With D.C. United in the midst of retooling its lineup, let's take a moment to look at five sets of statistics that illuminate what we've heard about the new players.
1. Expect the offside flag to remain up at RFK in 2014. There was a long list of attributes that frustrated the D.C. United fan base about Lionard Pajoy, and somewhere high on that list was his inclination to be offside so frequently. In 20 games played in 2013, Pajoy was called offside 23 times. His Black-and-Red strike partner, Dwayne De Rosario, was called offside 25 times in 24 games played. And, although we are losing these two frequent offenders, we are upgrading in a big way when it comes to Eddie Johnson. As you can see in the table below (which shows the 2013 offside statistics), Eddie Johnson was second in the league for offside calls last year, and he was the only top player to even approach Marco Di Vaio's prolific rate of being called offside. Getting good service (that is precisely timed) for Johnson will be critical next year for D.C. United since Johnson is looking to get the ball in an advantageous position and is frequently breaking to that position before the service is played
|Marco Di Vaio||Montreal||33||78||2.36|
|Dwayne De Rosario||D.C. United||24||25||1.04|
|Lionard Pajoy||D.C. United||20||23||1.15|
2. But if Johnson scores goals, will we really care? For me, getting frustrated about a forward constantly being offside is really a way of complaining about their lack of goal production. While Marco Di Vaio is the undisputed king of being called offside in MLS, his ability to score real goals (20 goals last year on 118 shots, 53 of which were on goal) seems to immunize him from constant criticism on this topic. Eddie Johnson has 64 career MLS goals, but more interesting for me is that he is already on the MLS top 10 all-time list for game-winning goals (see table below). And, with the exception of Chris Wondolowski and Taylor Twellman, none of these decisive strikers has scored game-winning goals at a faster rate than EJ. For his career, Johnson has scored a game-winning goal once very 7.33 games. Hat tip to DeRo for also being a top 10 all-timer on the game-winning goal list.
|Player||Most Recent Team||Games Played||Game-Winning Goals||Games Played/GWG|
|Chris Wondolowski||San Jose||172||34||5.06|
|Ante Razov||Chivas USA||262||33||7.94|
|Jason Kreis||Real Salt Lake||305||31||9.84|
|Taylor Twellman||New England||174||28||6.21|
|Dwayne De Rosario||D.C. United||324||27||12.00|
|Jaime Moreno||D.C. United||340||26||13.08|
|Carlos Ruiz||D.C. United||182||24||7.58|
3. Fabian Espindola and Davy Arnaud draw fouls, lots of fouls. D.C. United needs to find a consistent and dangerous set-piece taker in 2014 because they will likely have lots of chances (assuming that Espindola signs). In 2013, Fabian Espindola was in the top 10 for fouls suffered across all of MLS.
|Player||Team||Games Played||Fouls Suffered||Fouls/Game|
|Javier Morales||Real Salt Lake||28||78||2.79|
|Lee Nguyen||New England||33||64||1.94|
|Ned Grabavoy||Real Salt Lake||32||63||1.97|
|Fabian Espindola||New York||28||58||2.07|
Additionally, Davy Arnaud is the fourth most fouled player in MLS history (see table below). So, who will inherit the mantle of Branko Boskovic and make set pieces an important part of D.C. United's attack once again?
|Player||Most Recent Team||Games Played||Fouls Suffered||Fouls/Game|
|Jaime Moreno||D.C. United||340||703||2.07|
|Andy Williams||Real Salt Lake||332||680||2.05|
|Alejandro Moreno||Chivas USA||272||659||2.42|
|Mark Chung||San Jose||284||578||2.04|
4. Davy Arnaud has bite. And we know if there is anything Ben Olsen values in his players, it's bite. Below is the list of the only players to be ejected three times in a single season, and it includes the former Kansas City and Montreal captain. To be fair, Arnaud only has four total ejections in his career, but unfortunately three came in one season. For his career, however, he does have 55 yellow cards, putting him just outside the all-time top 10 (a group he will likely join this coming year since the #10 spot is currently held by Frankie Hejduk with 58 yellows). Arnaud also sits outside the all-time top 10 for fouls conceded with 405 for his career (chasing tenth place on the all-time list which is held by Diego Gutierrez with 443 fouls conceded).
|Carlos Johnson||New York||2009||3|
|Jamison Olave||Real Salt Lake||2009||3|
|Davy Arnaud||Kansas City||2010||3|
|Dimitry Imbongo||New England||2013||3|
5. The 2014 edition of D.C. United will have several streaky players. The scouting report on Fabian Espindola says that he is streaky. Luis Silva also was streaky last year, arriving at the team and immediately producing both goals and assists. In fact, as he first joined D.C. United he was one game into a streak of five consecutive games scoring a goal or getting an assist (which was one of the best in the league in 2013--see below). He then went eight games without producing either a goal or an assist before getting an assist in the final game of the season. By the way, Eddie Johnson was also on the list below for having one of the longest steaks of games with a goal or assist in 2013.
|Player||Team||Consecutive Games with a Goal/Assist||Start||Stop|
|Alvaro Saborio||Real Salt Lake||6||4/20/13||8/10/13|
|Luis Silva||D.C. United||5||7/3/13||8/17/13|
|Kelyn Rowe||New England||5||8/17/13||9/14/13|
|11 Other Players||4|
If you like stats and records, make sure you check out the MLS Press Box and click on "Stats and Standings" in the upper left corner.
What do these stats (or others) say to you about D.C. United's new players? What opportunities do they present for the team, and what challenges do they create?
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