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 players that have performed well in November in men’s club and college soccer.
Gianluca Busio, Sporting KC: Quietly, the 18-year-old central midfielder enjoyed a relatively strong season in KC. Busio appeared in two games in November, including one playoff game. It was that clash against the Earthquakes, where Busio scored a goal and was credited with an assist. He won an average of 51% of his challenges, a critical piece of his game as he looks to sharpen a clear position on the field. Per the InStat Index, Busio was SKC’s best overall player at 342.
Donovan Pines, D.C. United: Despite losing the two games of November, and conceding seven goals, the 23-year-old center back was still viewed positively through InStat. Part of that boiled down to scoring a goal in the season finale versus Montreal, but most of it is how many challenges that he wins. As a 6-foot-5 defender, it’s not a huge surprise to see him win 82% of defensive challenges in the final two games. And that wasn’t from a small sample, as he contested 39 of those this month. He’s a decent passer as well, completing 82% of his attempts.
Jackson Yueill, San Jose Earthquakes: Recently called up into camp for the U.S. men’s national team, Yueill was one of the best young players in a two-game sample this month. His pass completion numbers were impressive, particularly in the 3-3 playoff draw against Sporting KC. He completed 86% of a whopping 99 pass attempts, and while a lot of those are simple, possession-retaining balls, a 79% mark of challenges won is also notable. Yueill remains one of the best young American midfielders in the league.
Ricardo Pepi, FC Dallas: A starter in two of the three matches in November, Pepi’s big moment came when he entered the playoff game against Portland from the bench. He got in behind the Timbers back line and provided a late equalizer, that pushed the game into overtime and penalty kicks. His passing has been notably strong, even in limited bursts, averaging 91% passes completed. Notably, Pepi underperformed his expected goals, which is something that he’ll look to improve. He scored the lone goal in three games, posting a 1.74 xG during that stretch – so not a massive variance.
Grayson Barber, Clemson: While Kimarni Smith is the obvious pick from Clemson’s run, Barber was nearly as important as the team won the ACC tournament. He was an elite chance creator in the three matches in November, creating seven opportunities for teammates, with just two turning into an assist. His ability to thrive on the right flank opened up chances for Smith. Posting an expected goals mark of 0.62, he only took six shots, happy to serve the provider rather than the goal scorer. He completed 77% of his passes and puts in the work that suggests a Homegrown offer might surface from Sporting KC during the offseason.
Filip Mirkovic, Pittsburgh: Teammate Veljko Petkovic was once again a big-time performer for the Panthers, and one of the best players measured on InStat among DI men’s programs. As a freshman, he led the team in pass completion percentage from his central midfield role, a big part of Pitt’s success. Mirkovic won 61% of his challenges, second-most among midfielders during the games in November.
Alex Henderson, Georgia State: While the Panthers came up short in a shootout during the Sun Belt Conference tournament, the freshman defender was one of his team’s best players, per the InStat numbers. He led the team in percentage of challenges won (77% of 91) and defensive challenges won (81% of 78) in the four games in November. Passing numbers were good as well, completing 79% of 234 pass attempts. Henderson was also first on the team in interceptions, with 45, as he enjoyed a solid first season in NCAA soccer after coming to the States from England.