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Leo Gonzalez - Answering the Left Back Dilemma

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When the season started we were all surprised that Zach Scott was the starting left back. A role and position that he had clearly earned, and every match he answered that call. He was gritty and determined, a strong defensive presence and not quite what Sigi wanted. Coach tried Nate Sturgis there to see if a bit of offense could be mixed in, and that didn't work well, nor poorly. He tried Tyson Wahl due to injury. Once upon a time there was rumor of Costa Rican Roy Miller being brought here on loan from a Norwegian side, and all of the frustrations that Sounders fans had with the Left Back would have been solved.

Midway through the season, the question of "Who is the correct Left Back in Sigi's system?" was answered, but only sort-of, as Graham pointed out a while ago. Leo has played both the Left Mid and Left Back at times in his career, and it is apparent that he has strong defensive skills, good on-ball skills and is a talented short passer. He lacks the booming entry pass that creates an effective target forward.

Offense: Leo Gonzalez can bring the ball forward, and with it at his feet he can beat a man. As a wide player he tends to the type that darts and dashes with shorter passes on entry. Leo offers possession and creativity in a position typically lacking in MLS and could play LWB in a 4 or 5 man backline, likely a LM or LDM as well.  His ball skills are versatile enough. What we haven't seen is his shot.

Defense: Gonzalez' defense was generally impressive. Sturdy enough to body up deep in the corner, and quick enough to get back when forward.  His positioning within the system seemed proper. Use to facing players with better technical skill than the typical MLS he was not often beat on a move.

Set-Plays: On the offensive set you won't find Leo in the scrum, he's back with Riley preparing to defend against the rapid outlet, and maybe that says something about his shot.  While tall, he isn't in the box to try and score. Defensively Gonzalez helps clog the area and has the height to trouble most MLS player.

Defining Moment: Against Barcelona. It wasn't that he didn't get beat, he did. It was that Leo played an attacking left back that was missing for the first half of the season. No longer would the backline be uneven, but instead had both ends that could get forward.

Statistics
Plus/Minus - 7 | 1
Plus/Minus Per 90 - 0.64 |  0.10
Productivity in League Play - 0
Productivity in Non-League - 0
Ratings from Prost Amerika -  6.38 (7th)

Second +/- listed uses Climbing the Ladder's data.

Short Term Peak - Gonzalez is currently at his peak. He will not be an All-Star, but instead can be a featured player on a good team. I don't expect to see him much in non-League play, as a back-up must be discovered. His National Team career seems to fading, particularly with Costa Rica out of the World Cup.

Past Reviews

  • Rights Controlled Players - Parke, Karkas, Smith
  • Lightly Used Developmental Players - Neagle, Brown, Fucito
  • Other Keepers - Boss, Eylander
  • Reserves - Graham, Sturgis, King, Scott
  • Subs - Nyassi, Wahl
  • USL Rotationals - Le Toux and Levesque
  • MLS Rotationals - Ianni and Vagenas
  • James Riley - MLS quality wingback or not?
  • Tyrone Marshall - Veteran Centerback
  • Jhon Kennedy Hurtado - First Sounder lost to Europe?
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    What are your thoughts on Leo as the left back of the present and future for Seattle?