Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor
Perhaps Eric Wynalda is on to something.
The Atlanta Silverbacks head coach and analyst for Fox Soccer hasn't exactly been cryptic with his public gushing over Rapids left-back Chris Klute. After discovering the 23-year-old in the summer of 2012, Wynalda basically employed himself as an unpaid publicist.
First, there were his comparisons to former U.S. men's national team defender Eddie Pope, via ColoradoRapids.com. Then, there was his trolling tirade in the comments section of MLS' official website, via the Rapids' website. The emoticon at the end was a nice touch:
Klute is better than ANYBODY we've ever had. Sorry, but we need to understand what potential actually looks like. Now, think about a World Cup. Ribery, Ronaldo, Robben, Walcott, etc...Who do we have that can run with those guys. NOBODY. Klute can and that's the difference. I don't think people realize how fast he is. I've never seen pick up pace like that in an American player. We've just never had it before. I hope he gets a shot. He doesn't need six months. He needs six seconds, and that's usually how games are decided. In six seconds or less. I think I'm done here. :)
Fortunately for Wynalda, the numbers back him up.
The promising left-back didn't just lead his club with seven assists, he led all MLS defenders under 25 in the same category. His 74 percent passing accuracy ranks fifth among defenders who played in at least 25 matches and met the same age requirements.
But the one category that Klute excelled in and warrants your attention is key passes. No MLS defender under 25 had more key passes last season than Colorado's No. 15 (23).
Not bad for a player who entered the season with just one start under his belt.
Off the strength of a successful campaign, Klute left a mark on Jurgen Klinsmann's radar. Though he failed to feature in a friendly against South Korea, Klute still gained invaluable experience at the international level.
He's barely scratched the surface of his talents. Expect key passes and key performances to rise in 2014.