How important is home field advantage in MLS?
Well if you want to make the playoffs, taking advantage of home cooking is quite important indeed.
The average number of points gained at home by the 10 MLS playoff teams in 2012 was 35.3, which accounted for an average of 63% of their total points.
WATCH: 'Caps happy to be home
Home matches proved to be even more important for Whitecaps FC last year as they qualified for the playoffs for the first time. The ‘Caps earned 70% of their points at BC Place last season, second highest among playoff teams. Only MLS Cup finalists Houston Dynamo were higher with 74% of points earned at home.
Since 2012, the Blue and White have lost only three times at BC Place, holding a record of 10W-3L-6D in MLS matches – including a perfect 2W-0L-0D record so far in 2013. Their longest home unbeaten run last year was 10 matches (6W-0L-4D) from April 21 to August 15 (beginning and ending against FC Dallas).
When comparing opponents, the ‘Caps hold a 9W-2L-4D record against Western Conference opponents at BC Place. Included in this is a 2W-0L-0D record against this Saturday afternoon’s opponents Real Salt Lake.
The leading goalscorer for Whitecaps FC at BC Place is Camilo, who has netted nine goals at the fortress. That accounts for more than a 1/4 of the 34 goals that Vancouver have scored on their home pitch. Interestingly, three of those nine goals have come against Real Salt Lake.
With six points already in the bag, and an estimated 35 points needed, the ‘Caps are approximately 17% of the way there. Another 29 points are now needed, which means another 10 wins in the remaining 15 home matches would do the trick.
But of course, the more points at home you can gain the higher you can climb in the standings, and ultimately the less points you need from the gruelling road demands of MLS.
So with another home match on Saturday comes another important opportunity to crunch some numbers.