South-American playmakers have always been a valuable commodity in MLS, and this year is no different. Big name players such as Federico Higuain, Kaka, and Pedro Morales have driven their respective offenses with a devastating array of passes in the attacking third. Amongst all of these playmakers lies Cristian “Chaco” Maidana, Philadelphia’s Argentinian midfielder and undisputed No. 10. While atop Philadelphia’s midfield, Chaco has led the Union with 46 chances created (key passes plus assists) and it isn’t even close. The next man up is Sebastien Le Toux, who has 23 chances created. Through the Union’s latest MLS fixture against Montreal, Maidana has joined an elite company of MLS’s playmakers, as he trails only Javier Morales and Shaun Maloney in key passes per game. Oddly enough, Maidana is one of three Argentinians in the top five, joining fellow countrymen Javier Morales and Matias Perez Garcia.
Surprisingly, Maidana’s teammates have failed to make good on 44 of Maidana’s 46 chances created, with his two direct assists coming off of goals by Vincent Nogueira and Fernando Aristeguieta earlier in the season. However, MLS has done well to track both primary and secondary assists, placing Maidana in a four-way tie for 4th place on the MLS leaderboard. Chaco also failed to receive credit for numerous Union goals that he created, including all three of Philadelphia’s goals in an early season matchup against Real Salt Lake.
The league average conversion rate (goals per shots taken) in the 2015 season has been 0.101, roughly one goal for every 10 shots taken. In comparison Union players have converted 0.04 percent of Maidana’s chances created. This comparison of averages would dictate that Maidana could easily have anywhere between three and seven direct assists had his teammates’ finishing been more clinical. So despite how excellent Chaco’s creative efforts have been thus far, the numbers would indicate that he will be even more effective as the season wears on.