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Efraín Juárez: A Statistical Analysis

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

For those who may not be familiar with this series, the aim of these pieces is try to figure out how good the players we aren’t quite sure about really are. It feels to me as though such a piece could be written on just about every member of the Vancouver Whitecaps this season. Nevertheless I thought it best to start with a player who’s role on the pitch has been most mysterious to ‘Caps fans: Efraín Juárez.

Key Stats (per 90 minutes):

Key Statistics (per 90)

. Efraín Juárez Russell Teibert Felipe Martins
. Efraín Juárez Russell Teibert Felipe Martins
Tackles 2.2 2 1
Interceptions 0.5 1.3 1.4
Dribbled Past 1.3 1.8 2
Key Passes 0.5 0.3 1.1
Passing Percentage 83% 91% 82%

On the face of it, these stats are not terrible. To truly understand them though we must compare them to other players and see how Juárez stacks up. The obvious place to start is to see how he compares to his teammates. Starting with a player who has clawed his way back into first team contention this season: Russell Teibert.

Teibert makes about the same amount of tackles (2) but significantly more interceptions (1.3). Teibert is dribbled past a bit more (1.8) and makes slightly fewer key passes (0.3) but has a much better passing percentage at 91%. Overall Juárez and Teibert have provided about the same amount this season and in MLS you must look for value for money in such a situation. We don’t know exactly how much Juárez makes but we know he is a TAM player. Teibert on the other hand is homegrown and thus significantly cheaper.

When comparing Juárez to Felipe the numbers fall more or less as you would expect. Juárez is much better defensively and Felipe offers much more going forward. Felipe doesn’t even make half as many tackles (1) but does actually edge Juárez on interceptions (1.4). Felipe is dribbled past twice a game on average. Felipe makes considerably more key passes per 90 at 1.1. This comparison suggests that Juárez is much more six than eight.

Let us move on to comparing Juárez to players from other teams. I’ve chosen Mark-Anthony Kaye of LAFC and Perry Kitchen of L.A Galaxy. I’ve chosen these two because they play a similar role in their respective teams and because their teams currently hold the positions directly above and below the Whitecaps.

Key Statistics (per 90)

. Efraín Juárez Mark-Anthony Kaye Perry Kitchen
. Efraín Juárez Mark-Anthony Kaye Perry Kitchen
Tackles 2.2 3.4 2.3
Interceptions 0.5 1.8 2.3
Dribbled Past 1.3 1.4 0.3
Key Passes 0.5 1.0 0.3
Passing Percentage 83% 87% 85%

One positive that Canadian fans can take away from this piece is that Kaye is doing extremely well. Kaye smokes Juárez in tackles (3.4) and interceptions (1.8). Kaye is dribbled past about the same amount (1.4). Kaye plays 1 key pass a game and has a passing percentage of 86.8%. All in all, the Whitecaps probably would have been better served to pick up Kaye cheaply from Louisville City than to spend TAM and an international spot on Juárez. Too late now though.

Kitchen compares a bit more favourably but is still ahead of Juárez in most key categories. Kitchen just edges Juárez on tackles (2.3) and makes significantly more interceptions (2.3). Kitchen also gets dribbled past far less often (0.3). Juárez does offer a bit more going forward with 0.5 key passes a game compared to Kitchen’s 0.3. The two have very similar passing averages.

Overall it seems Juárez is a decent MLS midfielder but nothing special. Compared to what other teams have in that role Juárez is a bit off the pace and about average on his own team.