Big D Soccer Man of the Match: Jair Benitez

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The veteran fullback shined in a new role on Saturday.

It's weird for me to write this week's edition for Man of the Match purely because I never would have guessed this player would get this award this season.

Jair Benitez gets my nod for Man of the Match from Saturday's 1-1 draw against Chivas USA because he made a lot of things happen while playing a role we weren't quite used to seeing him play.

Jair took on more a central midfield role Saturday as Oscar Pareja gave Fabian Castillo more freedom to attack from the top. What I saw from Jair was something that, upon looking back, I've seen for a couple of weeks now.

No longer do I see Jair constantly fouling opposing players and sending in bad balls. He's become a much more efficient player and someone that I don't mind consistently being in the XI.

Saturday night, while Jair only completed 64% of his passes (49 of 76), he made the most plays to set up the most chances at goal. He had three key passes, including a through ball in the 48th minute to Fabian Castillo who went one-on-one with his defender before being forced to take a left-footed shot into the side netting of Dan Kennedy's goal.

Benitez also had eight recoveries which shows me he played with an engine and didn't give up on broken plays.

I have been as big of a Jair hater as anyone, but just like JeVaughn Watson, who was second in my voting, he has quietly become a more quality player than FCD fans are used to. He isn't going to necessarily be the fix until Mauro returns, but it is nice to see that he can come in and make solid passes and give the attackers chances to put goals on the board.

Goals from the run of play are badly needed because we all know that we can't rely on free kicks, especially since Michel has struggled on them since his performance in Seattle, so it is imperative that our midfielders give the forwards chances, and that the forwards bury those chances.

I appreciate the OP has been tinkering with his lineup and trying out players in different places. Let's hope two games this week against World Cup-depleted teams can allow us to take three or four points.

Who knows who will step up in the next game. With the way things have gone of late, there's no telling.

What were your thoughts on the match and my choice for Motm? Vote and comment below. DTID!

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