Stephen Obayan Sunday is going to play how Sunny, as he’s known, wants to play. If he feels like it you’ll learn to love him. If he doesn’t feel like it you’ll learn to hate him. We’ve all hopefully come to terms with the little things he does by now, however awesome or annoying they are. Sunny is the man of two faces, and this year we will see who he truly is as a player.
I’d like to start off by saying Sunny is a very capable and talented individual. Last season’s July 29 2-2 draw against Columbus Sunny had a 96.5% pass accuracy, with 85 attempted and 82 completed. The only other player with higher stats than that is Joevin Jones who had 93 attempts, 90 completions for 96.7% accuracy. In other words, RSL’s second string QB had the season’s second best passing game.
Then there’s the side of Sunny. A player who commited 44 fouls and earned 8 yellow cards in just 18 starts. Now, I don’t mind a defensive midfielder doing his job, but I do mind a box-to-box player commiting the foul to stop the play when you’ve already broken up the play. It feels like I’m taking crazy pills whenever he does.
It’s got to be hard to play out of position, especially when you’re so good at the position you play. He has practically been all filler since he arrived. There was no way he was ever taking that spot from Kyle Beckerman. But, the team is changing. Sunny is going to have new opportunities to get that starting spot he wants.
We’ve seen Sunny twice this year and he did a great job. He came in, sat deep where he’s at his best, and he helped the defense battle out in no man’s land. On Saturday night against New York Red Bulls, RSL coach Mike Petke must’ve given him some potent instructions, because he executed his decisions deliberately and smartly.
He does have a point to prove: Nigeria is going to the FIFA World Cup and Stephen Sunday wants to be on that roster. That, and his contract is up after this season, means Sunny needs to be giving every minute on that field all the quality and discipline he can come up with. If he doesn’t he may miss out on every players dream of playing at the WC and a better contract offer of some sort next season.
Let’s see what he wants to do.