Dockal_SeasonReview

Season in Review: Borek Dockal was pretty darn good

Sebastien Le Toux's 2011 season is, without question, the best offensive performance in Union history. 14 goals, 11 assists. He was too quick in mind, too fast across the pitch.

 

In 2018, Borek Dockal got as close as anybody has to providing a challenge to Le Toux. Five goals and 18 assists is a terrific haul at the attacking midfield position, particularly in light of the Union's struggles to get production from that same spot in 2017. Dockal arrived late in the offseason window, took time to find his feet, and then... he just took off.

 

Consider this: After nine games of the season, Borek Dockal had one goal and one assist. That means he had 24 goals or assists over the final 25 games of the year, only 23 of which he played (and only 22 of which he played for more than eight minutes).

Dockal filled a need perfectly, and there are two possible implications to draw from that. One is that Dockal is irreplaceable. The 30-year old Czech playmaker's angled passing and sharp, leading crosses a singular propeller without which the Union's progress will sputter to a halt. The other is that the Union may now be a better scouting organization than they used to be. Dockal was, without question, incredible in 2018, but he was also exactly what Philadelphia expected him to be; the Union had a target on-field profile and in the Czech man they found a player that fit it and wanted to be in Philly — but perhaps only for a season.

With tactical and formational changes on the way, Dockal's role — if he returns — will likely be a bit different than it was this year. Although he could be a strong transition player (just think back to Cory Burke's home goal against NYC), Dockal's biggest asset was a feel for space between lines. Without being particularly quick or tricky, the lanky midfielder has a penchant for drifting away from defenders that simply assume he is where he is not. He's certainly good enough to adjust to the new system that will be implemented, but he may no longer be a perfect fit. And with that in mind, the big question becomes not whether Borek Dockal will stay or go, but whether the scouting and statistical profiling that found him can -- along with Ernst Tanner's network -- find a similarly goodDockal filled a need perfectly, and there are two possible implications to draw from that. One is that Dockal is irreplaceable. The 30-year old Czech playmaker's angled passing and sharp, leading crosses a singular propeller without which the Union's progress will sputter to a halt. The other is that the Union may now be a better scouting organization than they used to be. Dockal was, without question, incredible in 2018, but he was also exactly what Philadelphia expected him to be; the Union had a target on-field profile and in the Czech man they found a player that fit it and wanted to be in Philly — but perhaps only for a season.

With tactical and formational changes on the way, Dockal's role — if he returns — will likely be a bit different than it was this year. Although he could be a strong transition player (just think back to Cory Burke's home goal against NYC), Dockal's biggest asset was a feel for space between lines. Without being particularly quick or tricky, the lanky midfielder has a penchant for drifting away from defenders that simply assume he is where he is not. He's certainly good enough to adjust to the new system that will be implemented, but he may no longer be a perfect fit. And with that in mind, the big question becomes not whether Borek Dockal will stay or go, but whether the scouting and statistical profiling that found him can -- along with Ernst Tanner's network -- find a similarly good fit for what the Union want to do next year.

 

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