I have said it once and I will continue to say it. I was wrong. Oh boy was I wrong.
As I talked about here one of the biggest questions last off-season facing the team was the future fate of Javier Morales. Morales was out of contract and no one knew if he would be back or not. I was of the opinion that it might not be the worst thing in the world if Morales didn't come back. Towards the end of last year I remember thinking how slow Morales was starting to look. Morales was going to be 33 at the start of this season and I felt that Father Time was starting to catch up with him.
I was not unhappy when he re-signed with the team. I really like him. But I didn't know if it was the wisest thing when I heard that his new contract was for two years and made him the club's second DP. Thankful General Manager Garth Lagerwey is a much smarter person than I am.
This season Javier Morales has proven me wrong. Not only has he turned back the hands of time but he is playing better than perhaps he ever has for RSL. I wrote earlier in the season that Morales was the team MVP on and off the field. I am going to go one step further now. I believe that Javier Morales should get serious consideration for the MVP of the league.
Lets take a look at some stats and I will show why.
Morales has played in 24 matches starting 22 of them. He has 7 goals and 10 assists on the season. The 7 goals tie him for the most that he has ever had with RSL. The 10 assists is the second highest total for Morales in an RSL kit. Both of these are very impressive for the amount of games that Morales has played in.
His value grows as we dive deeper into his stats. Morales has played 1976 minutes on the season. During that time, RSL has scored 47 goals or a goal every 42.04 minutes. That is second best among the team and first among regular starters. RSL has a +20 goal differential while Morales is on the field. That is the highest among all RSL players. He is only one of three RSL players that have a negative COR score (the lower the better).
The best thing that Morales does is that he makes players around him better. This is best shown by looking how the team plays when Morales has not been on the field. In total, RSL has played 544 minutes without Morales. In that time the team has only scored 5 goals or a goal every 108.80 minutes. That is a 66.76 minute difference compared to when he plays! That is incredible.
Morales is incredibly important to the team, but the one person that might need Morales the most on the field is Alvaro Saborio. When Saborio has played without Morales, the team is scoring at a rate of a goal every 129.66 minutes. When the duo plays together, RSL scores every 43.25 minutes.
Here is one more thing to consider. Everyone knows that RSL is having a historic year offensively. They have already shattered many records and still have six matches to play. But when you look back to the start of the season it was a different picture. The first match that Morales started was the seventh match of the season. In those first six matches, RSL only scored 5 times. At that pace, RSL would have had by far its worst offensive year in club history. That would have been a very different picture that than the one we are experiencing today.
Will Javier Morales win the league MVP? My guess is probably not. The MVP is decided by a vote between media members, coaches, players, and fans. We know how much exposure that RSL receives so his chances might be slim. Should Morales win the MVP? I think he has made a strong case for himself. And, he has proven me wrong in the process.