Posted on May 2, 2012
By Jay O’Burgess
I never have paid attention to statistics.
Lionel Messi seems to break a new record every week. Oliver Kahn has the most clean sheets in Bundesliga history with 196 in 557 games. Cameroon’s Roger Milla is the oldest person to play in a World Cup at age 42,
I can go on and on but to me these are nice little trivia bits to impress soccer aficionados and make yourself seem like a real scholar of the game, but I’m not really a stat guy.
Well, I wasn’t until I started to play fantasy soccer with a friend of mine and through this pastime I was forced to take look at them. The competitor that I am, obviously I want to win and knowing stats will definitely give you an edge, knowing who is on form, who has a high pass percentage as well as assists and goals will weigh heavily in your favor.
That is just skimming the surface. You can look at a players head to head performances against a certain team, their career records and even how they stack against certain players. After saying all of that, stats can shed light, and more importantly arguments. Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey? There is not a stat in the world that could convince be that Donovan is better than Dempsey.
I don’t want to argue or do I want to throw a ton of stats your way. I just have a healthy appreciation for the Texan’s game.
I wasn’t always a fan of Clint Dempsey. I just thought he was another average American playing at a mid-table English club. See Brian McBride and Claudio Reyna for more detail there. When I first saw him, Dempsey was just another player.
Donavan still holds the United States’ more significant records. such as all-time leading goal-scorer and for most assists. All that for me is nice trivia because Donavan has never really in my eyes raised his hands and said, “I am the face of U.S, soccer,” simply because he never made a concerned effort to ply his trade in Europe.
As any reader knows, Europe is the gold standard of world soccer. Every stat points to it. So Landon’s image in my head will always be of a maybe player. Maybe he could have dominated in the leagues, maybe he could have scored the spectacular.
With Dempsey there is no maybe, there is doing. The work rate, the skill and the class with which he plays has come on these past few seasons and to take a normal club like Fulham and give them an air of danger about it.
No disrespect to Donovan and I have loads of respect for the man, but I don’t rush to see him play. I don’t get excited when he turns out for the LA Galaxy and when he plays for the U.S.
It’s more of a feeling of hopefully Donavan puts in a nice game. It’s all very lukewarm, but with Dempsey I break my neck to try to get to the television when Fulham plays and when he has the stars and strips on. I just know he is about to put in work.
There is a nastiness to Clint Dempsey.
I feel that if you fought with him in school you would have to go the nurse afterwards that is all part of his allure to me. He is a tough guy, an old school player. I really hope he can push on and America will finally realize they have a real world-class player in its mitts.
Photo: Clint Dempsey doesn’t need statistics to define him as a soccer player. Scott Bales/YCJ
Categories: Guest Writer, My Two Cents, North America, U.S.A.