We're concluding with our 2015 Position Battles series, with Part 9: Striker. I'll admit the last three didn't have as much competition or debate as I would have liked. I was really hoping to see FC Dallas pick up a few players to make it interesting, but alas this last one should be a fun one. We have our favorite Panamanian and incumbent striker in Blas Perez, and up and coming reigning Rookie of the Year in Tesho Akindele, and a young DP that the jury's still out on in David Texeira who will be fighting for playing time. Each have a compelling case to why Oscar Pareja should hand them the starting minutes, but under our current projected 4-2-3-1 set up, only one will come out victorious.
So let's break it down and don't forget to cast your vote down below!
So when we break down everyone's major stats into per 90, it was interesting to see that everyone was pretty level with one another. Blas obviously had a leg up in the scoring department but not by much and when we're a forward, you best be either scoring or creating goals regularly. Where things will not be sustainable will be Akindele and Texeira's shot rate. There's just no way that can keep pace in 2015 unless they consistently find themselves with a wide open goal courtesy of Mauro Diaz or Fabian Castillo splitting the defense for them. Of course, this is just their stats and it does not account for other attributes that these guys bring such as Perez's ability to get under defenders' skins and irritate them into stupid fouls or Akindele's speed.
Case for Perez
Consistency. In 2014 Blas Perez had 0.62 goals+assists per 90. In 2013, he had 0.59 goals+assists per 90. In 2012, it was 0.68 goals+assists per 90. Simply put, he remains a constant goal threat and a reliable offensive player for Dallas to utilize. He is also good in the air and does extremely well winning aerial duels from long balls. He is also a very good defender on set pieces and corners and is always willing to do the dirty work defensively which is a bonus for any team when your leading talisman wants to fight for the ball back. I think the starting position is still his to lose at this point.
Case for Akindele
Had a breakout 2014 where he went from "Dallas reached for this kid in the draft" to Rookie of the Year. He has good speed for a player his size and has used it to burn several defenders who weren't paying attention. This obviously is another dimension that Blas simply doesn't offer and when used in the right spots can be so deadly. He has shown a good nose for goal but the question mark now remains whether he can build on that breakout year or if he'll regress and suffer the dreaded Sophomore Slump as more teams will be more mindful in marking him.
Case for Texeira
Pareja. Last year was a pretty poor year for the young Uruguayan forward as he went through large spells of very limited minutes and even when he was out there, you'd tend to forget he was there. But he does have a full season under his belt and a full preseason too and Oscar Pareja believes in him. My gut says we'll see a Fabian Castillo like breakout from Texeira this year, simply because of Pareja's ability to work with young players.
So what do you guys think? Vote below in the polls, sound off in the comment section. When we've covered all positions on the field, I'll tally the votes up and put together the Fan's Choice Starting XI.