The complains about Jamison Olave upon his return were loud and outspoken. He struggled in his final season at Real Salt Lake, falling prey to the injury beast too frequently, and his play was sometimes a little sloppy.
No matter how much faith one had or how much careful consideration one undertook, It was easy to understand why Olave skepticism existed. In the pairing with Nat Borchers during his best days at Real Salt Lake, he was the one who depended most on his physical attributes, of which there were many we could talk about.
But rather than focusing on his speed, his recovery time, or his strength, it's more important to talk about what he's shown this year so far. I've picked out a few key statistics from Olave's season so far that help illustrate that change.
- Jamison Olave has a better passing rate than any other player with more than five minutes of play this season. His 86 percent passing comes with an average passing length of 21 meters, the third-longest of a field player. You'll remember that Olave's passing was never his greatest strength, but he does look to have turned that around.
- If you thought that was the case because he simply doesn't pass as frequently, you wouldn't be totally wrong. But he's in fourth place on the team for completed passes per match, with 23.8. (Although for comparison, Javier Morales is in first place with 41 successful passes per match.)
- Olave currently leads the team in interceptions per match with 4 and in clearances, which maybe is a little less positive. But is it massively so? I don't know.
- He also hasn't had a single yellow card this season. In fact, he's committed only four fouls, which is a significant improvement over past years. He used to average around 1.4 fouls per game, and so far, he's averaging 0.8. That's quite good.
Now, we might still wonder about his physical qualities, and maybe there's still a reason for that. But while we look at Jamison Olave (and especially if we ignore that own goal against Philadelphia), we can see an improved player in some important regards.