This week has all about Landon Donovan...rightfullly so. We're in the 11th hour for the greatest American soccer player's career- 11:59 pm if we include his national career- and it's fitting we're getting a heavy dose of Landon idolatry as he prepares for a half hour swan song against Ecuador. I'm a big fan of Donovan. I wish he would stick around for a bit longer (forever), but I'll skip out on the homage this week. In this forum, I'd like to trumpet the virtues of Michel.
That's the big font headline from back in the day when Brian Straus still worked at the Sporting News. Fresh off a stint with former Freddie Adu employers, FC Aris, we added a piece who would manage to be a primary influence in the last 2 seasons. Quoth Hyndman, "He’s a very good player with a very good resume. He plays on both sides of the ball and is a good distributor of the ball. … He’s really happy to be here and we’re happy to have him. I think he’s going to add a lot to our defense."
This statement is amusing. A defensive stalwart on the wing? Not really. 'Out of position' in central midfield, well, not so much. Michel will never be considered a plus defensive player in any spot in the XI. 'Competent' and 'Serviceable' are the best descriptors for the Brazilian when it comes to defensive quality. Ah, but what about the attack?
Here's the Brazilian's output in the hooped kit since he came on as a defensive reinforcement:
Michel has more goals and assists than Fabian Castillo over the past 2 years. He also has more goals and assists than Mauro Diaz. He has more assists than Blas Perez, but falls significantly short of Blas's goal haul of 21 over the course of the last 2 years. This is the only offensive metric where Michel falls short against the rest of the squad in the last 2 years...despite being a defense filler roster addition last winter.
It's all about the left peg. Michel, for all of his mediocrity, being positioned in wherever Hyndman/Pareja needed him, provides sublime talent from the left boot. Whether it be switching the attack, providing service, or converting a penalty, Michel is a primo technician with the left boot. My brain went through the greats: Preki, Eddie Lewis, Brad Davis, and through the group of legends, I wouldn't pick one before I picked Michel. Truly, no one in MLS through the ages matches his combination of power and precision. He's the owner of the best left peg in modern American pro history. What a feat for a defensive squad player!
FCD has suffered from many injuries this year as last, but we've enjoyed unexpected success from Victor Ulloa, Tesho Akindele, Zach Loyd, and Je-Vaughn Watson. Most importantly, we've enjoyed the sublime left-footed skill of a Brazilian-Greek castoff meant to reinforce our defense, but who, ultimately, provided the spice to our offense...regardless of where he played.
Our scouts are doing a great job, and we should bronze Michel's foot as a tribute to their wisdom. No one wants to play us in the playoffs.