Marcelo Gallardo versus Devon McTavish: seems a forced comparison, but I found doing so revealing last night. Here’s how:
I count McTavish one of those good-for-Major-League-Soccer (MLS) players. By that I mean he generally makes good decisions, he knows the game, and works plenty hard. Possessed of just enough swagger – or perhaps feeling a little randy after scoring his second goal in as many games – McTavish also attempted a couple clever passes, but with a higher degree of difficulty. A lack of precision and/or difficulty with applying just the right weight made his several attempts came up short.
Gallardo, on the other hand, overcame the higher degree of difficulty time and again, squeezing passes into places where you’d think it couldn’t go and finding a run that seemed irrelevant only second ago.
Whenever I question the wisdom of signing designated players, I’ll have to remind myself to make this seemingly forced comparison. Gallardo, along with guys like David Beckham and Cuauhtemoc Blanco, do possess that little extra something. They’re not a cure-all – not least because they’re playing on a team full of people without that “little something extra” – and talent doesn’t always equate with effectiveness. Still, having the talent explains their allure because, even when American players can pull off the same moves, the can’t with the same consistency.
We’ll get there – at least I think we will – but only when our players work on this, or are taught it, from a young enough age.
– Ever wonder what happens when a fire breaks out at a gas station? Now you know.