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 best men’s players that have performed well in October in professional and college soccer.
Veljko Petkovic, Pittsburgh: The final two games of Pitt’s season were canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. It was an excellent October despite that. Petkovic started out on fire, scoring three goals and adding an assist in the first two games of the month against Syracuse and Virginia Tech. He then finished that up with four chances created in the final game of the month against Louisville, picking up two assists in a 4-1 win. A product of the NYCFC Academy, he was pretty good with possession, completing 79% of the passes he attempted. The goal-scoring edge he provided, along with teammate Valentin Noel, was crucial in the team’s wins this month, not to mention boosting his InStat Index.
Aime Mabika, Kentucky: A hulking center back that played three times in October – albeit not against the highest level of competition – Mabika was excellent in three wins for the Wildcats. His passing is very good from the back, completing 84% of his attempts, and only losing the ball 3.7 times per game. Unsurprisingly, he dominated challenges, averaging 21 per game, winning them 82% of the time. Will he get a look in MLS? At minimum, he’ll be a top candidate to be drafted from the senior class.
Nico Benalcazar, Wake Forest: One loss to Clemson aside, October was an excellent month for the Demon Deacons. A product of the New York City FC Academy, Benalcazar continues to grow and improve. The center back has anchored a defense that conceded four goals in six games, as Wake won five of those six games. He’s an excellent passer in Wake’s system, completing 95% of his passes, with an average of 84 attempts per game. Winning 78% of defensive challenge on average, Benalcazar looks like an even better player this season as a sophomore. Getting forward in the final game of the month, his goal helped boost his InStat Index for the month to 234, one of the best of the men’s DI teams playing in the fall.
Bryan Reynolds, FC Dallas: After selling Reggie Cannon to Boavista in Portugal, FC Dallas opened the door for Reynolds to assume the starting job at right back. He played in seven games during October as he continues to learn the position (Reynolds came through the FCD Academy playing mainly as a forward or winger). It’s no surprising that one of his biggest assets as a right back is his ability to get forward and create, averaging 2.7 crosses per game while completing 89% of his passes. Only winning 59% of his challenges, on an average of 15 attempted per game, that’s obviously a spot he will continue to work on as he makes the adjustment positionally. Reynolds inked a new deal this year and appears to have taken control of the right back spot.
Eryk Williamson, Portland Timbers: It’s been a breakout season for Williamson at the age of 23. During October, he posted an InStat Index rating of 294, as the Timbers went unbeaten in October. It went beyond scoring goals or creating them as well, as Williamson completed 88% of his passes, demonstrated relatively good ball security – losing it just six times a game on average – and winning 61% of his challenges.
Mark McKenzie, Philadelphia Union: October has been a grueling month for just about every team in Major League Soccer, with a packed latter-half schedule jammed into the past 30 days. McKenzie’s played in seven games, and posted an InStat Index rating of 280. He’s sprinkled in a couple of goals, but for the most part, has excelled doing everything a center back should. The former Wake Forest defender averages 88% passes completed per game, won 70% of all challenges and lost the ball on average of just three times per game. Along that stretch, he’s also averaged seven interceptions per game as the Union won five of those seven matches.