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Orange County Blues 2016 Player Postmortem: Roy Meeus

Belgian brought an unconventional game to USL.

Courtesy of OC Blues FC

Roy Meeus had a rather curious debut campaign with Orange County in 2016.

The Belgian, a left back who was one of the key signings ahead of the season, quickly raced out to become the team’s top scorer and assist man in the early going. Granted, his goals mostly came from the penalty spot, but he was slotting into USL pretty much right off the bat.

But with the team struggling in the first half of the 2016 season, Meeus may have been the team’s MVP, but as a raft of midseason signings joined in late summer to make a playoff push, Meeus became more of a depth option, with another offseason addition, Andrae Campbell, taking the mantle at left back in the backstretch of the season.

In some respects, Meeus’ skills and position seem to clash. While it’s not entirely unusual to see anomalies — Roberto Carlos famously became a set piece specialist while a fullback, a handful of goalkeepers in South America have become penalty takers for their teams, despite the hazards that may engender — a fullback who seems to be the team’s best set piece specialist but may not be the best left back in the team presents real dilemmas for a coach.

Meeus 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 26 18 1,775 4 4 19 7 4 0
USL Playoffs 1 0 21 0 0 0 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup*
Total 27 18 1,796 4 4 19 7 4 0

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Meeus was a terrible defender. I do think Campbell was more dynamic on both sides of the ball from the run of play, but Meeus brought obvious skills on dead balls.

And Meeus is returning for Orange County SC in 2017. That certainly sounds like good news, as the 27-year-old with top-flight European experience will be called upon to help what looks like a pretty young squad for the new-look side.

But there remains the dilemma about Meeus’ position, if only to my eyes. Is there any chance Meeus could be moved into midfield in Logan Pause’s lineup? There are multiple fullback options already on the roster, so moving Meeus into more of a midfield role, assisting in defense but remaining on the field in large part to be present for set pieces may be a bit unconventional but seems logical.

At any rate, Meeus made a solid impression in an up-and-down debut season in Orange County. What is his ceiling in USL? If he really pulled strings and set up a lot of goals, and OCSC had a good record, then he could really set himself apart from the pack. But first, we’ll have to see how he fares in Pause’s plans for the coming season.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!