VANCOUVER, BC – How good was Pedro Morales on Sunday at BC Place?
That’s a question many were asking after Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s 2-2 draw with FC Dallas and the questions continued Monday morning before the ‘Caps left for Chicago.
"I keep saying it every week, but he seems to be just getting better and better," Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said of Morales, who scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season. "He seems to have risen to the occasion with getting the captaincy as well. He makes players around him better and he’s a joy to watch ... he does things with the ball that not many people are able to do."
"You just saw him dictate the game from the centre of the field and doing the things he does best, putting people through and threading those passes," added Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted. "I had a good view, but I'm just one of the guys who could stand there and marvel at the things he does.”
If those comments don't have you convinced, here’s a look at some of the numbers behind the Chilean’s dazzling performance.
That’s how many shots Morales attempted on Sunday (the most by any player since OPTA started tracking MLS in 2011) and five of them were on target.
If it wasn’t for three spectacular saves by FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, Morales could have very easily walked away with two or three goals.
The Chilean’s 12 shots were more than FC Dallas recorded in the entire match and nearly half of Vancouver’s 30 attempts – a new club record in MLS.
Only one other team has launched as many attempts at goal since OPTA started tracking MLS in 2011.
In addition to his own attempts at goal, Morales also created a game-high six chances – defined as a pass, cross, or throughball instrumental in creating a goal-scoring opportunity.
One of those chances came in the 69th minute, when he delivered a pinpoint free kick that Carlyle Mitchell headed off the crossbar.
Morales is now fourth in MLS with 53 chances created in 19 matches.
For anyone who watched Sunday’s match, it should come as no surprise that Morales had a game-high 110 touches (over 30 more than the next player). He had five of them on this one play alone.
The new ‘Caps skipper was easily Vancouver’s most involved player. In fact, it was the most involved he’s been all season. Coming into Sunday’s match, Morales was averaging just over 72 touches per game.
Finally, Morales completed 66 passes on Sunday. And you guessed it: that was a game high. The Designated Player has only completed more passes in one match this season.
Morales wasn’t actually awarded an assist, but he played a part in setting up both of Vancouver’s goals. Also of note, his passing completion percentage was a sparkling 88 per cent – he only missed nine passes all game.
* Statistics courtesy of OPTA Sports.
Don’t miss another Morales moment. Catch him on TSN Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. PT when Whitecaps FC visit Eastern Conference side Chicago Fire. Morales and the ‘Caps will be back at BC Place on Sunday, August 10 to host defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City. Tickets are still available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.