Kristopher Tyrpak was the second of three draft picks for Chivas USA in 2014, taken at No. 40 overall. Though he didn't see a great deal of first team action in his first season, it looks like the pick was a prudent one.
The Texas native's reputation was built upon playing as a striker, and based on highlight videos, he looked like a target man who couldn't miss at headers. Was that how he was going to play at Chivas?
In a word, no. But he showed a versatility to his game in brief patches that should help him see action in the future. He can play with the ball at his feet, he can be a winger, an inverted winger, a forward, or play "in the hole." And for a young guy coming off the bench, that's useful.
The thing was, Tyrpak didn't actually play that much under Wilmer Cabrera, which was kind of weird because he seemed to have more potential than some of the guys playing ahead of him. I don't really think he would have been any great shakes in his first year had he gotten 20 starts, but I do think if he had come off the bench 20 times as a change-of-pace offensive substitute, that could have helped him and the team. Maybe the circumstances of games prevented him from getting on the field more often? Chivas were either losing, often badly, or they were trying to protect a delicate draw or even lead, and maybe Cabrera just didn't think the game state was correct to bring a player who showed a lot of potential on to the field.
Here were Tyrpak's statistics for 2014:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||9||0||156||1||1||1||1||1||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||1||0||15||0||0||0||0||0||0|
The rookie came on six times in the first 15 league games, and also came off the bench in CUSA's U.S. Open Cup game (though he missed his PK, which wasn't great, though he was far from the only player on his team to fail to come through in that circumstance). Then Tyrpak didn't feature at all until the final three games of the season, when he came off the bench, and also managed to score his only goal of the season in the first of those three.
This is a really impressive goal, certainly the best for a player not named Cubo on CUSA this year, and he came off the bench to kickstart a comeback, one that the Goats ultimately got, when they defeated the Colorado Rapids.
So was it a matter of Cabrera making Tyrpak work for the little time he saw on the field? Spelling the newbie to make sure he didn't hit the rookie wall (Tyrpak himself did note the punishing length of the MLS season this week)? Or like so much with this Chivas USA team, did it take until the final games of the season for the team to final begin clicking and look like a real MLS side?
We'll never really know, especially since Chivas USA is no more. Fortunately for Tyrpak, he's got a new team already, as he was taken by the San Jose Earthquakes last week, apparently based on new Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear's prior history with the player. That's a lucky break, in a sense, but I think Tyrpak makes perfect sense for a Kinnear team. He's shifty, he has skill, but he works hard, and Kinnear will be able to slot him into different roles on the field.
Does that mean Tyrpak will see more minutes in 2015 with San Jose? I do, though I wouldn't be entirely surprised if he is sent on loan to USL PRO for some seasoning and to help him continue acclimating to the pro game next year.
The bottom line is that I think there's a lot of room for growth for Tyrpak, and that's promising. I don't know if he's capable of being an MLS All-Star, but I do think he's capable of becoming a solid pro and perhaps even a regular starter, with a couple of years where he really pulls it all together. And for a player taken 40th in a SuperDraft by a defunct team, that's not too bad, really.
He didn't play a ton, but he showed promise. You can't ask much more than that, and the future looks pretty good for Kris Tyrpak.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!