Andrew Jacobson had a career year in 2012 statistically, starting 31 games for FC Dallas in the center of midfield with only Zach Loyd and Kevin Hartman logging more minutes for the club. The 27-year-old, acquired from Philadelphia for just a draft pick, also morphed into one of the more vocal leaders of the team this season, wearing the captain's armband on occasion.
Consistency Whether you're a fan of Jacobson in the middle of the park or not, what he brings to the table is consistency. While you never exactly know what played like Castillo, Jackson and Villar may bring you from week to week, Jacobson comes in and puts in a shift every Saturday night. You need guys like Jacobson in the squad to keep the balance and he certainly does. He also doesn't struggle with injury which is nice as well.
Leadership AJ has really become one of the leaders of the team both in the locker room and on the field. With Daniel Hernandez having retired and Ugo Ihemelu's status for next season still up in the air, this contribution from Jacobson shouldn't be discounted.
Size Jacobson's 6-2 frame has proved to be especially valuable in winning headers in the midfield and flicking on headers to attackers. Jacobson didn't rack up the assists this year like he did last season, but I would imagine he loses out on a lot of them because he's the first pass to start the play rather than the last one. The midfielder really is very technically gifted for his size.
Cost Jacobson is always going to be the perfect starter in the sense that he's never going to cost you an arm and a leg, he's not an international and he's likely not someone that you're worried about asking for a huge salary bump in a year or so.
Moment of the Year
With AJ, it's tough to identify one moment so I'll just take the easy route and pick his goal against Portland. People say this a lot, but I have to reiterate that now that Hernandez has retired, there's no debate as to which player has the hardest shot on the team. For whatever reason, it's never shown itself in games, but Jacobson has a cannon of a right foot and it wouldn't surprise me to see a few goals out of him next year.
Not enough offense Jacobson is not in there to be a guy that scores 5 goals and has 8 assists every year, but it does seem like Dallas would do better to have more attacking punch sitting behind David Ferreira. Maybe FCD really just needs to find someone they can substitute in for Jacobson in the last 20 minutes of matches when they need a goal.
The Middle Man Many times it seems as though Dallas is a team with five defenders, four attackers and then Jacobson sitting in the middle with way too much ground to cover and way too much work to do. I'm not really sure there's a ton Jacobson can do about this, but it's a tough setup for any central midfielder to find himself in.
What's his best position? Is Jacobson a central midfielder or is he more of a defensive midfielder? Would he work better with the perfect central midfielder partner that allows him to pick and choose his times when to go forward and when to sit back? All valid questions with Jacobson.
In a squad that needs a lot of help in depth and forward talent, Jacobson is one of the guys you don't really worry about. You'd like to have a little more offense from the guy, but what you get is a very technically gifted player with good temperment, good leadership skills and a body that doesn't succumb to injury very often. FCD has had some hits and misses in deals within the league, but Jacobson is one of Schellas Hyndman's best trades.
1-10 scale...10 being MLS MVP...9 is MLS Best XI....8 is team MVP...7 is indispensable player...1 is Eric Quill.
At the end of the day, you can't give the guy a great rating because he started 31 games for a team that missed the playoffs, but Dallas' problems didn't really fall too much to the feet of Jacobson. I'll give him an average rating of a 5.5 for the year and look forward to continued progression in 2013.