Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Revs Sign an Impressive Player

Today, the New England Revolution signed Spanish player Carles Gil from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna. Frank Dell’Apa of the Boston Globe is reporting that the Revs paid $2 million for the player and will pay him another $2 million this year to play for the long-trying-to-keep-up side.

Gil is a good player who has had significant time with Aston Villa and Valencia, so the only hanging questions might be; how will he like playing in Foxboro? How will he like the surface? What about travel?

The Revs don't have another player of his pedigree on the squad. Nor do they have any other Spanish speaking European player. These are things to look at, it's important in a player finding their footing. It is possible that Gil is laser-focused on making a name for himself, but will he stick it out after a few bad losses and a late night game to Vancouver? We'll see.

What isn't in question is that he is a quality player and not one you see often in New England.

Technical Director Michael Burns says "he's a No. 10, an attacking playmaker." This means that Diego Fagundez is out of a job. At least in that role. I'm thinking they might move him out to a right mid role, or... right off the roster.

We'll have to see. Revs are in the state of change. Kelyn Rowe is gone. Lee Nguyen is long gone.

This does help their starting XI, but it doesn't get them to anything close to the top. If he assimilates to MLS things, it just moves the Revs up from out of the playoffs to more... playoff-like.

Player Ratings (avg)TransferMarkt Value (000)
1TFC70.565.4$ 25,027$ 3,502
2NYC70.564.6$ 16,303$ 4,470
3ATL70.466.7$ 49,014$ 14,484
4DCU69.756.6$ 21,934$ 2,990
5NYR69.764.9$ 20,192$ 3,745
6MIN69.657.1$ 13,800$ 4,470
7MTL69.665.2$ 13,410$ 4,876
9CLB69.366.2$ 24,671$ 4,180
9NER69.165.6$ 13,955$ 5,811
10PHI68.256.5$ 9,933$ 5,529
11FCC68.164.3$ 11,420$ 4,790
12CHI67.863.7$ 17,022$ 3,955
13ORL67.262.2$ 10,365$ 3,309 

If they can manage to keep Fagundez, this team looks alright in making the playoffs.

Minnesota United: A Quick Look, Opara

After giving up more goals than any other MLS team over the last two seasons, Minnesota United added a needed piece to their team yesterday in Ike Opara.

Opara is a decent center-back who has spent the last six seasons working his way into a starting role with Sporting KC. While not a game-changing player, he does add some stability to an otherwise shaky back four.

In order to acquire Opara, Minnesota had to give up about a million in MLS Allocation $. While it's still a little early to say exactly what allocation money is worth, I think if you need a position filled... you need a position filled.

Another quality defensive player was recently added as well, Romain Métanire (Stade Reims, France), who appears to be filling a right-back role. On top of that, they picked up Osvaldo Alonso (CDM) from Seattle this year.

These moves fill huge holes, but I'm not sure it's enough as I think a lot of this comes down to the way the team plays. You can't just through players at a problem and expect it to be fixed. That said, I do think this gets them off the mat and into the middle of the pack if they stay healthy (starting XI is old with only 2 players under the age of 28).

Here is how they stack up against the teams in the East that have been evaluated:

Player Ratings (avg)TransferMarkt Value (000)
1ATL71.066.7$ 66,429$ 14,484
2TFC70.565.4$ 25,027$ 3,502
3NYC70.564.6$ 16,303$ 4,470
4DCU69.756.6$ 21,934$ 2,990
5NYR69.764.9$ 20,192$ 3,745
6MIN69.657.1$ 13,800$ 4,470
7MTL69.665.2$ 13,410$ 4,876
9CLB69.366.2$ 24,671$ 4,180
9NER68.764.5$ 13,278$ 5,115
10PHI68.256.5$ 9,933$ 5,529
11FCC68.164.3$ 11,420$ 4,790
12CHI67.863.7$ 17,022$ 3,955
13ORL67.262.2$ 10,365$ 3,309 

You'll notice that their bench is still suspect and they have average value in their starting XI.

Monday, January 28, 2019

USMNT: Berhalter Mined Mihailovic

Djordje Mihailovic was the first to score in a game for new USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter. Most likely never heard of the player before he was chosen to start, so who is he? How did he get on Berhalter's radar?

It likely starts with his father Aleks Mihailovic who is a well respected and well-known coach in the US soccer-sphere. Aleks was a player in the old NASL that turned into a major player in the United States Adult Soccer Association.

His son, Djordje, is a chip off that block. After spending time with his father's club (Chicago Blast) as a youth, he moved into the Chicago Fire Academy in 2013 around the age of 14. The Chicago Fire signed him in 2017 on a Homegrown deal where he now makes around $96k a year.


At 20 years old, Djordje has played a total of around 1300 minutes in MLS, scoring 2 goals and assisting on another 6 in two seasons. Last year, Chicago only ran him out for 600 minutes where he scored a goal and assisted on another four.

Critical to his performance this past MLS season was starting against both Gregg Berhalter's Columbus Crew (August 24, 2018) and Bob Bradley's LAFC (September 29, 2018) where he had a goal and an assist to go along with 2 key passes in a rare Fire win on the season (3-1).

Djordje has a  0.54 non-penalty goal + assist (NPG+A) metric within 1300 minutes of MLS play. For a 20-year-old from Chicago, that is impressive. This past season his 1 Goal, 4 Assists (0.77 NPG+A per game) was the highest by an American with over 500 minutes.

At his age, the position he plays and that type of production it would have been hard for Berhalter to not bring him in.


It's a positive sign that players like Djordje are getting a closer look. This may sound overly simple, but it means that at least someone is looking. It's hard not to put an asterisk on that because of who his father is, but a positive sign, none-the-less.

Berhalter put him in an attacking position up top. Not too terribly different to how he once deployed Ethan Finlay when he was with the Crew. It worked. He went out and played well.


When looking at MLS / US eligible only, here are similar players attack-minded players 23 and under:

AgeNamePosTeam2019 MinsGoalsAssistsNPG+A
21Jonathan LewisForwardNYCFC218131.65
23Paul ArriolaMidfielderDC2184780.62
22Sebastian SaucedoMidfielderRSL1044340.60
23Alex MuylMidfielderNYR1285350.56
23Kellyn AcostaMidfielderCOL1041230.43

Not bad company to be in. Arriola might be a like player Mihailovic shoots for, in terms of production. To get there, however, he needs to get out of Chicago.

Another player to note here is Jonathan Lewis, who had an assist in last night's USMNT game vs. Panama late in the second half. He played a little for NYCFC but was loaned out to Louisville City (USL) where he again had to play off the bench.

Friday, January 25, 2019

2019 MLS Eastern Conference Rundown

Started a mini project last week. The target was to gather as much info on each player in the MLS Eastern Conference and use that info to evaluate each team ahead of the 2019 season. All done. Atlanta United is going to be the team out front this season.

Preseason Team Grades, to date:

Atlanta United
Toronto FC
Columbus Crew

New York Red Bulls
New York City FC

Montreal Impact
DC United
New England Revolution

Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati
Chicago Fire
Orlando City

How did I get here? I've spent the last couple weeks working through each rostered player in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference. I now have in my possession a mini-dossier on every player on each team. Player vitals (height, foot, birthplace, sign date, former club/team, etc), Football Manager 19, FIFA 19 and WhoScored player ratings and player value.

I used this information, along with last year's rosters, to create a best XI and bench (18) for each team. Here's how that looks.

Player Ratings (avg)TransferMarkt Value (000)
1ATL71.066.7$ 66,429$ 14,484
2TFC70.565.4$ 25,027$ 3,502
3NYC70.564.6$ 16,303$ 4,470
4DCU69.756.6$ 21,934$ 2,990
5NYR69.764.9$ 20,192$ 3,745
6MTL69.665.2$ 13,410$ 4,876
7CLB69.366.2$ 24,671$ 4,180
8NER68.764.5$ 13,278$ 5,115
9PHI68.256.5$ 9,933$ 5,529
10FCC68.164.3$ 11,420$ 4,790
11CHI67.863.7$ 17,022$ 3,955
12ORL67.262.2$ 10,365$ 3,309 

The chart is sorted by "Starters."

Here's a list of top rated players (median rating -  FM19, FIFA 19 and last observed WhoScored). A rating of 72 and greater means the player is in the top 8%.

79Wayne RooneyDCU
79Sebastian GiovincoTFC
77Miguel AlmirónATL
77Ignacio PiattiMTL
76Josef MartínezATL
76Michael BradleyTFC
75Maxi MoralezNYC
74Kendall WastonFCC
73Saphir TaiderMTL
73Luciano AcostaDCU
73Alexander RingNYC
73Bastian SchweinsteigerCHI
73Fanendo AdiFCC
73Brad GuzanATL
72Bradley Wright-PhillipsNYR
72Alejandro BedoyaPHI
72Bacary SagnaMTL
72Nemanja NikolicCHI
72Ebenezer OforiNYC
72Gonzalo MartínezATL
72Dax McCartyCHI
72Pedro SantosCLB
72Russell CanouseDCU

Where players in the projected starting X1's fall, out of all 319 individuals evaluated:

TeamTop 25%Top 25-50%

When looking at the strength of starting XI's, I can also tell which teams have specific needs. This means a team has a position that is lacking a quality (average and above) starter.

Number of Important / Critical Needs:


It's the positional holes that sink a teams season. Chicago and Orlando are way behind, at the moment. Add on that, three of these teams are in critical need of a starter. Orlando City, FC Cincinnati and DC United.


Atlanta is tops in everything across the board. Most notably, Transfer Market values. The $66 million for their starters is easily double the next closest team. The seven players they carry on the bench is worth more than FIVE starting XI's.

There are still some moves to be made like Miguel Almiron, Kaku and Sebastian Giovinco, but for the most part, this is the way things will land by season start in March.

Value ($ millions) : Name
23 : Gonzalo Martínez (ATL)
17 : Miguel Almirón(ATL)
11 : Josef Martínez (ATL)
9 : Wayne Rooney (DCU)
9 : Ezequiel Barco (ATL)
7 : Sebastian Giovinco (TFC)
6 : Zack Steffen (CLB)
6 : Jozy Altidore (TFC)
5 : Nemanja Nikolic (CHI)
5 : Alejandro Romero Gamarra (NYR)
5 : Héctor Villalba (ATL)
4 : Gyasi Zardes (CLB)
4 : Lucas Rodríguez (DCU)

That's it for now. Next steps: I want to start adding where the player played as a youth and how long - also, do some work with salaries in relation to my evals and values. I'll continue to update these teams as the offseason moves along.

Thanks for reading.


Preseason Look: Montreal Impact

Preseason Look: NY City FC

Preseason Look: DC United

Preseason Look: Orlando City

Preseason Look: Chicago Fire

Preseason Look: Toronto FC

Preseason Look: New England Revolution

Preseason Look: NY Red Bulls

Preseason Look: Philadelphia Union

Preseason Look: Atlanta United

Preseason Look: Columbus Crew

Pre-Season Look at FC Cincinnati