Out of Portmore, Jamaica via the University of New Mexico, the 25-year-old Oniel Fisher earned his way into playing time by showing that he could play both as a right back and a left back. He also could earn more calls into the Jamaican National Team.
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.
Oniel Fisher 2016
A decent crosser who looks to enter the attacking third. Can contribute on the dribble as well. Not a good shooter and can be left a bit open. On attacking set-pieces he can flash into space, but should instead be an outside option to reset the attack
Shouldn’t be known for one ill-timed two-footed tackle, but was cautious in one-on-one situations throughout the year. Great recovery speed and will limit forward runs if needed in defensive support. Will give up wide ground rather than the interior lane. He should be used as a safety valve on set-pieces.
Fisher can flash up the right side. He’s also able (and maybe overly willing) to tackle harshly despite his slight build.
Oniel Fisher is a player who looked to increase his playing time this year after a 2015 campaign that saw him appear 11 times in the regular season, mainly at left back. A natural right back, 2016 was supposed to be the year he pushed incumbent fullback Tyrone Mears using his above average pace and strong physicality as a springboard to more time and potential starts.
Mears missed opening day and Oniel started game one, unfortunately only lasting 41 minutes before being sent off late in the first half for a dangerous tackle. After this, Fisher was buried in coach Sigi Schmid's doghouse, only peeking out for a cameo in the 5-0 thrashing of Dallas on July 13th. Fisher looked great in this match as an attacking right back, offering differing cross angles and even had an assist to Joevin Jones, while holding off Fabian Castillo and Michael Barrios all night on defense.
Soon after, Schmid was gone and coach Schmetzer was very earnest in not changing a lineup that was suddenly working. As a consequence, Fisher didn’t play again until September 10th, but then featured three more times in the final six regular season games for the new coach. These substitute appearances gave Schmetzer some confidence, and lead to three more appearances in the playoffs for Fisher. Oniel matched his regular season average of 5.67 in my ratings during the postseason.
This 5.667 average is fairly strong for a player mainly used as a substitute and is an improvement of a third of a ratings point from his 5.364 cumulative rating last season.
Fisher is one of the main players looking to take advantage of the departures of Tyrone Mears and Dylan Remick this offseason; there looks to be a lot of backup minutes and possible spot starts available. All the tools to succeed are there for Oniel (speed, strength, toughness, passing ability, a varying cross that gives teammates opportunities to score) that you want from a fullback. Moving forward, Fisher needs to limit big mistakes and take advantage of every opportunity he gets. I think his third season as a professional is huge for him, and if Oniel continues to play under control while utilizing his great physical ability, I believe there is a definite place for Fisher to be an important part of every gameday 18.
Best Case 2017:
Fisher could be a hybrid right back and winger in the style of Joevin Jones.