What do we do about Sporting Kansas City?
Consider this more than a spotlight on the defending champions. Consider it an exercise in Power Rankings mechanics. What do we do about a team that has so many debilitating but temporary problems? Do we give them a ranking that reflects this team that will be irrelevant come July? Or do we give Peter Vermes’ team a pass and keep a struggling group near the top of our rankings?
The reason I ask is because I don’t know. It’s a Power Rankings-busting problem. For an exercise that’s already less relevant than whimsical, the process becomes complete fancy if we start assessing teams playing (and selecting talent) at their extremes. Do we really need a Power Ranking of depleted squads?
The alternative, the path I’ve taken, is to take a squad’s losses into account. Unfortunately, that means a team that’s 5-4-3 — one that, at the moment, is clearly not one of the league’s best — fourth on our list.
In that sense, these Power Rankings are already useless (or, more useless). A “4” next to Sporting implies they’re the fourth-best team in the league, right now, yet they’re clearly not. To put them any lower, however, leaves us judging a team based on these short-term, extreme circumstances. Just consider that number “where he thinks they’ll be post-World Cup.”
Have a solution? If so, let me know, below. For now, here’s my look at Major League Soccer after 12 weeks: