There are times when players and teams just don't click. Junior Burgos clearly had that situation with the Orange County Blues in 2015.
A player with pro experience and pedigree who joined early in the season, Burgos seemed like a great fit for the rebuilding Blues. A Salvadoran international who grew up in California, who had bounced around a bit but had a good stint with the Atlanta Silverbacks in 2014, Burgos slotted into the lineup right away after signing with the club.
The problem was that he was probably the most disappointing addition. An attacking midfielder, Burgos showed some of his potential in what turned out to be limited minutes, but when it came to the most important attributes for someone at his position -- offering production through goals and/or assists -- he really didn't have it. Instead, he was fond of taking a difficult dribble, beating a defender or two in impressive fashion, and then...launching a shot from 25 yards out that sailed miles over goal. I feel like he made that move 10 times a game. That obviously can't be true, but it's the indelible image of Burgos' time with Orange County, and that's not really a good thing.
Here were Burgos' stats with the Blues:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|USL Regular Season||4||4||273||0||0||12||3||1||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||1||1||59||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Following his five game run with the Blues, Burgos departed and re-signed with the Silverbacks, and guess what? The circumstances suited him so much better. He was a valued member on the NASL side, and found his mojo, scoring four goals and six assists. He also earned NASL Goal of the Year this season:
It's quite a change in fortunes from his time with Orange County. I've got no inside information on this front, but I suspect he was more apt to move on from Atlanta in the first place because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of that club -- uncertainty that persists this offseason as well. Chances are if the Silverbacks were not in danger of going out of business, he probably would have stayed there in the first place, but he figured he'd find a new situation if they were going to fold. They didn't this year, and when his other situations didn't work out (he left a Colombian team before joining Orange County because of contract issues), he went back to the team where he had a good run, and did even better.
So while Burgos' tenure with Orange County was marred by a lack of chemistry with teammates and an inability to produce on the attacking end, the good news for him is that he was able to find the situation he needed to thrive again, and he was one of the best players on his next team. It may not have benefitted the Blues directly, but they were able to add an experienced player later in the season in David Estrada, who did kickstart the team and slotted in seamlessly. It just didn't work out that way with Junior Burgos. It happens.
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