Blessed with amazing speed, Oalex Anderson may be the best active player from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Just 21, the youngster will have to recover from a major knee injury suffered just prior to MLS Cup before he finds a new team, or returns to the Seattle Sounders.
The ranking is based on several hundred Sounder at Heart readers’ votes. Realio rated every single MLS regular season and playoff game as well as the two CONCACAF Champions League matches. He did not rate USL or USOC play.
Oalex Anderson 2016
Excellent use of speed to gain separation. Needs to improve decisiveness when it comes to choosing to pass or shoot. Focus in the final moment can improve. Not a great ball striker either from dead ball or run-of-play. Passing can improve, adding a league average cross would create a devastating winger.
Often forgoes effort after turnovers rather than applying immediate pressure. May be the worst defender among Seattle’s 2016 forwards.
The old saying goes, “you can’t teach speed.” Oalex has speed well beyond the MLS level. It may be his only tool, but he uses it well.
Perhaps no one on the Sounders roster captured the imagination of the fans as much as Oalex Anderson in preseason. Blessed with fantastic speed and immense potential at a young age, many thought last year’s S2 player was destined to be this year's breakout first team sensation. 1v1 attacking and field stretching abilities were needed and Oalex showed exciting glimpses of a dynamic attacker. Unfortunately there is much, much more to being successful on the MLS level than pure speed, and Anderson showed some pretty glaring holes in his skill set as the season wore on.
Getting time as early as the first match of the year, Anderson immediately showed off his engine and tricky wide play. Used often (12 appearances) by coach Sigi Schmid, Anderson was unfortunately mostly blind effort and no finesse. Often tasked to come into the game late and provide a spark, Oalex was overwhelmed by the moment consistently, and while he showed a number of MLS ready talents, there was just too little tactical awareness to see him connect with teammates. Too often Anderson would put his head down and bludgeon forward in direct attacks, many resulting in speculative shots or turnovers. Oalex utilized his pace and 1v1 dribbling ability to open up space for others, but failed to find open teammates and his eagerness to impress on the scoreboard clearly contributed to his poor play, and frustrated teammates and fans alike. Sometimes he looked overwhelmed by the moment. Other times he was too selfish on the ball. Overall, his biggest problem was a lack of composure and intelligent decision making under pressure that led to Anderson appearing lost on the field.
A variety of injuries and new players on the team limited Oalex to only two appearances for Coach Schmetzer, although he improved to a 5.5 rating in these games compared to a paltry 4.67 under coach Schmid. His overall grade of 4.79 was the second worst on the team and was clear evidence of a player just not "getting it" yet.
On the positive side, Anderson is only 21 years old and had 14 league appearances for a team that just won MLS Cup. Although it is entirely possible that his reportedly bad ACL injury suffered in the final practice of the year is the end of his time as a Sounder, if he rehabs appropriately, his age and above average pace might give him a chance in the future to trial again with the team.
Best Case 2017:
A healthy return from a major knee injury.