They're Designated Players who play the same position.
Both players are most often used as a “number 10” – a creative, attacking-minded playmaker that sits centrally in a free role between the strikers and other midfielders.
They’re from the same part of the world.
Pedro is from Chile, while Javier hails from Argentina – both soccer-crazed countries located in the southern part of South America.
And they’ve both landed in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.
This is Javier’s eighth season in the league – he’s spent each of them with Real Salt Lake. Pedro, meanwhile, is in the midst of his first MLS season after joining the ‘Caps at the beginning of March.
The winner of this weekend’s contest between Whitecaps FC and Real Salt Lake (kickoff on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. PT) could very well be decided by the Morales who has a bigger impact on the game.
With that in mind, here’s a statistical comparison of the two players based on the first seven weeks of the 2014 MLS season.
Before we go on any further, here are a few basic numbers to provide context for the statistics outlined below. Pedro has played 472 total minutes in seven appearances this season, while Javier has played 527 minutes while starting each of his six appearances.
With 16 chances created, Pedro is one up on his counterpart from Real Salt Lake (though Javier has created one more chance from set plays). Both players lead their respective teams in this category, which is defined as a “pass/cross that is instrumental in creating a goal-scoring opportunity.” There are currently three players tied for the league lead with 20 chances created: New York’s Lloyd Sam, San Jose’s Shea Salinas, and Columbus’ Federico Higuain.
Not quite sold on the similarities just yet? This stat might change your mind. Both Pedro and Javier have a passing completion percentage just above 79 per cent this season – Pedro has a very slight edge (though Javier’s passing accuracy in the final third is slightly better).
TOUCHES PER 90 MINUTES
The ‘Caps midfielder also has a very slight advantage in this category, which is simply the “sum of all events where a player touches the ball.” Pedro is averaging 87.3 touches per 90 minutes, while Javier at 84.6 touches per 90. No player on either team is averaging more touches per 90 minutes than Pedro, though RSL holding midfielder Kyle Beckerman isn’t far behind.
At the end of the day, no matter their influence on the game, offensive players are judged largely by their production. Pedro and Javier each have a pair of assists, though Pedro also has a goal to boot. The Chilean has shown more of a willingness to go for goal, with 15 shots to Javier’s seven.
Statistics courtesy of Opta Sports.
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