Mehrshad Momeni is a link to the very beginning of the Orange County Blues history.
A holdover from the debut season of 2011 (though he did not play with the Blues in 2012), Momeni is one of only a couple players to hold that distinction by this season. With so much turnover after the hiring of Oliver Wyss, not to mention the common instability in an ever-changing USL, the Iranian could lend his leadership and experience to a remade roster.
In all likelihood, he did just that, but his on-field impact was limited in 2015.
In researching this story, I looked for clarification that Momeni had surgery this season, but couldn't find any written confirmation of that on the internet. At any rate, I'm fairly certain Momeni's appearances were limited in large part because he had surgery and was sidelined due to that and injury this season, as he made just five appearances, all in league play.
Here are Momeni's complete stats from 2015:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|USL Regular Season||5||1||145||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
So he's only 28, and it's entirely possible the midfielder/defender had an off year due to his injury issues. He could come roaring back next season, and getting some time on the field shows he was still in Oliver Wyss' plans this year to some extent.
But my hunch is there is a good chance Momeni may not return to the club. He's got the pedigree that makes sense, coming from Esteghlal in Iran, which is apparently Blues owner Ali Mansouri's favorite team, but Momeni was definitely not part of the core squad for Wyss and basically just got spot duty. Whether that's injury-related or not is unclear. He did look decent when he did play, but unless he really put in the work to come back to fitness in training and Wyss was mostly holding him back to prevent re-injury, he seems like a squad player at best at this point.
Still, the intangibles can be important, and with Orange County's impressive one-season turnaround, guys like Momeni may play a valuable role behind the scenes. We'll have to see what 2016 holds for him and the team.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!