Last night, I sat at Quest Field, in my #9 jersey with a cloud over my head. It wasn't just the heavy rain clouds, either. It was the fate of one of my favorite Sounders: Blaise Nkufo. Before the game, I heard a lot of talk that sounded like "Good Riddance", and after, it sounded more like "Maybe we needed him". I just wanted to put it into a little perspective, for myself, if not for others.
Being a Nkufo fan for these months since watching him at the world cup has not been easy. "He's Slow" they'd say, or "He's too old". How would one defend these statements? He isn't all that fast, and a spring chicken he is not, but some of us saw something special in him.
I am not here to say we should have kept him or claim the front office has failed us all, but just to defend the body of work of a fantastic player, even if we didn't see his best years. I must say that I am glad he is gone, because if there was an issue big enough to cause either side to doubt the situation, it is better to part ways amicably then to drag it out like a soap opera (I.E. Ljungberg). I am simply here to state that Nkufo did what we expected of him, and he did it with class and a glint in his eye that some of us found inspirational.
The biggest thing I have had a problem with is all of the Nkufo haters saying he did not do what we brought him here to do: score goals. In the 11 MLS League matches he scored 5 goals, all from different areas, all in different ways. The perspective I wish to bring is the number of goals the other players on our team have scored for our Shield.In his career (according to Wikipedia) He has scored an impressive 209 goals in 442 league appearances in leagues across the globe, averaging out to about a goal in 47% of his matches. This is a strong percentage for a striker in any league and it is the reason he has a bronze statue in Enschede. (note: Wayne Rooney averages 41% and Fernando Torres averages 46%) If your argument is that his form fell off when he came to us, than it should be noted that he has a 45% in the MLS, almost exactly equaling his career average.
Here are some of the averages of other players on our squad (Do take into account that this does not take into account minutes played, so it would be unkind to frequent subs)
Freddy Montero: 39%
Mike Fucito: 25%
Steve Zakuani: 23%
Nate Jaqua: 20%
Alvaro Fernandez: 15%
Brad Evans: 10%
This is not to discount the accomplishments of the rest of our players or demean the FO for letting a prolific scorer go, but to simply lay respect where it is surely due. Blaise Nkufo is deserving of our thanks for his help in the team effort that was the 9-1-1 record at the end of last season, that saved us from unbearable insignificance. He did his job, and he did it with a little class, and a little flair.
This is my first FanPost, so forgive the mediocre writing skills, but I had to share these thoughts. I hope anyone who sees this will at least give a second thought before they throw another "Good riddance" where it may not be deserved.