Player name: Jesus Leal
Position: Defensive Midfielder
Last club: Club America, Cimarrones de Sonora FC (on loan).
One thing you need to know
During the 2015-2016 Liga MX season, Jesus Leal made on two appearances for Club America in CONCACAF Champions League play, going for a full 90 minutes in the home match against Bayamon in CONCACAF Champions League play and coming in as a late substitute in the away fixture against the same team.
What he brings to the team
Entering his seventh year as a professional, Jesus is well versed in the Mexican tradition of complete and total effort for each and every minute of play. Technical and comfortable on the ball his job under that system was continually playing the ball out of the back in support of slashing offensive runs. His time with Club America has also taught him that if he fails to perform he should not expect future minutes.
As the Monarchs 2016 season ended, Leal made four appearances as a defensive midfielder in September. Frequently teamed with Charlie Adams, they played extremely well directly in front of the back four. Jesus appeared very smooth and fluid with the ball and linked well with the two center backs, but both he and Charlie struggled to contact up with the forward attackers.
Why you should be excited
Jesus now has the benefit of a full spring training to get familiar with his fellow Monarchs and the schemes that they will be using in 2017. With the addition of a great deal of offensive talent and a new head coach in Mike Petke, Jesus should find it much easier to pick out the targets he may have missed at the end of last season.
Even should Leal fail to win a regular starting role, his background and experience should serve him well as a substitute in many different situations. Devoted to giving 100 percent and knowledgeable about the game, Jesus will be quick to come up to speed off the bench and enter the flow of his teammates.
Predictions for 2017
- Jesus will be a leader in training giving 100% regardless of the drill.
- At least initially, the bulk of Leal’s minutes will come as a substitute focused on preservation of draws and victories.
- Jesus will be a frequent trigger for counter-attacks and wind up with at least one assist from a counter-attacking opportunity late in a game.