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Differentiators: Javier Morales could be key for RSL with form, maturity on show

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to look past Javier Morales if we’re looking a player who could make a difference. He’s been on a real tear in the last few weeks — and we quite like that.

He’s been all over the place in the best of ways. We can’t stop talking about him. He scored his first professional hat trick two weeks ago.

These are all pretty remarkable things, but that’s not what sets him apart as a dangerous player this week. It’s that in his 10 matches so far, he’s averaging 3.2 key passes per game — his 32 on the season is second-highest in the league behind Federico Higuain’s 38 — and that the standard deviation is a measly 1.39.

It’s that he’s involved defensively, involved in the attack, and involved in everything in-between. It’s that he takes the armband when Kyle Beckerman’s not here.

The player who, in 2007, wasn’t seeming to adjust to MLS, is one of the faces that helps to define its current state. Timeless, ageless, and all of those things, you know.

FC Dallas will be devoting resources to marking Morales. They can’t not if they want to have a chance. The difficult part, though, is that Morales isn’t just your classic number 10. He’s not just staying around the attacking third, moving side to side a bit but not excessively.

No, you’ll find him just as often building attack from the midfield stripe, combining on the right flank, moving down the left. It’s a testament to his skill and understanding, but also his ability to mange his fitness through a 90-minute match is unparalleled given his age and involvement.

That’s why Javier Morales is one player who could really make a difference today against FC Dallas.