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Orange County Blues 2016 Player Postmortem: Dusan Stevanovic

Open tryout winner provided solid depth.

Stevanovic reflecting on the Blues’ season-ending loss.
Nick Smith/Swope Park Rangers (via Flickr)

Dusan Stevanovic was one of the Orange County Blues’ midfield additions at the start of the 2016 season, a player with experience playing professionally in Serbia, the country of his birth, but with the familiarity of Orange County, having grown up in the area.

The 24-year-old was this year’s success story from the open tryouts, joining the previous year’s open tryout signee, Nikola Ilich, on the roster. And given the success of the Eastern European players on the Blues’ roster in 2015, it was logical to go back to the well and add a player with experience in soccer in the region.

So how did Stevanovic do in his season with the Blues? He was a contributor, albeit one who was seemingly more of a depth option than a go-to starter. He did notch a goal, in a loss to Real Monarchs, and his role seemed to change over the course of the season, from a two-way midfielder to move of a player tasked with shutting down opponents defensively, especially coming off the bench late in the season.

Stevanovic’s 2016 OC Blues statistics

2016 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2016 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
USL Regular Season 13 8 713 1 0 8 4 1 0
USL Playoffs 2 0 62 0 0 0 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup*
Total 15 8 775 1 0 8 4 1 0

*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.

And unlike some of the other depth players on the squad, Stevanovic hung around all season, even coming off the bench in both playoff games and scoring one of the penalties in the Blues’ historic playoff win against Sacramento Republic.

He certainly wasn’t one of the first names on the teamsheet, but he played a role, even if was mostly as a late-game reserve. But Stevanovic played a role in the Blues’ season, even if it was almost entirely under the radar.

Could he return to the club in 2017? Given the trend of players departing the club so far this offseason, one wonders if any players will be returning from 2016’s roster. That said, if they do opt to bring back some players, it’s unclear if Stevanovic would be a high priority to re-sign. He did a job, but didn’t establish himself as a regular starter. Every team can use depth players, of course, but will they go back to him for another season? Stay tuned.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!