Forward production - or lack thereof - comparison

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by Sandon Mibut, May 30, 2005.

  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    With all the talk most of the season about United needing a defender to replace Nellie, I - like many of you - started to realize that the defense isn't nearly as great a problem as the forwards not scoring.

    I took the time to compare United's forward production to the other forwards in the league and was appalled to see just how bad DC's forwards have been this year.

    If you throw out PKs, it is literally the worst production of any team in the league. Not counting mids who occassionally play up, like Freddy and Gomez, DCU's forwards have accounted for all of two non-PK goals. That's one from Jaime, one from Q1 and a big fat ZERO from Eski.

    Here's how United's forwards stack up, statistically, compared to the rest of the league. After compiling this info, I don't see how Piotr can continue to keep starting Alecko and not lose credibility with the rest of the team. I mean, if guys don't get the job done, they should be benched and a coach that refuses to bench players for lack of production will usually lose his locker room and it's always all down hill from there.

    Anyway, here are the numbers.

    Jaime Moreno, DC - 9 games, 8 starts, 763 minutes, 4 goals, 2 assists
    Santino Quaranta, DC - 6 games, 2 starts, 291 minutes, 1 goal, 0 assists
    Alecko Eskandarian, DC - 8 games, 7 starts, 544 minutes, 0 goals, 1 assist
    Jamil Walker, DC - 3 games, 1 start, 49 minutes, 0 goals, 0 assists

    Chris Rolfe, Chicago - 8 games, 3 starts, 399 minutes, 2 goals,0 assists
    Chad Barrett,Chicago - 8 games, 0 starts,138 minutes,1 goal,1 assist
    Andy Herron, Chicago - 8 games, 7 starts, 446 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist
    Nate Jaqua, Chicago - 9 games, 6 starts, 593 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist
    Lubos Reiter, Chicago - 4 games, 4 starts, 320 minutes, 0 goals, 1 assist
    Thiago Martins, Chivas - 10 games, 10 starts, 855 minutes, 2 goals, 0 assists
    Isaac Romo, Chivas - 9 games, 2 starts, 346 minutes, 2 goals, 0 assists
    Edson Buddle, Columbus – 10 games, 10 starts, 855 minutes, 3 goals, 1 assist
    Ante Razov, Columbus - 7 games, 5 starts, 505 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist
    Cornell Glen, Columbus - 5 games, 3 starts, 311 minutes, 0 goals, 0 assists
    Jeff Cunningham, Colorado – 8 games. 3 starts, 382 minutes, 4 goals, 1 assist
    Jean Philippe Peguero, Colorado – 8 games, 6 starts, 554 minutes, 2 goals, 1 assist
    Luchi Gonzalez, Colorado – 8 games, 8 starts, 697 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist
    Wolde Harris, Colorado – 5 games, 4 starts, 369 minutes, 0 goals, 0 assist
    Carlos Ruiz, Dallas – 10 games, 10 starts, 882 minutes, 7 goals, 2 assists
    Eddie Johnson, Dallas - 9 games, 9 starts, 795 minutes, 5 goals, 1 assist
    Roberto Mina, Dallas - 3 games, 1 start, 93 minutes – 1 goal, 1 assist
    Josh Wolff, Kansas City - 7 games, 7 starts, 629 minutes, 4 goals, 4 assist
    Davy Arnaud, Kansas City – 9 games, 9 starts, 801 minutes, 2 goals, 1 assist
    Scott Sealy, Kansas City - 8 games, 4 starts, 262 minutes, 2 goals, 0 assists
    Landon Donovan, Los Angeles – 6 games, 6 starts, 537 minutes, 5 goals, 4 assists
    Jovan Kirovski, Los Angeles – 9 games, 9 starts, 732 minutes, 3 goals, 4 assists
    Ednaldo da Conceicao, Los Angeles – 8 games, 2 starts, 258 minutes, 0 goals, 1 assist
    Sergio Galvan Rey, MetroStars - 6 games, 5 starts, 414 minutes, 2 goals, 0 assists
    Youri Djorkaeff, MetroStars - 6 games, 6 starts, 493 minutes, 1 goal, 2 assists
    Abbe Ibrahim, MetroStars - 5 games, 2 starts, 205 minutes, 1 goal, 2 assists
    John Wolyniec, MetroStars - 6 games, 4 starts, 392 minutes, 1 goal, 3 assists
    Mike Magee, MetroStars - 7 games, 4 starts, 367 minutes, 0 goals, 2 assists
    Taylor Twellman, New England - 9 games, 9 starts, 806 minutes, 6 goals, 3 assists
    Pat Noonan, New England - 9 games, 9 starts, 810 minutes, 4 goals, 1 assist
    Jason Kreis, Salt Lake - 9 games, 9 starts, 810 minutes, 4 goals, 0 assists
    Clint Mathis, Salt Lake - 10 games, 10 starts, 841 minutes, 0 goals, 3 assists
    Chris Brown, Salt Lake - 9 games, 8 starts, 670 minutes, 0 goals, 1 assist
    Dipsy Selowane, Salt Lake - 7 games, 4 starts, 382 minutes, 0 goals, 0 assists
    Ronald Cerritos, San Jose - 10 games, 10 starts, 827 minutes, 4 goals, 2 assists
    Brian Ching, San Jose - 7 games, 7 starts, 558 minutes, 4 goals, 2 assists
    Alejandro Moreno, San Jose - 10 games, 3 starts, 410 minutes, 3 goals, 0 assists
    Dwayne DeRosario, San Jose - 9 games, 7 starts, 669 minutes, 1 goal, 4 assists

    J. Moreno - 3
    Ruiz - 3
    Donovan - 2
    Cerritos - 1
    Cunningham – 1
    Kreis - 1
    Wolff – 1

    Right now, Eski is the least productive forward in MLS. Even Suckass USA's forwards have scored a couple goals each. I still think Eski can be a good player in this league, but he's gonna have to get his mojo back coming off the bench and playing with the reserves because United doesn't have the luxury of carrying such an unprodcutive player in the starting lineup right now.
  2. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Seems like we should be starting Hon.
  3. Th4119

    Th4119 Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Annandale, VA
    Seems like United's front office dropped the ball (or is it missed the net?) by not scouting some forgein talent and bringing someone in to bolster the front line.

    Granted, noone expected Eskandarian to have such a catostrophic letdown this year, but when you look at the guys that the Galaxy, Metros, and Dallas, among others, are bringing in and helping the team and all United adds is Jamil Walker after he got cut from Chivas, you've gotta wonder.

    I posted in another thread that I think Jaime's numbers will shoot up once Alecko (or anyone who starts beside Moreno) figures out how to score, but that just doesn't seem to be happening yet.
  4. GoDC

    GoDC Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Hamilton, VA
    If not Tino then why not Nana or Jamil. Peter says we have 28 players. Why don't we try one of them. Think Walker would like to score against the Quakes next week? Think Nana would like Freddy to come back from his time with the U20s and be the other guy from Ghana? Let's see something. Esky hasn't even played as a forward for at least two weeks so let's try something different. The Quakes are terrible right now so why don't we take 3 points out of the mini stadium.
  5. Benedict XVI

    Benedict XVI Member

    Nov 22, 1999
    Ciudad del Encanto
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I expected a letdown from Eski because I really thought last year was a fluke.

    I wouldn't discount PK goals, though, because earning PK's means we're in the box in a dangerous position. Who has drawn the PK's?
  6. Th4119

    Th4119 Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Annandale, VA
    But didn't he score something like 14 goals last season in all competitions and playoffs? A letdown maybe, but 14 isn't really a fluke in my opinion. Even if he were only going to score 6-8 this season, a huge drop from last year, you'd still expect a goal or two by now, which could have greatly helped the team in some games.

    As for PKs, the three off of the top of my head have been drawn by Quaranta, Eskandarian, and a handball off of a long cross that took an awkward skip off of wet grass.

    I agree that you can't completely discount PK goals for a number of reasons, but United's forward production is back to the Hudson craptacular era at this point and needs to improve.
  7. pokemoncards

    pokemoncards New Member

    Aug 17, 2003
    does anyone know what adu's +/- is?
  8. DutchFootballRulez

    Jul 15, 2003
    Baltimore, MD
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    SHHHHHHH! Don't say that out loud. He might come back.
  9. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    1. Totally agreed that Eskandarian has played poorly. I think the effort is there. But the first touch definitely isn't.

    2. Moreno hasn't been that bad. I think he's played better than Knave and some others have. Remember--he doesn't score that often. He's the setup man and the fellow who holds the ball.

    3. I think the single largest issue is that we're failing to get the ball into the attacking zone quickly enough. This is a function of several things:
    --our backline responds to pressure with square balls or backpasses. We haven't had many cheap give-aways but our backline plays like a Serie-A team with a 1-goal lead on the road with 10 minutes to play.
    --our midfield has been unimpressive. Some nice individual play but we haven't done a good job winning 50-50 balls in midfield. Instead, we win balls in our defensive third of the field. Part of this is so-so play by our midfielders. Part of this is the need either to play someone additional on the backline to provide numbers for defensive support. In any case, our 5-man midfield of last year that was a revelation, swarming around the ball and quickly transitioning into attack has been none of the above. Competent, okay but not swarming and not quickly transitioning into attack.
    --when our forwards have gotten the ball, they've had no-one to get it to. Didn't Eskandarian play 3 balls across the front of the goal and there were no blackshirts to be seen? In short, out midfield isn't getting into space like it was last year.

    4. Why not Nana Kuffour? Actually, why start him in the first place? He's scored goals in the reserves--good for him. But I think the larger issue here isn't "can someone score?" b/c all of these players have shown to some extent they can score when given appropriate opportunities and service. Heck--Quintanilla showed he can score in MLS! The question has to be: will this person increase our ability to play the ball quickly to the frontline and provide good service to our frontrunners? If Moreno and Eskandarian were consistently seeing that, than I'd be very unhappy with them. But we're simply not getting as many shots and as many chances as we were last year. And that's almost entirely a function of what is happening in the midfield and backline. Esky's play is a function of him not finishing the few chances he does get. But he's not alone there--Adu blew a couple of chances as well. But bottom line, neither Eskandarian or Adu cost us this match--we just didn't generate many chances, few shots on goal and were rarely dangerous.

    Don't get me wrong--I don't think Moreno and Eskandarian have played brilliantly. But other than some nice play from Gomez and occasional work from Adu, Simms or Guppy, they've done it either in tandem or on their own.

    Ursula made this point much earlier in the season and I kind of went "well, okay" but mentally discounted it as not much impact. But I think the real way we're missing Nellie is not leadership (he was a great leader but we seem to be doing okay), not individual defensive (we are but Boswell as stepped up), not organizational (except for the Chivas debacle and NE 6 minutes of horror, we've been okay in this regard). It's that with Nellie we had accurate balls quickly played out of the back. And what we have now is an exchange of 4-5 balls before it sometimes get past the D-mid.
  10. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

    Sep 29, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    But Joe, does your theory mean that we need to play to compensate for Eski's weaknesses? On Saturday I saw a guy who was slower than the defenders and not strong enough to get around them.
  11. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    1. It's not my theory. Nowak said as much after the game--about taking 7-8 touches to play the ball forward instead of 1-2.

    One thing you could really get from Etcheverry, even when his game was off--the man could switch play like no-one in MLS. Right now on our team, we don't switch play, we don't play the ball forward quickly. We mostly make a series of square passes and allow the defense time to set up.

    2. Dallas outmuscled EVERYONE on our side. Partially, many of their guys are bigger. That's also part of the game Colin Clarke wants his players to play. That's also what happens when you give the defense time to get set rather than catching them in transition.

    3. The FSC announcers said that Eskandarian was supposed to be the fasted United player over 100 yards and Gros the fastest over 40. Even if I got those two reversed, it does mean Eskandarian ain't as slow as molassas running uphill in the dead of winter.

    4. All players have weaknesses. But this team isn't designed around Eskandarian. It's simply that:
    --next to Gomez (who typically plays further away from goal), he's our player most likely to go for goal, take shots and seize the opportunity when placed before him (rather than seek to pass).
    --he's a good foil to Moreno: he doesn't need a lot of the ball to be effective, he is willing to work hard, will pressure the other side to create errors, makes lots of runs off the ball, is willing to play up.

    Now, would I prefer to have Brian McBride instead? You bet! But that's not what we have. Domestic forwards who score well are rare. Those that have come out of the draft are rarer still (Twellman was drafted but he came out of Munich 1860's reserve side. McBride played pro ball in Germany before coming to MLS). We can win with an in-form Eskandarian. He's not in-form. We can score (regardless of who's at forward) if the entire team plays smart, quick-transition soccer. We're not playing this approach.
  12. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Agree so far....
    TOTALLY AGREE HERE! I once tried to set Benjamin up with a cute little Bay Area number and.. well... the less said the better.

    I think Joe is as spot on as you can get here. (Besides talking about me. Ahem.)

    We have to get the ball down the field faster! The midfield then must support the strikers better! The passes must be crisper, the point of attack must happen twice as fast as it's been happening. The vision must be improved 75%. I think the starters we have can do the job; but they are complacent seeming.

    As part of that we need guys out wide who know how to play out wide. having esky as a wide forward doesn't cut it. Neither does Adu know how to play that role. Gros and Olsen are okay- Olsen more so because he knows how to find openings from out wide even though he can be a tad slow in filling them. Gros doesn't get that yet (he is still learning afterall) but his pace keeps the opposing defense aware of him (making Olsen's job easier).

    But we need the defenders to get the ball upfield fast- and that not only means that the defenders need to pass the ball fast (and Nicky too) but the mids and forwards must get open as well. This was the biggest thing organizationally that Nowak did last year to help the offense improve over Hudson's offense. But this year the team has slipped. Losing Nellie hurt this but it's not like the rest of the defenders and d-mids aren't capable of a fast transition; it's that they are complacent now.

    Ultimately it's not Jaime's or Esky's or Adu's or Gomez' faults. They tend to get the ball when they have a set defense to attack and I don't care who you are in MLS, the success rate in attacking a set defense is painfully small.

    Maybe Q1 (is he just Q now?) should play. Maybe Nana will move the ball faster. Whatever. Just get the friggin ball to move faster. One and two touch. Movement off the ball. Crisp.
  13. Eskandarian11

    Eskandarian11 New Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Glendale, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    well, Esky has me frustrated as well. As much as I have argued that he is in a natural slump for any forward, i don't think the slump can go on much further if DC is to make a serious run for the playoffs and to actually win a 5th Cup.

    There is no doubt about his workrate and his hunger to score a goal to break this scoreless streak, but in my mind he is still not 100% or just may be getting there in mid June. If he can turn things around, i think there is still time for Esky to step it up and get 8-10 goals this season and make a good showing in the playoffs, but again it all has to start with the break-loose goal where the former MLS Cup MVP can have some of this weight taken off his back and can gain his confidence back in front of goal.
  14. DCU

    DCU Member

    Feb 15, 1999
    Bay Area, CA
    Right. The same guys who told us Chris Albright is the fastest player in MLS.
  15. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA that time in his career, he was one of the fastest guys in MLS. And his quickness and speed is one of the assets he has as a right back.

    There are 3 kinds of speed:
    --speed of foot
    --speed of technique
    --speed of thought.

    I think Eskandarian is pretty good at #1. But with his first touch off, #2 he's weak at right now (which gives defenders plenty of recovery time). And when the entire offense is out of kilter or not on the same page, than #3 is bad for everyone.
  16. Hunter R

    Hunter R New Member

    Jul 7, 2003
    Me, Myself and I
    DC United
    I don't see what the problem is with giving Nana a shot at the first team. What we have tried thus far has not worked very well.
  17. DCFAN96

    DCFAN96 Member

    Apr 24, 2004
    Why not try Gomez and Moreno up top with Adu playing right behind the two. Gomez is arguably our best finisher and Moreno is begging for someone to play off of upfront, and giving Adu the middle of the field will only make him more dangerous. It couldn't hurt to try, besides that would allow us to use Gros, Dema, Simms and Olsen in the midfield all at once which is a very athletic and energetic group.
  18. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The argument of: "what we're doing hasn't worked so why not try something different" is kind of like saying "why not try David Stokes at target forward?".

    Eskandarian has no first touch right now--that's a factor. But the biggest reasons our attack is bad are:
    --lack of coherence (players don't make runs, don't make runs in the right spots, players not on the same page). Kuffour doesn't cure that. None of that is his strength.
    --too slow to play the ball out of the back. Kuffour doesn't solve that (unless we play him at defender).
  19. Hunter R

    Hunter R New Member

    Jul 7, 2003
    Me, Myself and I
    DC United
    Stokes isn't an offensive player -- Nana is.

    He may be able to provide us with something while Esky continues to find his mojo -- wherever he has left it.

    At this point, trying something (Walker, Nana, etc) new in the offense cannot be a bad idea.
  20. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA

    1. But the "start Stokes" rationale is basically the same. It's like saying "what we're doing isn't working so let's do something else." That position assumes that anything else (or almost anything else) is better. And I don't think that's the case here.

    Nothing against Kuffour but what's the rationale for why he'd be a plus? If it's just to put in a different offensive player, than you could justify putting in ANY offensive player.

    I agree that Eskandarian's touch has deserted him. But he's still much better (even right now) at other things that some of our other attacks (Thompson, Walker, Kuffour) have to offer.

    Furthermore, as I've said a couple of ways. I don't think Eskandarian is the issue here. I think our lack of transition is. We need to play the ball quicker out of the back. Let's hypothetically suppose we'd had Brian Ching instead of Eskandarian in our last game. I think the score still would have been 2-0. Our forwards NEVER saw the ball at any point in the match were FCD's defense wasn't back, in position, compact and marked up. That does Eskandarian and Adu in particular a real disservice. We lost against Dallas b/c we didn't transition quicker. That's about seeing the field, moving off the ball and playing the ball well on a 1-touch, 2-touch kind of play. I've not heard ANYTHING indicating this is a strength of Kuffour and/or Walker.

    2. Maybe Kuffour would provide something Eskandarian wouldn't. But I don't think it would have mattered in the FCD match. And what the team needs more of, I don't think Kuffour brings to the table at this point.

    3. I think Walker was a good pickup. But he's the last person I think we need right now--a brainless athlete. Walker brings speed and quickness of body but doesn't have a good first touch, doesn't link well with teammates. I see him of no value whatsoever against a settled, compact defense. Subbing on Walker in the last 20 minutes against FCD would have made less sense to me than subbing on Stokes (at least Stokes might win a ball in a packed penalty area against FCD).

    Look, I understand the frustration and desire to want to make changes. But change for change sake is an Andrulis speciality. You change b/c it solves what is is causing the problem. If our offense was flowing, we were generating dozens of shots per game, oodles of great chances--and we just weren't finishing them (or Eskandarian was just standing around), I'd be right behind you chanting for a change. But Kuffour or Walker bring nothing to address was is going wrong now--other than a shuffle of the deck.

    Two guys who would have made a world of difference in our match last night were Gros and Guppy. They'd have spread the field, created more pressure down field, drawn Valakari to one side (opening up the middle for Gomez or Adu) and played the ball better into tight space.) As I mentioned earlier, Nellie would have made a huge difference last night just from his distribution out of the back. So would have Earnie Stewart. I'm not crying over lost players, only that we fielded a young team and that young team was careful with the ball, had a lot of possession but continuously made life impossible for our offensive by going sideways (but not switching play), going backwards, passing back and forth when faced with some pressure. All of this allowed the FCD players to get set, get their wind back after a run downfield, markup and stay compact.
  21. GoDC

    GoDC Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Hamilton, VA
    But there is also the possibilty of individual talent scoring a goal. Eski is not providing that. Maybe Nana or someone else would.
  22. big spaniel

    big spaniel Member

    Nov 18, 1999
    Arlington, Virginia
    Like everybody I am frustrated by United's inability to go forward. Nowak is right -- 1-2 touches instead of 8-10. Last Saturday we were constantly passing the ball backwards to get set up, so it should not have been a surprise that Dallas (a very big team from front to back) was waiting for us defensively. Adu was particularly guilty in this regard -- he was clearly afraid to push the ball up on his own (perhaps sensitive to the criticism that he is doing too much on his own?) and more often than not passed the ball back.

    Can I suggest that this is an expression of a lack of confidence on the back line? Players have to be comfortable taking risks -- passing the ball forward is inherently risky (there are defenders there) and passing the ball back involves almost no risk. If a midfielder makes a mistake in passing the ball forward, the defense is going to have to come through and make a stop. But if you're not confident in your defense, might you be more apprehensive in moving the ball forward?
  23. doctorjim

    doctorjim New Member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Part of the problem is the current back line. Nowak has everyone tracking back even more than usual to cover for them. When DC wins the ball, it's usually well into their half of the field -- and therefore that much harder to move upfield. Either the team develops more confidence in the current back line or Nowak puts in different players. One problem with the current threesome in the back is that none of them represent an obvious advantage for DC, that is, there is no reason to expect any one of them (Namoff, Boswell or Prideaux) to dominate the player they are marking. They are all competent, but just that. On the other hand, both Stokes and Wilson are athletic enough that they might be able to dominate an opposing player. Obviously they are not as experienced as Namoff and Prideaux and will certainly make some mistakes, but, in the long run, they may represent improvements.

    During the best stretch last year, DC was winning the ball around midfield and quickly counter-attacking. This year, DC seems to be unable to win the ball as easily and the counterattacks have started deeper and been slower to develop. I am not sure what the answer is to winning the ball sooner. Perhaps Dema's return will help. Getting Gros and Simms back should help too. Guppy is not likely to help much since everyone else has to work hard to cover for his lack of pace. Again part of the issue is having the confidence that someone else will cover for you if you attempt a tackle and don't succeed. DC seems to be playing more tentatively this year.

    Nelsen never struck me as a good distributor of the ball. Last year, Namoff was the only back who could do this with any consistency. Actually Stokes is probably as good as any of the backs DC has in terms of pushing the ball forward -- either with a pass or by carrying it himself.

    Final thought -- Moreno, in my view, is even slower this year than he was last. If I were going to make a change upfront, I would be tempted to replace him rather than Esky. Moreno, in my view, plays because Nowak appreciates his experience and his ability to distribute the ball -- compensating for the fact that, unless Freddy is playing in the middle, DC does not have any really creative midfielder. This year, Moreno's distribution has been much too slow and much too cautious. In addition, the opposition realizes that Moreno can no longer beat anyone on the dribble and therefore they can over play him once he gets the ball. Clearly Nowak has made a major commitment to Moreno in terms of assembling the team, but it seems to me that the time for a basic change is here or will soon be.
  24. xboxmaddplaya

    xboxmaddplaya New Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Woodbridge, VA
    Maybe we should sign another forward? What about that guy from Harbour View Sheldon Stewart was it? I cant remember the name, but i think he could do really well in MLS.....and another idea is we should maybe put Moreno in the midfield since he cant or more like wont shoot the ball anymore. Or go with a 3 forward lineup.
  25. MarioKempes

    MarioKempes Member+

    Real Madrid, DC United, anywhere Pulisic plays
    Aug 3, 2000
    Proxima Centauri
    Real Madrid
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I hate to say this, but if Esky doesn't start scoring, we are in trouble, and so is he. We may have to shop him around during the offseason if things continue as they are going now. Still, he's got, say, one month to turn things around and then he should sit. I hope he succeeds.

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