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Orange County Blues 2016 Player Postmortem: Joe Baccielo

Rookie striker worked hard on the field.

Akwafei Ajeakwa, Mats Bjurman, Joe Baccielo, OC Blues OC Blues FC

Daniel Joseph Baccielo joined the Orange County Blues at the start of the 2016 season. A big, bruising forward, the rookie was an unknown quantity to those on the west coast, having grown up and played college soccer in Connecticut. After featuring for a PDL side in his home state, Baccielo made the move across the country and began his pro career in earnest in 2016.

A bit unfortunate that Baccielo, who went by “Joe,” was often mistakenly called Daniel or was classified as two separate players on USL’s website, for some reason. Not the guy’s fault, just maybe an indication of the lack of prior name recognition, not uncommon at the USL level.

Anyway, on the field, Baccielo was a semi-frequent early-season option for OC, both starting and coming off the bench. A depth option, he got a decent run of playing time with Gevorg Karapetyan hurt early in the season and regular starters Akwafei Ajeakwa and Trevin Caesar out for various reasons in the first half of the season.

Baccielo 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 7 689 2 0 14 4 0 0
USL Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup*
Total 13 7 689 2 0 14 4 0 0

Baccielo notched two goals on the season, and the impression he gave on the field was that of a big, hard-working striker who was a bit snakebitten in front of goal. In some respects, he played much like a poor man’s version of Matthew Fondy, someone who gave full effort, but whose finishing wasn’t always on the mark. Maybe Baccielo needed more time to find a rhythm, or maybe he found his ceiling.

No matter, as he was apparently out the door in or around August, as the Blues made a bunch of signings to bolster the roster and Baccielo appeared to be a casualty. In the end, his hard work was admirable, but with Ajeakwa firmly in place as the preferred support striker and goals up top hard to come by, the team felt the need to move on to the likes of Orr Barouch and Max Rauhofer for the homestretch, and that sealed Baccielo’s fate.

Will we see Joe Baccielo back in the pro game again? Hard to say. No word so far on signing for any other club, so it’s something to keep an eye on. It does appear safe to say that he won’t be back in Orange County, however.

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