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Orange County SC 2017 Player Postmortem: James Baxendale

Midseason import was subdued in his impact.

Courtesy of Orange County SC.

Orange County SC were about to hit the busiest part of their 2017 USL season when midfielder James Baxendale was signed in late-July. The Englishman, 24 at the time, joined after playing for several English lower-league teams.

Billed as an “attack-minded midfielder,” curiously Baxendale didn’t really play that way for OC. He played as a box-to-box midfielder, but for the most part, stayed out of the attack almost altogether. While he hadn’t been a scorer in England, he only had three shots in 14 appearances for Orange County, and seemed to be a water carrier for the team (a useful role, to be sure) more than any kind of attacking force.

Here were Baxendale’s statistics with Orange County:

Baxendale OCSC Statistics 2017

Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
14 8 680 0 0 3 2 1 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
14 8 680 0 0 3 2 1 0

I think the unfortunate assessment of Baxendale’s time with OC was that he didn’t really stand out much on the field. The player added at the same time, midfielder Frank Oljive, was much more influential game to game overall, and if Baxendale was intended to be a jumpstart to an attack that was flagging around that point, the addition of Irvin Parra and his immediate impact in being a scorer and playmaker superceded that.

To be fair to Baxendale, jumping in with a team in the middle of the season doesn’t always give players the chance to really show their best — there’s often a sink or swim approach, and while Orange County manager Logan Pause gave him minutes, he worked hard but didn’t really shine. Whether he has more to show in USL or not is a question at this point.

So I’m not necessarily sure Baxendale will be back next year, as he strikes me as the kind of player who gets a chance and then likely moves back home after a short stint. The player’s social media doesn’t really show anything to provide hints, but the last English player signed by the club was signed on a season-and-a-half deal, so that’s possible with Baxendale. Is there more to see in his game? Could he be more influential with this adjustment period? We’ll have to wait and see on that count.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!