Player A: 39 MLS Games, 922 minutes, 4 Goals
Player B: 41 MLS Games, 1564 minutes, 4 Goals
If you guessed that Player A was Cristian Colman, then you’re wrong. Colmán notched his 40th and 41st appearances during his second season in a pair of consecutive impressive road results against Vancouver (2-1 win for FC Dallas) and Portland (scoreless draw). Player A wouldn’t make it to his 39th appearance until his fifth season. He would have one more middling season and then would go on to score double digit goals in nine consecutive MLS seasons. He’ll break the MLS all time goals record next year. His name is Chris Wondolowski.
The year started out promising much as it did in 2017- a goal in his first game (in CONCACAF Champions League, his third in five CCL matches). His supersub performance in CCL earned him four consecutive sub appearances, that culminated in this.
This would earn Colmán his first start of the season (a 1-0 win at New England), and he’d start the next two before inexplicably spending the next month without another appearance. He popped up with a goal in his next appearance (a start that was ended by a red card that would be overturned) at Los Angeles Galaxy, but he suffered a severe ankle sprain in his next appearance at San Antonio in the US Open Cup and would not play again for almost two months.
He played sporadically after that until he earned back to back starts on a very successful Cascadia road trip. FC Dallas was convincing in a 2-1 victory at Vancouver and a scoreless draw in Portland. FC Dallas were 4-1-1 in matches Colmán had started at that point in the season, and that’s where they would finish as the seemingly cursed striker suffered a torn ACL in training.
2018 Key Stats
15 games. 6 starts. 2 goals. 0 Assists. 40 Shots. 15 Shots on Goal. 3.7 Aerials Won/game.
You can sum up Colmán’s season pretty effectively in one match- August 23rd in Houston. First the good:
Did you miss it? Colmán wins the header that puts Barrios in on goal, and the placement was no accident. Colmán was 9th in the league in aerials won per game this year (4th among forwards, 15 game minimum). This is extremely impressive considering he only started six of the 15 games he played this year. When you break it down to aerials won per minute, he’s far and away the league leader. Colmán isn’t just good in the air; he’s elite. Ok, here’s the bad.
Circling back to the Wondolowski comparison, the big difference between he and Colmán in the early stages of their career is efficiency. While Wondo’s goal haul of 4 came on 20 shots through his first five seasons, Colmán sits at the same total after launching 61 shots(26 of which were on target) in his MLS career. Given the fact he’s taking almost all of these shots in the box, that conversion rate should be much, much higher.
Colmán is guaranteed through at least 2019 so, barring an unlikely trade or transfer, he will be back with the team when he finishes his rehabilitation and gains match fitness. At the very earliest, we could see Colmán in April, but it will be most likely be the summer before he’s ready to go. At that point, he’ll have to force his way into Pareja’s plans- most likely by lighting it up in US Open Cup matches. If he can do that and carry over the hypothetical improvement into efficiency into MLS play, he could end up as the preferred #9 for road matches during the stretch run. Given his profligate finishing and injuries to date, it seems foolhardy to count on this.