Monday, October 8, 2012

Alan Gordon, USMNT Player

Alan Gordon is the most effective offensive player in Major League Soccer this year.

Alan Gordon's Goals + Assist per 90 minutes is an astonishing 1.39 (13 Goals, 7 Assists in 1297 minutes). That's the best in Major League Soccer when counting all players with 450 minutes or more. He also hasn't gone more than 2 matches without a goal this year and scored a goal in 3 straight games twice.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because he and Jurgen Klinsmann are taking a lot of heat. Not just normal heat, no. Venomous USA superfan vitriol for his inclusion on the national team squad for the upcoming World Cup Qualifying matches.

I'm not some sort of Alan Gordon fan but I have seen him play on a number of occasions this year. What's funny is the lasting impression I have of him is when he scored late on the Crew earlier this year to steal a draw. It was a late game and I was watching the San Jose feed at home in Virginia on my folks computer and there was a post game interview with Gordon where he came off as a grade "A" jerk.

A 1.39 Goal+Assist rate can't be ignored, regardless of the league. It's better than guys like Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, David Beckham, Fredy Montero (I have the list on the right of this blog). I know that his role is to come on as a sub and become an instant threat and that's probably how he will be used under Klinsmann.

Alan Gordon is a dangerman and despite his age (30) should absolutely be tried out on the international stage.

Back to the Superfan.

It's a bit of a generalization (but not unfair) to say that the USA Superfan has a very myopic view of soccer. They only watch (and probably support) the best teams and players in the world and focus heavily on international matches. I know this because I was this type of person not many years ago. Telltale superfan signs were on display here in Columbus when the US Men's team was in town. The difference in the way the game is view between a Crew fan and a USMNT fan is stark and miles apart.

What's not uncommon to find a Crew supporter who also follows the USMNT but you'll be hard pressed to find a zealous USMNT who is also a Crew fan (I think that makes sense).

The US Men's team is not anywhere close to where it could and should be and has lacked a true target man for some time. Gordon fits the bill.

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