Back on July 4, this site published a story figuring out which Chivas USA defender has earned the most points per start. Now that Chivas have started to climb out of the relative hole they were in a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be useful to briefly revisit and update the statistics.
Here's the breakdown of the team's overall performance to this point, to give you a baseline for the defenders: 20 matches. Record: 5-7-8, 23 points; points per game: 1.15
The defenders who performed the best, based on points per start, in descending order:
Zarek Valentin: Started 16 matches. Record: 5-5-6; Points: 21; Points per start: 1.31
Andrew Boyens: Started 7 matches. Record: 2-2-3; Points: 9; Points per start: 1.29
Michael Lahoud: Started 12 matches. Record: 3-3-6; Points: 15; Points per start: 1.25
Heath Pearce: Started 20 matches. Record: 5-7-8; Points: 23; Points per start: 1.15
Michael Umana: Started 9 matches. Record: 2-3-4; Points: 10; Points per start: 1.11
Ante Jazic: Started 14 matches. Record: 3-6-5; Points: 14; Points per start: 1.0
Jimmy Conrad: Started 2 matches. Record: 0-2-0; Points: 0; Points per start: 0
So there has been a little movement from the last report. Valentin is again on top, and Boyens and Lahoud are not far behind. All three defenders are above average, which fits with the fourth defender, Pearce, who has been the only mainstay in the lineup so far, starting in every match. Given their positioning, there would be no overlapping, as Lahoud plays left back, Pearce and Boyens are center backs, and Valentin is playing right back. But Coach Robin Fraser looks like he is going to continue with Umana over Boyens for the moment, as Umana has started the last nine matches. And to be fair, Umana has raised his points per start average, as he was at 0.83 on July 4. Now he is a shade under the average. But it is still below the team average, adding evidence for the fans who don't understand Umana's continued selection to the starting lineup.
Rounding out the rankings are Jazic and Conrad, who should be given some leeway considering they are both battling injuries. I have no doubt Conrad would be playing if he was healthy, but I'm not necessarily sure about Jazic. After he returns from his calf injury, I suppose we will see if he gets back in the lineup as the last game looked like Lahoud might drop down the depth chart after he was pulled off before halftime.
What do you think? Who should be the starting defenders? Leave a comment below!