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Best of Sept. in men's pro soccer

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: October 2, 2020

A leading video analysis provider, InStat digs into the numbers behind the success (or lack thereof) of players on the field.

In a new monthly feature, TDS will dig into some of the top performances of young players from club, college and professional soccer. Driving the data will be the InStat Index, a number derived by a player’s number of quality action in a game.

Keep in mind that players are only included when their games are added to the database. Below is a look at some of the names that have performed well in September in men's pro soccer, both at home and abroad.


Gianluca Busio, Sporting KC: A move to a deeper role for Sporting KC – as a ball-facilitating No. 6 – has led to a run of solid performances from the 18-year-old central midfielder. The high-water mark via the InStat Index came in a 1-0 win against Minnesota on September 14. Busio completed 91% of 67 passes attempted, recovering the ball 10 times and winning 60% of 25 Challenges. He also had four Interceptions and Recovered the Ball 10 times. While he’s never going to be a destroyer, he can be a two-way distributor from deep. That’s the role that is going to get him a move abroad after some uneven performances elsewhere.

Brenden Aaronson, Philadelphia Union: A rumored move to Red Bull Salzburg is reportedly a done deal for Aaronson, who put in a chart-topping performance against Inter Miami over the weekend. Aarsonson doesn’t see a ton of the ball, despite being a central midfielder. But he did manage to complete 96% of 23 passes, completing 3 of 6 Dribbles and contesting 23 challenges (although he won just 35% of them). Scoring a goal also helped him as well.

U.S. kids abroad

Bryang Kayo, Wolfsburg II: Jumping straight into the starting lineup for Wolfsburg II, Kayo has put up impressive numbers in his first four games in Germany. One early number that’s interesting during that stretch is that Kayo has suffered the most fouls on his team so far (9). He has the second-most dribbles (18) on the team, completing 67% of them so far. Completing 86% of his passes (on 111 attempts) indicates that he’s more than capable of handling this level. His development this season should help to fuel his profile for U.S. men’s national team fans.

Nicolas Carrera, Holstein Kiel U19: In a 1-0 win against Chemnitzer FC on September 19, Carrera the highest InStat Index score playing his first game for his new club in Germany. The longtime U.S. youth international attempted the most passes on his team (61) completing them at a rate of 85%, also best on his team. His ball security was going, losing possession just four times. He had the most Ball Recoveries (17), Defensive Challenges (17) and Interceptions (12) in the game for his new club. Quite the first impression.


Omar Sowe, New York Red Bulls II: The Gambian forward may sit outside the U.S.-eligible restriction, but he was the best and most productive player for Red Bulls II in a five-game stretch. He edges out teammates Caden Clark, John Tolkin and Jake LaCava to earn this distinction, scoring five goals and adding an assist in a wild month for Red Bulls II. No only did he convert on five of nine chances, he led his team in Chances Created as well, amassing a total of six during September. A 71% pass completion mark could be better, but considering he plays in a Red Bulls system that doesn’t value the ball as much as others, it’s not a blemish. The caveat for him here is that his goals came against a Philadelphia Union II team that can be brittle at times – regardless, Sowe had a September to remember.

Phillip Goodrum, Atlanta United II: While the focus on younger players in USL is easy to drift towards, Goodrum enjoyed a productive five-game stretch for Atlanta United II (four of the games were in September). He showed himself to be a very good chance creator during September, generating 10 chances in four games. Just two of those were turned into goals by his teammates, but the UNC Wilmington product showed well against quality independent opposition. Goodrum’s certainly trending up after this month and should see heavy minutes in the final couple of games of the USL Championship season.

Justin Che, North Texas SC: Even if the level of USL League One isn’t quite that of the Championship, Justin Che asserting himself as a starting center back for North Texas at the age of 16 is notable nevertheless. While he’s not quite the hulking behemoth at the back, his ability to read the game and analyze what’s in front of him has helped him to a strong September run. He completed 86% of his attempts from the last five games, providing a conduit from that back and quality on the ball required in most modern systems. His 43 Defensive Challenges in that run were most on the team, and he won 67% of the – not bad for a teenager playing against grown men. His 24 Interceptions were also best amongst his teammates, and he’ll look to finish the season on a high note.

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