Friday, February 24, 2012

Olman Vargas Deep Dive

1st year Crew player Olman Vargas will find the back of the net 3 - 5 times this year. I'd like to see an assist or two out of him, but that's not his game. His contract? Likely in the $140k range. Average for a Costa Rican MLS player that will run around the pitch for about 1200 minutes this year. When it's all said and done on the 2012 season I will have rated him between 40 and 60 (out of 100).

Off and on over the past couple days I've taken some time to look at not only Olman Vargas, but the whole of the Costa Rican Primera Division and all other Costa Rican players currently playing in MLS. whew.

There are a handful of Costa Rican's playing in the league right now. Nine, to be exact. Most notable are Álvaro Saborío, Roy Miller, Gonzalo Segares and Leo Gonzalez. Saborío netted 11 goals last year for RSL and Segares returned to the Fire to fortify a strong back line.

Out of the nine Costa Rican players in the league only one (Saborío) is an attacking player. And, boy is he. He lit up the Costa Rican League for 5 years. 2003 to 2005 were particularly remarkable 52 goals in 73 appearances. That puts him around the 0.60 Goals per/GM rate. AKA: The Special Rate. Hit 0.50 in any league and you are tops. In MLS he is still at 0.40 (11 goals last year). On the international stage? 0.30. Excellent for this region. The guy is a goal scorer, plain and simple.

On to Olman... just one other Costa Rican forward in MLS isn't enough to go on, but it does give me a starting point. Why look at Mr. Vargas, though? Well, the ground swell of excitement when he was signed recently has leveled out. He entered camp with a slight injury and has only scored one goal in plenty of pre-season runabouts. In otherwords; he has just become a giant question mark.

Digging in a bit.

Olman's goal scoring rate for Costa Rican side Herediano over the past 44 games is 0.39. Impressive. A noteworthy rate. I took it a step further though. Strip out his domestic (PRD) league rate and you get a goal scoring rate of 0.12. A drastic drop when against quality competition.

Why the drop in goals?

Vargas has played in a significant amount of CONCACAF Champions League games. 761 minutes worth, to be exact. 8.5, 90 minute spells (let's just call it 9 games). In that time he has only scored once. In a 8-0 hammering against Alpha United of little ol' Guyana.

As early as last year he has faced the Seattle Sounders and Monterrey (twice each). Good as time as any to score goals, but nowt. He also played some minutes against the Crew in 2009. No goals then but played only as a sub.

Worth remembering: The Crew were the first US based team to beat any team south of Texas in the CCL. It just so happened to be against Olman's Saprissa team on July 16th, 2009.

Lots of expectation for Vargas this year. The next month should tell us a lot. He is sure to see plenty of time in Charleston. Looking forward to seeing him next weekend in person.

Olman Vargas CCL Mins, Goals and Assists LINK.

Vargas Domestic (PRD) stats LINK.

If you want a list of all Costa Rican players abroad, LINK.

Watch Herediano float ball after ball into the box looking for Vargas last year against Seattle. LINK.

Couple last notes here: Warzycha's buddy, Philly Union coach Nowak, has also taken a chance on a player very similar to Vargas in Josué Martinez (Costa Rica). Interesting how that works out, eh? We'll see who performs better.

Looking at Olman's game progression you can see that if he starts to drift and not score goals his coach would bench him. In the couple times that happened, Vargas responded well.

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