When the 2015 campaign kicked off, one of the questions that I've been wondering was how Blas Perez's legs would hold up over the course of another long and grueling MLS season? 2015 has him juggling how to lead the offensive line as the team veteran but also manage himself with national team duties with Panama. The season began and there wasn't much of an issue as he looked very much like the Blas of old while proving that just because he's an aging veteran doesn't mean he still can't find ways to help this team either by scoring or setting up his teammates, winning fouls or making defensive clearances off corners.
Blas started the season red hot, netting a stoppage time game winning goal in the season opener against San Jose, followed by a brace the next week against Sporting Kansas City. Since then, things have cooled off significantly for the Panamanian international as he's only put in two goals since then and hasn't scored for Dallas since May 9th, coincidentally a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy that Dallas will match up against this Sunday.
Of course, five goals for 2015 is a low output for Dallas' leading striker compared to this is 11 goals for 2014 and 2013 but the minutes haven't been there for Perez this season. Combined with the Gold Cup, other international call ups and now not only are goals hard to come by, even finding the field has been harder too as David Texeira and Tesho Akindele have made their cases for more minutes too.
Has has now played 1221 minutes for Dallas in 2015, which if you broke down into two ~610 minute sections, the differentiating goal output is staggering.
Not that Blas could sustain that 0.73 goals per 90 rate, but dropping off entirely without a goal or an assist since May 9th is difficult to fathom and obviously raises the question, "Is this it for Blas Perez' Dallas career?" Combine that with the fact that this is Blas Perez' final year in his contract, has time run out? Or is there something deeper into what's causing the sudden goal drought?
The following info and graphics are from Squawka.
First look is to see what Blas' statistical contributions have been for the past three seasons in the per 90 model given that he's missed a lot games this season. But as you can see, there's been a steady drop off almost across the board in key stats such as goals, shots and chance creation (assists combined with key passes, and key passes are passes that lead to a shot on goal).
The next thing I thought to look at for the reasoning behind the steady decline of goals is where Blas has been taking shots. There's an ever so slight correlation there given that his overall shots per 90 has declined. Of course, not all shots are created equal as these don't factor in the angle or which body part those shots were taken. (I do have that data, but for the sake of not boring you to death, I'll leave that out.)
But Blas is more than just a goal scorer for this club. If goals are drying up, then the next best thing a striker can do is at least help create them which we'll look at in the graphic below:
Again, everything across the board is also on the decline. Sample size matters and it may not be fair to compare his previous two seasons with his current one as a goal or two in the next game or so would drastically alter all of these numbers, so take all of these in with a grain of salt.
Where Blas might need to improve on is his conversion rate which 2015 is his current FC Dallas career low, scoring just once every three times he puts on a shot on goal.
|Year||Goals||Shots on Goal||Conversion Rate|
Obviously there's more to Blas than just scoring. He's annoying to play against and teams really cannot stand him and gives Dallas the edge to get under their skin. Perez is also very reliable in clearing defensive set pieces and has been a very keen and willing participant in helping win the ball back. He is by no means a lazy player, which in its own has its merits.
But as we look into 2016 a little, has Blas Perez done enough to earn another contract with this club? Are Tesho Akindele and David Texeira ready to take over by themselves? Or is this all just an off year given all the travels and disruptions caused by international duty?