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2016 Player Review: Warren Creavalle

In a chaotic central midfield, Creavalle set career highs in minutes and starts.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Summary: Coming into the season, Warren Creavalle seemed to round out a central midfield depth chart that had Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu, and Vincent Nogueira all sitting above him. By October, Creavalle set career highs for starts and minutes played. Injuries to Carroll and Edu and the sudden departure of Nogueira opened up plenty of minutes for Creavalle, who was the only constant in an unpleasantly eventful midfield. As a sort of plug-and-play guy, his role in the central midfield was dictated by his partner. When he lined up next to Brian Carroll, he operated a bit further up the field as the No. 8. Alongside more adept passers such as Vincent Nogueira and Alejandro Bedoya, Creavalle performed much of the defensive duties.

What went right: Creavalle has proven himself to be a tireless worker no matter his role in the midfield. That served him well defensively, as he excelled when asked to simply cover ground and break up plays as he went along. When he’s on his game, his defensive impact is hard to ignore.

What went wrong: Despite receiving nearly 2000 minutes, Creavalle is not a starting-quality defensive midfielder in MLS. While he does constantly work his ass off, a byproduct of that is that he occasionally overcommits defensively and puts his back line at a disadvantage. At least partially for this reason, he will put up a stinker defensively every once in a while. Because of his high work rate and fairly reliable defensive output, he is a solid backup in a very deep role. What holds him back is his technical ability. For a central midfielder, he does not seem even remotely calm on the ball, and his passing is slow and predictable. This isn’t something that can be hidden even when Creavalle is asked to play as a No. 6, as we saw in the regular season finale when the New York Red Bulls pressed him to the bench in a mere 45 minutes.

Most memorable moment: As a defensive midfielder, unless you score a goal, your most memorable moment is probably always going to be a red card. Sorry.