shedding 40 points and the Young Reds down almost 57 points.

Vaughan Azzurri have stepped over a faltering AS Blainville taking 8th place. This was made possible thanks to Vaughan’s triumph over Woodbridge (who drop to 12th) in the L1O Final, and Blainville’s collapse at the start of the PLSQ Cup. Although we don’t yet know what the Canadian Championship will actually look like in 2019, if these two sides go head-to-head, it should be a fantastic match up.

PLSQ Cup champions, FC Lanaudiere, have moved from 35th to 33rd, gaining 12 points through October. The team is still down substantially over the course of the year due to a dismal regular season (43.044 points), but their recovery at the end is nothing short of miraculous.






With 2018’s competitions now come to a close for the Canadian teams, we can reaffirm what we’re looking at for 2019.

The Canadian Premier League is all but officially taking the field with only 7 teams. At this point, it would take a miracle with a couple extra billion dollars to spring an 8th team into the mix. With this taken into account, official word is unchanged on 2019, with the following changes:

  • 7 new teams in CPL
  • 1 new PLSQ side
  • TFC II moving from USL Championship to USL League One
  • 1 less L1O team (TFC III)
  • 3 new PCSL teams

In American Soccer, we haven’t any additional word on sanctioning for USL League One, NPSL Pro, or NISA. Both League One and NISA have begun announcing teams (or cities). NPSL Pro has been silent, but the rumour mill says we should start hearing those announcements in November, with a start date in Fall 2019. We still don’t have any word on how those new leagues will affect the Open Cup.

One of a million different possible ways
to setup the 2019 V-Cup.

If I had to guess, NISA & NPSL Pro will be excluded from the 2019 Open Cup. New spots will likely be created for USL League One who will enter one round prior to USL Championship. With NISA & NPSL Pro targeting a Fall/Winter schedule, they will not have started play (and thus don’t qualify for the cup).

Again, we don’t know how the CPL will fully affect the Canadian Championship, but we’re pretty solid on 13 teams competing (unless they expand to also include USL League Two, which would bring us to 18). I would fully support expanding it to include that league, as it would better balance the leagues in these ratings. Without including USL-2 sides, I think the easiest way to setup the competition may be as shown to the right. It’s not great, but it works and gives (most) teams an equal start. You can regionalize the starting round, or go with a random draw, and then have the previous year’s winner enjoy 2-byes and enter in the semi-finals (round 3). I’d prefer a round-robin top & bottom advance type method, but I really don’t see the CSA implementing that.

As we look at the cumulative ratings, the American Division 4 league (USL League Two / PDL ) has spread out quite a bit, and the two Canadian Division 3 Leagues are starting to force their way up. This is partially because League Two has an especially short season, and partially because of the point-drain that the American teams have as a result of their Open Cup performances. If the Canadian sides competed in the Canadian Championship, there would be an opportunity for these clubs to draw points from other leagues in the Canadian pyramid, and would provide a better basis of comparison between the leagues.

Although we’re all out of soccer for 2018, there’s still plenty to examine. We’ll need to look at the balance of the leagues, including where we’ll be starting CPL and USL League One in these ratings for 2019. We’ll also have to examine match weighting, although I don’t anticipate changes for existing leagues (I’ve already tweaked MLS for their new playoff format), I will need to determine the weights for the new leagues, including how to balance Champions League (and possibly the CONCACAF League if rumours/hopes become reality).

Unfortunately, a lot of this depends on the still secret league rules concerning season, play offs, cup runs, roster salary cap, etc.

I’ll go into more details, and reveal the tweaks to these ratings as they are available. In the meanwhile, I have traveled back in time and recalculated the PCSL. As the cumulative ratings are supposed to be from 2017, I wanted to recalculate the PCSL’s standings for that additional year and move it forward. As a result, when 2019 rolls around, those teams will start at different numbers than where they ended 2018, but everything on the list will go back to 2017.

For those curious: Khalsa Sporting Club will be a little lower and Vancouver United will be higher. Patreons will be able to see the updated 2018 rankings & ratings next Friday.

More news as leagues release the information.

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