Chivas USA 2012 Player Postmortem: Scott Gordon

Ric Tapia

The defender was only with Chivas USA a few months, but the team was surprisingly successful with him in limited minutes.

Today's entry in our series is another player who is no longer with Chivas USA in Scott Gordon. The defender was signed by the Goats in March, but his stint with the team was brief, as he was waived at the beginning of July. In truth, Gordon was intended to be a back up, and one of his attributes was his versatility, as he was touted someone who could play along the entire back line.

Gordon joined Chivas from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL, and ended up joining back up with them after leaving Chivas. He played 11 games with Ft. Lauderdale, scoring a goal and contributing an assist while helping the Strikers to the NASL playoffs, where they lost to the Carolina RailHawks in the quarterfinals. And Gordon looks to be staying with the Strikers, as the team announced they've picked up his option for next season.

But what of his time with Chivas? Well, much like yesterday's entry, Marky Delgado, Gordon didn't see much time with Chivas in 2012. You'll notice in the statistics below that he only made five appearances, played only 23 minutes in three games in the league, and had two starts in the U.S. Open Cup. Given the other players ahead of him on the depth chart, it wasn't exactly surprising that Gordon seldom featured, but at the same time, it makes it difficult to wonder if keeping him would have made a difference.

Perhaps one argument in favor of Gordon staying would have been when James Riley was suspended late in the season. Riley ended up playing all but that match when he had to serve his suspension, against D.C. United, and the season finale against FC Dallas, but Chivas had no true back up for those two matches, and turned to Ben Zemanski. They lost both of those games, and while I don't think Zemanski had a shocker in either match, he didn't look like he was totally familiar with playing right back and faltered a bit. Had Gordon been available, he most likely would have been a downgrade from Riley, but he would have likely been an upgrade from Zemanski at that position.

My inclination is that Gordon was ultimately waived in order to make room for another back up defender, Bobby Burling. As it turned out, Burling had far more experience at MLS level and was considerably more comfortable as a center back, but was it the right decision in the end? That is hard to say, considering the stats overall and the club's performance on the season. But considering Gordon has landed safely back in NASL, maybe he is a player who couldn't quite make the leap up to MLS, at least at this point in his career.

Here are Gordon's stats in 2012 with Chivas:

Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS Regular Season 3 0 23 0 0 0 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup 2 2 180 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 5 2 203 0 0 0 0 1 0

Grades:

Imagine it's Halloween night and an alien spaceship just happened to pick this night to observe life on planet Earth. Unbeknownst to them, Halloween is a once-a-year holiday. We humans, of course, know going door-to-door dressed up yelling, "Trick or treat!," will more likely get you a restraining order than candy the other 364 days of the year.

Statistics help clarify and quantify, but they cannot exist in a vacuum. Or, to use the old saw: there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

This takes us to Gordon: Chivas USA won every game in which Scott Gordon appeared. Well heck, he should have played every game: Chivas would have run the table!

This is, of course, absurd. Gordon's three league appearances totaled 23 minutes--16 of which were spent as a five-man backfield holding on for dear life protecting their 1-0 lead against a Real Salt Lake.

Part of Gordon's appeal was his versatility. While Gordon's natural position is centerback, he was converted to fullback during his stint with Fort Lauderdale. During Chivas USA's U.S. Open Cup run, Gordon started twice at right back. We don't have stats from Ventura County (though we do know that Gordon received a yellow card), but his line from Carolina was underwhelming. According to Opta data, Gordon only had 59 "events" typically Chivas USA fullbacks average 90+ events per game.

Grades:

Scoring Threat: Incomplete.

Gordon has the tools (height, agility) that would make him a threat on set pieces. However he was not able to participate in a single corner kick.

Playmaking (passing/creativity): Incomplete.

Gordon's passing was substandard; many incomplete passes and more unsuccessful than successful throw-ins. I'm willing to overlook this based on the fact that each moment Gordon was on the field Chivas either led or was tied.

Defense: Incomplete.

You could say Gordon was successful here as only one goal--the late equalizer in Carolina--was scored on his watch. But again, Gordon has only a pittance of actual recorded stats. He collected fouls and has an interception but as he played looking over his shoulder (i.e. never showed aggression), it's hard to say Gordon ever really got a fair shake.

- Matthew Hoffman

GM's Evaluation:

I think I would have preferred keeping Gordon over signing Burling later in the season. Burling, while a veteran with strong leadership skills, was just not good enough for what we needed and made too many mistakes. Gordon was a young prospect (24) who probably would have brought the same to the table yet would be an option to mold for the future.

-Rachna Kapur

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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