16 September 2005

Erpen v. Boswell (or why Boswell should start at CB)

Facundo Erpen has lots of fans. Bobby Boswell has lots of fans. They play the same position. So what to do with both? If you told me we'd be having an argument over defensive depth at this time last year, I would have laughed, but now I'll take it. Here's how I see it.

Let's assume the following:
  1. Erpen is better than Boswell at CB.
  2. Erpen and Boswell are both better defensive players than Namoff and Prideux (perhaps, perhaps not, especially with Namoff, but let's assume it for now)
  3. Nowak is not going to start a player rotation, but instead will continue starting the best XI he feels like he has. (While he says that the Starting XI depends on practices, it really does seem like he has a set list of starters that practice perhaps validates. Gonna have to get ScaryIce's spreadsheets to analyze that).

Now, to simplify this, let's rate the defensive starting possibilities on scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being top level MLS talent, 1 being a just servicable starter, and 5 a typical starter. I'd rate the players performance at their position this year as follows (knowing that these are somewhat hypothetical, especially with Erpen's small sample size) :

Erpen: 7
Boswell: 6
Namoff: 5
Prideaux: 4

Now both Erpen and Boswell are CBs, with Prideaux and Namoff on the wings. Let's further stipulate that moving a player from wing to center, or vice versa, penalizes the player -1 for being not in their natural position. So when Erpen starts at CB, the total value of the defensive line is 16 (7+5+4). When Boswell starts at CB, it's a 15 (6+5+4).

But, if we move Erpen to the wing (where he's played before) and he takes Prideaux's position (and I do think that's an upgrade), and DCU starts Boz at CB, the value of the defensive line is 17 (Erpen adjusted down to 6, + 6 for Boswell, + 5 for Namoff).

Now, while I opened by saying that DCU is having an argument over defensive depth, it does highlight a lack of depth at R/L Backs. But again, this situation may help, since it saves fatigue on the wing backs by promoting a potential move of Erpen across the field.

And I freely admit that this is an overly simplistic view of things, but there you have it. And if you disagree with the numbers, the point they highlight is this. If Erpen is better than either Prideuax or Namoff at LB or RB, and neither Prideaux nor Namoff are better than Boz at CB, then the point holds. I feel comfortable with both parts of that equation.


At 08 October, 2005 07:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being from ARGENTINA you would say that I would choose FAcundo, but though I am FAcundo´s fan I can say that Facundo speaks very well about Boswell and they practice together and that´s speaks very well of FAcu´s as a person. So I would say as FAcu likes to score too and he is very well with his head and jumps, you may see pictures of the matches, now in Argentina we are DC fans too and I may say that both may be playing together perhaps FAcu as he is young may play other places as he has done here but the coach must be smart enough to take all the advantages for the team, don´t you agree?

At 12 October, 2005 13:27, Blogger D said...

I do agree. I think Erpen and Boswell are both tremendous talents, I just think that Erpen better serves the team on the wing rather than center.

Let me be clear. I want Erpen to start, but I think the team is better with him and Boswell on the field rather than just Facu. I would bench Prideaux.


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