Best of May: Powered by InStat
A leading video analysis provider, InStat digs into the numbers behind the success (or lack thereof) of players on the field.
Each month 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 top performing youngsters from the NWSL and MLS in the month of May.
Ashley Sanchez, Washington Spirit – After wrapping up the Challenge Cup in April, NWSL’s regular season started in May. Sanchez, the second-year player from UCLA, has come into form over the first few weeks and been one of the Spirit’s top players as per InStat. While rookie Trinity Rodman has also had good moments, Sanchez created a team-high seven chances in May, scoring a goal against the Houston Dash on May 27. Her 79% successful dribbles in 19 attempts is certainly a positive, though she’ll want to improve in her finishing – she scored just one goal on 1.33 Expected Goals – and did lose the ball 31 times. Regardless, it’s been a solid start in her second season.
Phoebe McClernon, Orlando Pride – Drafted by the Pride in 2020 out of Virginia, McClernon spent last year in Sweden, playing for Växjö DFF of the Damallsvenskan. Signing with the pride at the start of the year, she’s off to a solid start for Orlando. In fact, thanks in part to her play in central defense, the Pride went unbeaten in four league games this month. Her first two games of the month in particular were strong, winning 72% of 18 defensive challenges against the Washington Spirit and 83% of 12 against the NC Courage. It was no surprise to see the defender included in the Team of the Month by the league.
Emily Fox, Racing Louisville FC – The No. 1 overall pick also made it to the Team of the Month, even has the new franchise finish off the month with a big 5-0 loss to NC Courage on May 29. Her passing numbers help buoy her, as she sees a lot of the ball at left back. In the team’s three games in May, Fox completed 79% of 146 pass attempts. She also won 54% of 48 challenges and made 24 interceptions. It will be curious to see how her ability to integrate to the attack going forward changes; she did create a pair of chances against Washington Spirit on May 22 and made a total of six key passes.
Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns – A sterling effort in the NWSL opener against the Red Stars where Smith scored twice lifted her month; she hasn’t been quite at that level in the last three games of the month. On a talented and experienced team, Smith still manages to get her opportunities as she led the team in shots during that stretch (16). She had the most chances created during the month with seven, although she didn’t get an assist.
Auston Trusty, Colorado Rapids – Perhaps something of an afterthought after getting moved to Colorado, Trusty checks in as the highest-rated Rapid as per the InStat Index for the month of May. Working under Robin Fraser surely has helped the 22-year-old center back as the Rapids won four of five games last month. He checks in high atop the list in several statistical categories – that includes percentage of challenges won (68% of 59), Ball recoveries (41) and tied for most interceptions (42). Can he continue that as the season progresses?
Gianluca Busio, Sporting KC – Since being featured a couple of weeks ago, Busio finished off the month of May so well to be mentioned again. He scored a goal and had an assist in a 3-2 win against the Houston Dynamo on May 30, completing 85% of 85 passes. As the European transfer window opens, Busio continues to be linked with a move to Italy.
Eryk Williamson, Portland Timbers – Much has been made of Williamson’s exclusion from the U.S. U23 roster for qualifying, and he has certainly done well at the start of the 2021 season. His May was strong, despite his side losing four of six matches in a hectic month. His 90% pass completion during that stretch is tied for best on the team, with 199 attempts in five league matches. What stands out the most about his statistical profile is his team-high 82 challenges contested, winning them at a 55% rate. He also tied for the most interceptions on the team with 31. A call-up to the U.S. for the Gold Cup would certainly be deserved, even if it doesn’t come to pass.
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