Traditionally at the beginning of the Major League Soccer season I produce a statistical guide/yearbook, You can download a free copy of the 2011 MLS Yearbook Free Download at http://issuu.com/enb17/docs/2011mls .This year instead of just providing statistical data I've decided to try use the data and produce projections for the upcoming 2012 season.
The idea of statistical player projection have been around for awhile, I first came across it, in Bill James 1984 Baseball Abstract and because the amount of betting in soccer result projection are also common. Although I think this is the first case of combining statistical player projections with results expectations and trying to come up with realistic statistical expectation for the season.
This material can be useful in picking players for Fantasy Games as well as potentially improving your odds on a bet but personally I think it's the ground work in developing a "Moneyball" theory for Soccer. Since I'm not a mathematician or know the exact terminology for all formulas I will term the idea as Statistical Expectations. Which basically means what a team should expect from a player based on the players own historical performance, historical trends in the league and finally how the club will use the player for the upcoming season.
Although in many ways Soccer is difficult to analyse statistically there is basic data which you can figure out a realistic projected range. The most straight forward is minutes played as in a game a team is expected to play 990 minutes (11 players playing 90 minutes). Than using historical data we can figure the average of goals, shots on target, fouls, yellow and red cards (as well as more detail stats) for those games which interestingly tends to be more stable in soccer than any other sports.
These are some of the statistical trends for the MLS that I used in this work:
Major League Soccer Statistical History 1996-2011 - Home Advantage - http://enbsports.blogspot.com/2012/03/major-league-soccer-statistical-history.html
Major League Soccer Statistical History 1996-2011 - Goals per Game - http://enbsports.blogspot.com/2012/03/major-league-soccer-statistical-history_08.html
Major League Soccer Statistical History 1996-2011 - Type of Goals Percentage - http://enbsports.blogspot.com/2012/03/major-league-soccer-statistical-history_7480.html
Major League Soccer Statistical History 1996-2011 - Assists and Shots on Goal - http://enbsports.blogspot.com/2012/03/major-league-soccer-statistical-history_6056.html
Major League Soccer Statistical History 1996-2011 - Disciplinary - http://enbsports.blogspot.com/2012/03/major-league-soccer-statistical-history_3840.html
I will be posting data on individual MLS clubs with their statistical expectation for the upcoming 2012 season and will also breakdown in more detail how I came up with these results. I think its best to start off with projected standing for the upcoming season. This is the result that I'm least confidant about as I'm still not sure if projected player stats relate directly to wins, draws, and losses although it always interesting to post results and than later on see what happens.
So here is my 2012 MLS Projected Standings based on Statistical Expectations