In the latest Global Soccer Rankings on FiveThirtyEight.com, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC are ranked 472 out of 637 clubs.
The Hounds, who completed the 2020 season with a second place finish in its Group F standings (11-4-1 overall record), lost to Louisville City FC, 2-0, in the quarterfinal round of the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference playoffs in early October.
In the rankings, only four USL Championship clubs landed in higher spots than the Hounds: Phoenix Rising (323 overall, ahead of numerous MLS clubs), Louisville City FC (431), Reno 1868 FC (437) and Tampa Bay (449). The USL Championship finalists were Phoenix and Tampa Bay, but the league’s Cup Final was cancelled due to numerous COVID-19 positive tests.
Ironically (and unfortunately for soccer fans in Nevada), Reno FC 1868 ceased operations in November.
The Hounds still landed ahead of a number of Major League Soccer clubs, including former USL foes, FC Cincinnati (527) as well as DC United (496) and the Vancouver Whitecaps (532).
For the record, Philadelphia Union II, who the Hounds beat three times in 2020 by a combined score of 12-1, came in last (637th) in the Global Rankings.
The Riverhounds have not yet announced which players they’ll be exercising contract options for the 2021 season. The USL Championship is expected to resume play in May 2021.
More on FiveThirtyEight’s Global Rankings
FiveThirtyEight began making soccer club predictions in January 2017 with six leagues. Since then, they’ve steadily expanded the number of leagues, added features to their interactive graphics, tweaked their predictive model to perform better and published a global club soccer rankings.
FiveThirtyEight’s SPI ratings, which are a best estimate of a team’s overall strength. In this system, every team has an offensive rating that represents the number of goals it would be expected to score against an average team on a neutral field, and a defensive rating that represents the number of goals it would be expected to concede. These ratings, in turn, produce an overall SPI rating, which represents the percentage of available points — a win is worth 3 points, a tie worth 1 point, and a loss worth 0 points — the team would be expected to take if that match were played over and over again.