Overall, the sixth pick in the MLS SuperDraft had a pretty solid season coming off the bench for the Philadelphia Union. Fabian Herbers managed to put away three goals and supply seven assists in MLS this year, which is solid production from a rookie who came off of the bench for most of the season. The fact that Herbers was the Union's assist leader is encouraging, but also troubling because a backup forward should probably not be leading any decent team in assists. Jim Curtin utilized the Ahaus, Germany native heavily as a substitute forward, putting him in at the end of games as a change of pace option to try and make something happen going forward.
What did he do right?
One obvious positive of Herber's season was his ability to find open teammates for assists. The rookie was able to consistently find players in dangerous spots, which led to his team-leading mark of seven assists. By dropping a little deeper than where CJ Sapong would normally be stationed, he was often able to separate from the center backs and receive the ball in the midfield which opened things up for other attacking players to get forward and stretch the defense.This led to quick counterattacks and simple assists for Herbers.
What did he do wrong?
Herbers was known as a very good finisher in college after scoring 15 goals in his Junior year at Creighton, but this season he often struggled with his composure in front of goal. As a forward, putting balls in the back of the net is obviously priority number one, so if he really wants to take his game to the next level he will need to work on his finishing. Scoring a goal every 430 minutes is not an acceptable output for a MLS forward, and it is definitely something that he needs to improve on.
His best moment in 2016?
Herbers' best moment of 2016 came during a 3-2 win over Columbus, when he curled a ball into the upper right corner from the left side of the box. It was a beautiful finish for the Union's third goal of the game and eventually turned out to be the winner. Not only was it a nice finish, but it was also his first MLS goal.