DeAndre Yedlin is 19 years-old. I know this because the Soundersfc.com tells me this is his age. Assuming he didn’t come from some far away land and lie about his age. Because, there are athletes (and my wife) that do that. But, since the young man grew up in the 206, I feel as though it can be moderately trusted.
Already Yedlin has progressed this season from being a academy prospect, to the organizations first ever home-grown player, to potential first team player to a starter that casted out a guy who had a lot of hype on him just one season ago. He’s injected himself into the rookie-of-the-year talk–as he should–and that should say something for simply being a 19 year-old.
His electric runs, 80′s style prince hair cut and general play on the field has created a cast of googly eyes with many supporters and analysts alike; praise rains in from opposing vets, such as CCL- starlet Herculez Gomez who combated Yedlin during the Champions League matches. It’s simply hard not to become generally enamoured and excited about what else he can do or what he can become. However, before we start going down that road, what I believe is just as interesting is looking at what he is currently.
So let’s take a look at what he’s doing out on the field:
- He is getting 10.5% of all Sounders touches and averages a total of 109 over the course of 90 minutes.
This is huge and an understated thought. That a rookie is touching the ball this much and having this big of impact on the game. Especially when you talk about the Sounders being ranked second in overall possession in MLS according to Tempo-free soccer.
- His distribution of the ball is 74.76%
Okay, the hard core stat head in me is going nuts. I went through the games and collected all the Opta data from his 6 MLS starts but I didn’t get his attacking pass percentage so we’re left with his overall percentage. Either way it doesn’t exactly tell us the degree of difficulty, but just that he’s servicing the ball well enough to maintain possession nearly 75% of the time and when you consider however often he’s touching the ball, that’s significant.
- Gathered 5 defender blocks, 13 blocked crosses, 31 interceptions and 18 ball clearances which combines for a 67 CBI
I’m not really sure how MLSsoccer.com does their CBI, I looked at their leader boards and they only have Yedlin at 31 CBI. So it’s possible they don’t include blocked crosses, but even then he’d be up there. The bottom line is that for a guy that generally plays on the outside and away from much of the action he’s getting to a lot of loose balls and winning them back.
- 2 of 5 crosses have accounted for direct shots on goal
He may not be the creative force that was Montero, but he’s always looking to try to facilitate some type of offense. You can’t hate on that. He’s going to get better and already he’s above average for the league position. That’ should scare opposing defenders and excite supporters.
There is more to say but I’ll keep it to this, though it comes across as damning praise, he does more good things than bad. Tough he’ll makes mistakes from time-to-time, obvious rookie mistakes, his speed limits those opposing chances and he’s so very good about helping create a turnover to get us back attacking.
The biggest thing right now that I think you could point out is his lack of success in creating chances through air. He has only completed 5 of 16 crosses, successfully. That has some to do with Eddie Johnson being out of the line-up but it also has to do with him making better decisions.
While Djimi Traore gets a lot of love for why this defense has improved, even from lasts years stellar cast. Yedlin is another reason. He doesn’t get beat off the ball, he to loose balls, he sees passes before they happen and with his speed he is able to mitigate the amount of counter attacks, despite a high line being often deployed this season.
His hair is loud, but this soft spoken teenager is about to take the league by storm.