Steve Fenn sets the MLS table.
The first month of 2013 MLS has just finished, but many are already trumpeting clubs’ achievements or bemoaning the lack thereof. Chivas USA and Montreal Impact gear is flying off the shelves apparently (that’s not true, but you get the drift.)
Yet, here is an important fact as sure as the stacks of yellow cards sitting in Oswaldo Minda’s locker stall.
Everyone in MLS has either 29 or 30 matches left in their season in which form will surely shift.
Is there a way to extrapolate from the four or five game observations seen to date?
First, let’s illustrate which clubs offensive & defensive achievements have to this point been so far outside the norm as to be unsustainable. The graph on the left is each club’s goals and shots on goal per game for each season from 2006 through 2013, sized based on number of games played. The graph on the right is the same format, but with the sum of goals allowed and shots faced by each club’s keepers. (Note: Goalkeeping stats don’t quite tie out to total defensive stats, but the assumption is they are close and as a note, were the only historical resource available. The defensive graph’s axes are reversed so that in both graphs clubs would be striving for the top right.)
Click [here] to see an interactive version where you can filter down by club or year.
The best fit lines illuminate the overall average strike rate for the league since 2006. Almost every one of the 2006-2012 club-seasons amass in the middle of the graph and around that line, displaying the general range one can expect almost every club to land in by the end of a season.
Thirteen clubs offensively and twelve defensively fall outside of that mass thus far in 2013, and a regression to the mean should be the expectation.