Speak softly and carry a big stick.
That is Michael Baldisimo in a nutshell, as the 20-year old midfielder burst into the scene in 2020, quickly becoming a fan favourite amongst 'Caps supporters.
After signing an MLS contract in 2018, the reserved Homegrown player spent most of 2019 recovering from a foot injury, learning the ropes with the Development Squad and training with the first team.
He was finally healthy and available this summer, so when his name was called, the Burnaby product delivered in a big way.
Here's a closer look at the numbers from his breakout season.
Baldisimo served as a valuable glue in the middle of the park, often playing the sparkplug role that turned defence into offence for the 'Caps. Looking at his stats per 90 minutes, he ended up leading the squad in successful passes, while landing second and third respectively in touches and passes into the final third.
Not bad for the youngest player on the roster to make a start this year.
SUCCESSFUL PASSES PER 90 MINUTES1
1. MIchael Baldisimo, 43.66
2. Cristian Gutierrez, 40.60
3. Erik Godoy, 40.02
TOUCHES PER 90 MINUTES1
1. Cristian Gutierrez, 72.95
2. Michael Baldisimo, 66.83
3. Ali Adnan, 65.83
PASSES INTO FINAL THIRD PER 90 MINUTES1
1. Fredy Montero, 10.61
2. Andy Rose, 6.96
3. Michael Baldisimo, 6.53
Soccer made simple, Ep. 2 ⚽👨🏫— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) November 27, 2020
This week, 'Caps Video Analyst Coach @Andy_Peat1990 looks at how vision and awareness can open up space for players like Michael Baldisimo 👁️ 🏃#VWFC | @EC_Managed_IT pic.twitter.com/ZI6AslnLpj
The kid they call Baldi was just a joy to watch in his first season of action. He got off to a blistering start, scoring a goal and tallying three assists in a four-game stretch, playing an instrumental role as the 'Caps went 3W-1L.
The best came in the September 5 match versus Toronto FC, when he banged in a long-distance rocket that was clocked at 109.27 KPH (kilometres per hour) from a distance of 24.9 yards, converting despite just a 3% xG (expected goal probablity).2
With his account-opening golazo in just his second career appearance, Baldisimo became the fastest VWFC Homegrown player to score a goal.
With his vision and field awareness, Baldisimo has shown a knack for the hockey assist, or the second assist. In fact, only two players had more since Baldisimo made his debut in the MLS Continuation of Play following the MLS is Back Tournament - Designated Players Yimmi Chara and Nicolas Lodeiro. Pretty impressive company for the young playmaker.
SECOND ASSISTS IN MLS CONTINUATION OF PLAY (BEGINNING AUGUST 12)1
1. Yimmi Chara, Portland Timbers, 5
2. Nicolas Lodeiro, Seattle Sounders FC, 4
3. Michael Baldisimo, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 3*
*tied with five others
The future is bright for Baldisimo. If he continues his steady development, keep your ears to the ground.
He always lets his numbers do the talking.