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How’s Danilo Acosta compare to RSL’s full backs?

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RSL’s young full back has impressed during opportunities in 2017.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Danilo Acosta hasn’t played the last two matches for Real Salt Lake, ceding the position to Chris Wingert — and while we don’t know the reasons, it does feel a little weird.

But we’re not here to speculate about reasons. Instead, let’s take a quick look at some of the statistical attributes he’s shown for us in 2017.

Passing

  • Success rate: 77.1 percent, says WhoScored. That places him in the same company as Tony Beltran (77.6) and ahead of Demar Phillips (66.3) and Wingert (73.2).
  • Passes per match: 38, behind only Tony Beltran (43.5) among the full backs.
  • Long passes per match: 2.2, again, the same as Tony Beltran (2.2)

What does this tell us? Honestly, not much. We’re fortunate in reading these stats that we know Beltran and Acosta more or less started playing regularly this season around the same time, and that might just tell us more about the way we’ve played with full backs than it does about the full backs themselves. Still, it gives us a good framework.

Crossing

  • 0.4 accurate per game, 2.4 total per game. Really, that’s not too radically different from Tony Beltran (0.3/1.8), Chris Wingert (0.1/1.6) and Demar Phillips (0.1/2.6). Sure, it’s better, but it’s not massively better. It more or less underscores the way we use our full backs and attack down the wings.

Defending

  • Tackles: 2.1 successful per game of 3 attempted. For comparison, Beltran’s at 2.3 of 3, Demar Phillips is at 2.4 of 3.1, and Wingert is at 1.5 of 1.9. Those raw numbers might mean something and they might not, but the difference between Wingert and the rest of the full backs is a little startling. Now, some people talk about how the best defender doesn’t need to tackle too often, and certainly, there’s something to how a player reads the game and their need to tackle. Take this number as context, not as analysis on its own
  • Interceptions: 1.6 per game. That’s behind Phillips (2.2) but ahead of Beltran (1.0) and Wingert (1.1). This is probably more indicative of how the full back defends than tackling.
  • Fouls: 1.1 per game. Behind Wingert (1.7) and Phillips (1.5), right around Beltran (1.2). Don’t assume a higher number is bad, though — the value of a tactical foul to break up play before it gets going is extremely high in my book. I really think that’s an area where Wingert’s experience really plays out, although one might wonder if he were faster if it would matter as much.
  • Crosses blocked: 0.4 per game. He’s behind Beltran (0.5), equal to Phillips, and well ahead of Wingert (0.1).

Ball control

  • Unsuccessful touches: 0.8. That’s equal to both Wingert and Beltran and behind Phillips (1.1).
  • Dispossed: 1.0. That’s the highest of the four, with Beltran (0.7), Phillips (0.5) and Wingert (0.2, remarkably) all doing considerably better.