It was bound to happen. The thing with a weeks-long series that asks whether each player on the roster should return and the nature of any professional sport’s offseason means that we were inevitably going to have a post rendered moot before we even got to write it. This is that post, and its subject is departed D.C. United striker Alvaro Saborio.
The Costa Rican led United in goalscoring for a big chunk of the year, despite only rarely featuring in the starting XI. (Of course, most of that time involved los Capitalinos not scoring many goals.)
Nevertheless, his starting performances generally vindicated Ben Olsen’s decisions to keep him on the bench, both before and after the arrival of starting #9 Patrick Mullins.
In eight starts, Sabo had only one goal. But as unproductive he was as a starter, he was exactly the opposite as a sub.
Five of his six goals on the year came in relief duty. Over the course of the season — even including his unproductive starts — Sabo found the net six times and assisted on two more, in just 890 minutes. That’s good for 0.81 goals and assists per 90 minutes. Put otherwise, if Sabo had been able to keep that form up as a starter, he’d be expected to score or assist on a goal more than twice every three games.
Which ain’t bad. But that condition is the rub. The 34-year-old wasn’t able to make it work in his starting opportunities this year.
Now, let’s circle back to the whole "this post is moot" thing from the top. The conceit of the whole "River or Life/Cake or Death/Season Review" series is a fan vote on whether a player should return next year. Which is a lot less compelling when the player has already announced his departure from the club.
Quiero anunciar que no seguiré formando parte del @dcunited, gracias a todos los aficionados de este club, bonitos dos años pase aquí!!!— Álvaro Saborío (@al_saborio) November 12, 2016
Nevertheless, the poll must go on. Last year, in the comments for this very question, I said that scoring half a dozen goals, mostly as a sub, would be a reasonable 2016 expectation for Saborio. He managed to meet that bar, and while he won’t be back in Black-and-Red for 2017, we’re still asking whether you’d like him to be.
Vote below, and share your thoughts further down.