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Mike Fucito Should Remain Starter

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Mike Fucito created his chance against Real Salt Lake. Jamison Olave couldn't stop him, only contain him.
Mike Fucito created his chance against Real Salt Lake. Jamison Olave couldn't stop him, only contain him.

Last year, much of the of the case made for Sigi Schmid starting Mike Fucito in league play revolved around his PP90, which was absurdly high due to sample size. Around here, we of course we knew that would not carry over into multiple goals in every start. But despite the lack of forward scoring, the Seattle Sounders are generating chances with Fucito on the pitch, and it is obvious that Jeff Parke respects his game (Mayers, Seattle Times);

"He causes havoc everywhere because he's got that 'no quit' attitude," said Parke. "You know what you're going to get out of him, game in and game out, because you know he's going to put that effort in."

And while that effort gets the respect of the fans and teammates, let's look at some data. Zero Goals. Zero Assists. That's hard to argue, and at least one fellow SBN Soccer blogger says that he should sit. He probably isn't the only one. Let's dive deeper.

Fucito Starts Fucito Doesn't
Duels 51.5% 51.4%
Passsing 73.3% 71.7%
Opp. Passing 69.0% 73.6%
Possession 55.8% 50.4%

The team in matches where Fucito starts has better passing, better defense, and better possession (per Opta data at www.mlssoccer.com). Those are only general indications of play, and certainly not huge correlations to wins. Sigi though wants different data. He wants chances created, goals, assists. We have some of that as well.

 

It’s just right now it seems like our decisions in front of goal are just off a little bit. I have to look at it and say to myself, ‘Are we getting the ball forward? Are we getting shots on goal? Are we creating chances? Are we carrying the play?’ The only stats that really talk about that you can look at possession, you can look at shots, you can look at corner kicks. When you look at those stats we are always near the top of the league. From that standpoint it has been good. When you look at the top teams they play to zero a lot more than we do. There is a much higher correlation between goals against and maybe even fouls committed to your place in the standings than there is to shots. Whether you get a lot of shots or not doesn’t matter where you are in the standings

 

Player Chances Reaches Shots Minutes Sh/Ch Ch/90 Rch/90
Montero 31 58 26 935 0.84 2.98 5.58
Fucito 10 12 6 356 0.60 2.53 3.03
Jaqua 11 14 8 566 0.73 1.75 2.23
Rosales 9 43 7 663 0.78 1.22 5.84
Evans 15 9 9 923 0.60 1.46 0.88

That's using Power Stats Sounders page. A page that doesn't have the Red Bull game, so no minutes played from that game are counted. There aren't a ton of options for forward. Of those currently performing at a starter's level the pairing of Fucito and Fredy Montero has created the most opportunities either with chances at their own feet, or by placing the ball at their teammates' feet.

Plenty of opportunities created, and certainly worthy of remaining in the starting lineup. The real question is will the weak defense of Toronto FC be broken by the Montero/Fucito pairing.