Friday, January 10, 2020

Playing with 10 + Zardes

Yesterday, I jumped into the USL to see if I could tease out a Forward player or two that might fit into the 2020 Columbus Crew roster. The reasoning behind this might not have been made clear to a few fans, so here's a look at a few reasons as to why the Crew could do with adding a forward.

Everything branches off this:

Zardes does not help in the final third. Not in the attack (outside of himself being a target) nor in keeping in possession in the opponents half. Evidence:

Ranked 22 out of 27 MLS Forwards in Assists per 90 minutes for players with over 10 appearances last year. In 2018 he didn't record a single assist in 3200 minutes of play.

He's not involved. 29th out of 32 in total passes per 90 minutes among like players. What this works out to be is about 12-13 total good passes per game (5 incomplete). Missing over 25% of his passes puts him 23/33 MLS forwards.

For every accurate pass he makes (12.6 per game) he either loses the ball or is dispossessed 3.5 times a game. That ratio of successful passes to losing the ball puts him 25th out of 33 MLS Forwards.

Individually, Gyasi is good in front of the goal. Two years ago under Gregg Berhalter's cross everything into the box offense, he proved that with service he could finish. But under Caleb Porter, we saw a player that had loads of chances but could only put away 10 goals from open play, while the team's 3rd leading scorer had 2 goals, it was a tie between four players, two of which are central defenders. In my opinion, looking at my three things above, a lot of the drop off is on Zardes.

In some ways, it's like playing with only 10 men for most of the match.

The reasoning for looking for a better ball-playing tall forward for Columbus was an attempt to try and fill in the holes in Zardes' game. Offer more in the attack for other players (less predictable) as well as get a head on balls crossed in.

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