*Note: All statistics are based on MLS regular season matches
I've learned something since I took over this blog; if you mention the name Davide Chiumiento, you will get an opinion, it will be passionate, and spittle may be inadvertently launched at you. Yes, whenever someone asks me my opinion on the midfielder, I will either get a pat on the back, or an exaggerated, condescending eye roll. Seriously, speaking about this guy brings up more passion than conversations about Eric Hassli, and brother, that's saying something.
Anywhoo, I'm sure you've all heard the hearsay-and believe me it is nothing more than hearsay-that Davide Chiumiento may soon return to the Whitecaps after being transferred to FC Zurich in July. The reason for all this scuttlebutt is Chiumiento having a dinner with 'Caps head coach Martin Rennie earlier this month. Does this truly mean that Chiumiento is making his way back to the blue and white? Well, a part of me really wants to say yes, because I'm a Chiumiento fan. In fact, I've posted comments on this blog where I've said that Chiumiento coming back is a strong possibility. However, after putting down the crackpipe and speaking to people close to the team, perhaps I was a little over zealous in my assessment. That being said, this blog post isn't about whether Chiumiento is coming back, this post is about whether or not Chiumiento coming back would be a good thing for the football club.
The first thing you have to take a look at is the Whitecaps record with and without him in the lineup. With Davide Chiumiento in the lineup, the Whitecaps went an impressive 9-4-6. Without him, not so much; an embarrassing 3-9-4. Now let's be honest here, Davide Chiumiento did not win the Whitecaps nine matches. That would be an absolutely ridiculous assertion. However, is it too far fetched to say that with Chiumiento in the lineup, the 'Caps were simply a better team? I'd argue that the team flowed better, that there was more confidence and swagger with the 'Caps when Chiumiento in the lineup, as opposed to, say Barry Robson? (You knew I'd go there eventually). To further my point, with Chiumiento in the lineup, the 'Caps managed 21 goals in 19 matches. However, without him on the team, the 'Caps managed 14 goals in 15 matches.
Is it a staggering difference? It is when you consider that four of those goals came in one match against a piss poor Chivas USA club. Take that match off the schedule and we're looking at 10 goals in 14 matches, which is a better indication of the sputtering offence that the 'Caps showed without Chiumiento in the lineup. Those 21 goals with Davide in the lineup are impressive when you consider that the 'Caps were fielding an arguably weaker club than when he left. Take into account that the club included an injured Camilo, a struggling Eric Hassli, and Darren Mattocks didn't take the pitch until three months into the season. Once again, I am in no way saying that the 'Caps scored 21 goals solely because of Davide Chiumiento. I'm simply looking at stats and reasoning that the Whitecaps were more dangerous offensively with the crafty Swiss-born player playing the midfield position.
Then theres shots on goal. In 19 matches with Davide, the Whitecaps had 65 shots on goal-in 14 games without him, that number dips to 51. Now again, thats a difference of four matches, so a difference of fourteen shots isn't exactly gigantic, so we can call that one a wash. I'll leave you with this final stat; despite only playing sixteen matches with the Whitecaps, Davide Chiumiento was second on the Whitecaps in assists, with 5.
In my opinion it's an absolute no-brainer that Davide Chiumiento is a better option for the Whitecaps at midfield than any current player not named Gershon Koffie. If the Whitecaps can somehow lure him back, (AND I AM IN NO WAY SAYING THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN) then it would be an obvious plus for the club.