Lately we've been so involved in offseason stuff that we tend to forget that there was some good from the 2013 season. Yesterday evening MLSSoccer.com's Ben Jata (their Fantasy soccer guru) posted this interesting article about the top 50 accurate passers in all of Major League Soccer from this season.
Yes, you read that correctly, Matt Hedges, a top five accurate passer in all of MLS in 2013. Impressive to say the very least. Even more impressive that he is the lone FCD representative.
The list is full of defenders though, as it should be pointed out to start out with. Hedges completed 979 passes on the season, good for a passing accuracy of 86.52. The majority of Hedges' passes came from within his own half of the field with only 231 of those passes coming from within the other side of the field. The article did state that they didn't go super detailed in the types of passes beyond length, location and direction.
Judging from Hedges' chalkboards from over the season, most of his 'bad' passes were from out of the back and were of the long ball variety. Some of those bad long passes were just clearances too.
I looked back at his most recent 90 minutes, against Seattle in the 2-0 home finale win. He completed 24 passes to just four incomplete passes. Two of the incomplete balls were long passes, his other two bad passes were headers to a teammate that were picked off.
Some of this isn't surprising to see when you look at the rest of the Dallas lineup. We discussed this all season long at how the midfield was the issue with ball possession rather then the defense.
Hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg for Hedges though going into the 2014 season. The obvious place of improvement for him will be his long ball placement out of the back.