Today's subject is midfielder Andrew Jacobson.
Jacobson had a season best defined as "acceptable". AJ entered pre-season the likely-starter, began as the starter, and effectively held onto it for the entire year.
The start of the season saw Jacobson be aggressive, pushy and relatively effective in the middle of the park. While no one would have confused him with Kyle Beckerman, Jacobson did as much as he could with what he had. In a season littered with complaints of certain players "giving up" , Jacobson had want and effort in spades.
While performing at an acceptable level in the middle of the park, he was nothing to crow about. That is, until necessity forced Michel into the middle of the park. When Michel began to slot in beside him in the midfield, AJ was freed from his need to push forward, instead allowing Michel to organize crosses, early balls to wingers or strikers, and generally push things forward.
Jacobson enjoyed his best period around the same time as Michel, before other teams figured out how to shut the duo down. During his best performances he was a very disruptive force in the midfield, and he wasn't above making hard tackles on players in order to break up a dangerous sequence of play. He diffused pressure and allowed Michel room to breathe.
His importance during FC Dallas' period of league dominance was so pronounced that the thought of him picking up a knock was a legitimately frightening proposition. There was literally no one ready to take the reins from him.
As the season went on, opposing coaches keyed on in the midfield's weakness, and AJ became much less effective. He was constantly put under pressure, got no support from Michel (who became a possession-void) and he didn't always keep composed, looking flustered and somewhat indecisive on the field.
He wasn't cheap, but he wasn't expensive either, making a base salary of around 122K. With Luccin making significantly less, it places enormous pressure on Jacobson to prove his worth to the team in the preseason. He could be very valuable as a bench player for when the inevitable injury occurs, or to give others a rest during the USOC.
The question with Jacobson is tricky. He has proven to be at least competent, and better than that in short bursts, but perhaps that money might be better spent. Do you keep him? If so, in what role and for how much?
He's likeable, a hard worker, and a good guy to have in the locker room (Seattle is a perfect example of how important locker room vibes can be). The problem is he's not cheap and his role is limited.
Do you prefer "a bird in hand is worth two in the bush" or "nothing ventured, nothing gained"?
We give the option to you: thumbs up to keep him, or thumbs down to let him go. (feel free to clarify your vote in the comments)