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Evaluating Olmes Garcia: Is he ready for first-team minutes, or should he take a seat?

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It's not exactly controversial to say that Olmes Garcia didn't have his best match against San Jose Earthquakes, but sometimes, he gets more flak than he deserves. Is this one of those occasions?

For the answer to that and all of life's mysteries (okay, maybe just the first thing), we've turned to some graphs and numbers.

Squawka, one of our go-to stats sources, likes to produce this 'performance score' that's put together from a number of different variables. They say an average performance should produce between 10 and 20 points. Garcia's performance score in Sunday's match ended at -9. (For comparison, Morales ended at 41, while Beckerman ended at 27.)

That's not a great score, to be certain, and it reflects what people seemed to think of Garcia's performance. Was it entirely accurate? Maybe not — but he did struggle in the attack. We know that. Why? Well, maybe he got sucked too far back in defense, or maybe he didn't have great service (that's not Javier Morales's fault, at least), or maybe he's not the right player for the job.

But whether he's the right player for this 4-3-3 or not isn't exactly the right question. Instead, we should be asking if our style of play on the flanks is at a point where we can really judge whether or not a player like Olmes Garcia is the right one for the job. After all, we haven't yet seen a player truly impress there. Luis Gil is the closest, but that was for a short spell as a substitute — certainly not enough for evaluation (but also enough to get a little excited about Gil.)

This isn't something we have an easy answer for. But I can say with some certainty that I didn't expect Olmes Garcia to be this disciplined early on: He's been making smart runs, getting back into defense and fully committing himself, and has kept his energy level high throughout 90 minutes.

That doesn't make him the right man for the job, but it does give us something to think about. It will help us when evaluating Garcia — or any other player in his position — to recognize the different responsibilities they're tasked with in a game situation. As we look to reach a consensus about his suitability for starting minutes, we should hopefully be able to simultaneously come up with a set of criteria for his evaluation. Let's try that now.

Does he...

Get involved in play frequently?

Complete his passes, whether short or long?

Create opportunities for other players?

Capitalize on opportunities himself?

Commit himself appropriately on defense, but allow himself to be ready in a counterattacking situation?

Let's check back in a week and see where we're at with Olmes Garcia.

I am curious, though — do you think he's fulfilled any of the criteria we've set out here? Are we missing things? Is something unnecessary?