Thursday, January 6, 2011

Will Omar Bravo Help SKC?

The 30-year old Mexican veteran became SKC's second DP in their history this past Autumn. Many Sporting KC fans are ecstatic about this signing, though I don't see why. I've read and heard many who are expecting 10-15 goals from Bravo in '11. However, since Bravo's ill-timed move to Spain's Deportivo La Coruna in 2008 he hasn't scored more than five goals a season. The upside to that is he has only played 51 matches in that time for Coruna, UANL and Guadalajara. That's one goal every 10 matches. MLS will play a 36 match regular season schedule. If you go by the stats he will score about 3-4 goals, and not the 10-15 people are predicting. His highest goal total was in '06-'07 with him scoring 22 goals in all competitions (which was 43 matches, one goal in two).

What Bravo can bring to SKC is the ability to take players away from the play and other attackers who can then flourish; if he can stay healthy. The cons of bringing in a "big named" DP is the conflicts that can build in the dressing room and on the training pitch. We also continue to see MLS teams succeeding without DPs. Only one MLS teams has won MLS Cup with a DP (Schelotto and Columbus) and only New York and LA Galaxy have made the Final while employing a DP.

We've seen Bravo's career stutter when he left Mexico the first time and I expect the same to happen again. Though it looked like his career in Spain would catapult him to success in Europe, he ended the season only playing nine matches for Coruna. With the change in training, defense and tactics in the Mexican League to Spain Bravo couldn't recreate the form of his earlier years. Upon return to Mexico Bravo could still not recreate his former magic. He did not make the Mexican National squad for the World Cup.

I expect the same to happen in MLS with SKC that has already occurred in Spain. Being the cynic I am I believe Bravo's signing is more of a marketing move by the SKC front office. I also expect the same to occur with Bravo as did with Claudio Lopez. Signed to a DP contract his first season and then reduced to non-DP for the second. However, I can't imagine Bravo hanging around Kansas City for a second year on a non-DP salary. Sporting KC is becoming a team similar to Blackburn and Wigan in England. A team in a location that isn't the most attractive, thus making it more difficult to sign players. If Bravo does workout I will be surprised, but Sporting's needs are in the back four and not the attack. Hopefully, they can address this before the season begins.

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