Strength of Schedule

Where does the Fire's 2017 strength of schedule stack up?

Following last week's release of the 2017 MLS schedule, the good folks at took on the task of seeing which clubs were assigned the toughest and easiest schedules based on last year's points totals. 
The Fire feature among the group of teams facing the toughest slates in 2017, ranking sixth out of 22 clubs and third among Eastern Conference sides. Chicago's 2017 opponents finished with an average points-per-game sum of 1.36.  
The Vancouver Whitecaps are staring down the most challenging schedule in the upcoming year, followed by Chicago's home-opener opponent, Real Salt Lake. At the other end of the spectrum is Columbus Crew SC, against whom the Fire will kick off the 2017 season on Saturday, March 4 at MAPFRE Stadium.
There are three clubs which Chicago will face three times in 2017: Montreal, Columbus and New England.
These numbers tell only part of the story, with other factors -- long stretches of travel, for example -- always contributing to how difficult a schedule can be. And, of course, it's a brand new season with drastically different rosters, so we'll all have to wait to see just how accurate these rankings prove to be.