Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Indy Eleven's newest addition - Jhulliam

This week's big announcement is that the Eleven have signed another player to the team.  A Brazilian named Jhulliam Bonfim Santos Pires.  Or more commonly known by the single name of Jhulliam as Brazilian players are wont to do.  Like a good chunk of the team's roster, it's not shocking that I didn't know much about him before joining the team. He moved around to eight different Brazilian clubs before his recent stop at the Moldovan first division team FC Sheriff Tiraspol.  Not exactly teams that I keep on my radar here in midwestern United States.  What I found out from Ben Simmons' article about Jhulliam is that he has the ability to score in bunches, but then can also disappear completely.  I'm hoping that he comes here to Indy and does the former.
During a recent conversation with family and friends about the signing, the question was asked "do we need a striker or a better defender" with the thought being that "it doesn't matter how many you score, if you can't stop the defense, you generally lose." I decided I would formalize my response to that question here.
I won't lie that it would be nice to have defenders that stay focused for ninety minutes.  I would love to be able to talk about a game that featured the amazing goal(s) that were scored, rather than the defensive lapse that let another game get away.  However, this team clearly needs a scorer too. The team has scored 22 goals in league play this season, one of which was an own goal, so 21 goals are credited to Indy Eleven players. Of those 21 goals, 13 have come from Kleberson or Ambersley.  That means that 62% of the scoring comes from just two players. Of those 13 goals from those two players, 7 have come from the penalty spot. So 7 of 21 goals have come from the uncontested variety. When 33% of your goals rely on there not being a defender and a goalkeeper guessing which way you are going to kick, that's not a good situation to be in.

Plus, Coach Sommer's desired lineup this year has been a 4-4-2. Before the addition of Jhulliam, the lineup consisted of 3 goalkeepers, 6 defenders, 10 midfielders, & 2 forwards. So there were 2 players for 2 forward positions on the field and one of them is rehabbing from knee surgery. That's also not good. As a result, you have Kleberson and Pena in the midfield continually blasting from long range, Smith not finding his perfect shot from the wings, Johnson consistently putting one touch too many to try and get closer to goal for his shots, and Smart (when in) trying to make runs on the wings.

The team needs more of an up top scoring threat so that teams can't focus just on Ambersley and Kleberson. Johnson has helped with that some due to his pace and footskills, but again, he is trying to do too much right now. Whether that's just his nature or because he doesn't yet trust the teammates around him, I don't know. What I do know is that you can't run a 4-4-2 with only one healthy forward on the roster. Hence, Jhulliam.

By my count though, that makes 8 international players on the roster (Johnson, Kleberson, Moore, Nicht, Norales, Pena, Jhulliam, Smart) and I thought the NASL only allowed 7 non-domestics on a roster. Which makes me wonder if somebody is getting cut or if Peter Wilt has figured out a way around the rule or if there is something that I'm missing. Of those eight players, Moore hasn't played in the past 8 games, which is the entirety of the Fall Season.  Injury related, or has he fallen out of favor like Mendes? However, Moore is on a 2-year deal from Southhampton FC, not that that seems to matter much.  In the official press release for Jhullium, Peter Wilt stated "and let our fans know the search for additional reinforcements to the roster will continue.”  I wonder if that also means more reductions as well.
For what it's worth, I still like our current players and think they have the talent and ability to win with the current roster, but I'm glad to see that the team is still trying to add other talented players with the intent to win more games this year even if any playoff spot has long since become a dream and not a reality.

1 comment:

Don said...

Put Smart in and leave him in. Him and Nicht, and maybe Ambersley, are the only ones on the pitch who give 100%, 100% of the time.