In 2015, the Orange County Blues found considerable success in signing European players from "smaller" leagues. While several of those players departed after the season, a few stayed on a second season, and Oliver Wyss and company signed another European player, Armenian striker Gevorg Karapetyan, for the 2016 season.
Karapetyan came to the U.S. for the first time in 2016, having previously played in the Armenian Premier League for a number of sides and a former Armenia youth international. A stocky striker, it seemed a good bet he could break through and become the starting forward with the Blues' striker corps completely turning over from 2015.
Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way. Karapetyan had the bad luck to pick up an injury in the first half of the season opener, and missed nearly two months of action. While he did see more minutes after recovering, he never broke through, and was out of the reckoning by the beginning of August.
Here are Karapetyan's statistics for the 2016 season:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|USL Regular Season||11||5||488||1||0||3||1||1||0|
|U.S. Open Cup*|
*I have been trying to track down 2016 U.S. Open Cup stats for the Blues. When I get them, I will fill them in the players' stats.
Curiously, Karapetyan's final appearance of the season with the Blues was the one in which he scored his first USL goal, against Arizona United, although it was in a 3-1 loss.
Possibly of more concern is that Karapetyan only notched three shots, one on target, the entire season. Based on his previous production, it seems pretty obvious that he was a support striker, but even so, a shot every 162 minutes of play seems very low for a forward. Three players who played fewer minutes notched more shots, and two of those players were midfielders. So while he grabbed a goal, in his seemingly final appearance, the production really wasn't there.
And so it seems unlikely the 26-year-old will be back with Orange County for 2017. We can never say never, given the new coach coming in for next season, and I haven't found any information bouncing around that he's signed with another team. But given the bad luck to start his Blues and lack of production in admittedly limited minutes, it seems pretty likely Karapetyan will be a one-and-done player for OC.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!