The prodigal son returns. No matter how you look at it, there isn't really a way to dispute the fact that RSL is a much better team with Robbie Findley than without.
Expectations seemed to be pretty low, as Robbie was coming off a stint in England where he had more coaching changes than seasons there, and some of those were less likely to play an American player over a European one. Injuries took a toll as well.
We got a year of a healthy motivated Robbie and basically we used the salary we had paid Fabian Espindola to pay Findley. In this writer's humble opinion, Findley single-handedly made it so teams were no longer able to park the bus on us like they had done since he had left, so he made a big impact on our play. Changing the way other teams play you doesn't show up in the stat sheet, but the results speak for themselves.
It would appear, all things considered, Robbie exceeded expectations by nearly anyone's standard. His touch is so much better than whan he was here before, and once he got his fitness and footing back he -- and the team -- started becoming more and more dangerous.
Going forward, a healthy, fully fit Robbie can cause all sorts of nightmares for other teams. No situation will be too big for him; you might not remember this, but he was the only player that scored in regulation of our only MLS Cup. The expected role for him would seem to be a starter when healthy. This is a player who played in the last World Cup and still is in his playing prime -- don't be shocked if he scores 15 goals next year.
RSL Soapbox writers say:
Matt Montgomery: People loved slating Robbie Findley in 2013. The number of comments about a "poor touch" (even where there was none to be decried) and the assumption that he was a terrible player and unworthy of playing for RSL was distressing. But when it came time for the playoffs, Findley was not only there, but he was one of the best players on the pitch. His calm approach may have made some convinced he didn't care in the regular season, but it was that same approach that rendered him one of our best in the playoff run-up.
Editor's note: This is part of a series of player profiles recapping the 2013 season and previewing the 2014 season. Player ratings were compiled via a vote by RSL Soapbox writers. Statistics are via mlssoccer.com.