Newly anointed Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin teased his intention to resign Maurice Edu and pair him with Carlos Valdes at center back. It's an appealing tandem to be sure, but it leaves the future of Ethan White in question, especially as the MLS Expansion Draft looms.
When Jim Curtin replaced John Hackworth as interim head coach, Ethan White enjoyed a surprising renaissance. He started twelve of Curtin's eighteen games after not logging a single minute under John Hackworth. The defense was not any better or worse with White at center back. The defense allowed 1.33 goals per game with him in the lineup and exactly that amount in the other six games under Curtin.
Here are some of White's stats:
|Ethan White Whoscored.com Stats|
|Games||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Key Passes/Gm||Pass %||Tackles/Gm||Int/Gm||Clear/Gm||Rating|
The number that jumps out to me is the 72.5% pass completion percentage. That is low for a center back - even considering that Curtin's offense required risk taking on counter attacks from the back. Carlos Valdes was another player that only played center back, and only under Curtin. His pass completion percentage was 80.7%. Valdes was also better at riskier passes. He played passes more than 25 yards six times per game and completed 48% of them. White averaged 4.9 passes of 25 yards or more and completed 40.8%. When Edu played center back he averaged 7.2 long passes per game and completed 54% of them.
Certainly no one would expect White to be performing up to the level of a Maurice Edu or Carlos Valdes, but if Curtin plans to continue starting counter attacks from the back then Edu and Valdes become even more valuable than White.
If Edu comes back, Ethan White could still provide solid depth at the center back position and his salary in 2014 was very affordable at $80K.
What would you do? Would you protect Ethan White or one of the fringe protection players like Brian Brown or Pedro Ribeiro? Do you think Ethan White should stay or go?
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