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2016 Player Profile #11: Andreas Ivanschitz

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The 2016 MLS Cup was Ivanschitz’ first major trophy.

Seattle Sounders vs. Club America: Photos Mike Russell Foto

When the Seattle Sounders season started, he was the central playmaker. By the end of the year, Brian Schmetzer used Andreas Ivanschitz as his left winger and set-piece service specialist. Ivanschitz is now with Victoria Plzen, and the 33-year-old continues to be one of Austria’s greatest soccer players.

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.

Andreas Ivanschitz 2016

Competitions Minutes Starts Subs Goals Assists Realio Rating
Competitions Minutes Starts Subs Goals Assists Realio Rating
MLS 1910 25 3 3 8 6.29
MLS Playoffs 110 1 2 0 0 5.33
USOC 0 0 0 0 0 N/A
CCL 160 2 0 0 1 6
USL 0 0 0 0 0 N/A
TOTALS 2180 28 5 3 9
Average 6.182

Offense:

One of the better long ball passers in the league, he is particularly effective on indirect free kicks at angles. Most of Ivanschitz’ assists come from wide positions and long passes. He is decent in tight spaces, but more likely to use individual skill than a pass when a defender closes distance. Willing to shoot from distance if left open. More effective in wide spaces than central ones.

Defense:

Works better in front of a more defensive fullback. Can leave an attacking fullback with unsupported spaces behind him. Unlikely to enter tackles. Puts enough effort in while the team presses to occupy a lane, but will not force a turnover himself.

Physique:

Ivanschitz plays at a simple pace that doesn’t often speed up. He isn’t slow, but controlled. Sometimes struggled with the amount of contact allowed within MLS. Not a great leaper. Possibly becoming more injury prone.

Realio’s Thoughts:

Andreas Ivanschitz has a skillset that at times looked incredible and at times merely average for MLS play. A great accessory piece, Ivanschitz doesn't have the ability to take over a game completely on his own, lacking the pace to create separation. What he does possess is the best set piece service we have had in Seattle, and an above average tactical grasp that allowed him to fit in well with similarly skilled players. His age and pace made positional defense a necessity with 1v1 physical matchups a definite weakness.

Starting with average scores in both CCL games, Andreas played in 90% of the MLS games coached by Sigi Schmid in 2016, earning a 6.28 rating to go with three Man of the Match awards. The early win over Philadelphia was his best outing of the year; he had three shots on goal, a whopping six key passes, and two assists. This earned him a near-perfect 9 rating from me. Ivanschitz surely benefited from the creative players around him, and it was a joy to watch him set the table for others.

Ivanschitz played in 10 matches for Brian Schmetzer, and continued his 6.3 pace, before fading a bit in the playoffs. It should be noted that after mostly going missing in the playoffs, Andreas slammed his PK home in the final confidently.

Ivanschitz didn't slow from last year's scores and his cumulative 6.18 over 33 matches was solid, but he definitely struggled a bit in the second half of the season to find his fit on the field. I would love to be able to afford a luxury player like AI on the team for his set piece excellence alone, but he isn't a 90 minute guy any more and, at this point, the Sounders have younger, fitter players on the roster. A team that needs a fierce competitor who can offer incredible service from a protected or bench role is going to get the services of a really quality professional, but it won't be SSFC.

Best Case 2017:

A title with Plezn, who are on the way towards that goal. Ivanschitz should be a regular starter there.