Lets step away from soccer for a brief moment (I promise we’ll be right back). The year is 2012. The Philadelphia 76ers have just made the playoffs as the 8th seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Well into the Era of Big Threes in NBA history, the Sixers had no real star man. Their star: Andre Iguodala. Iguodala was an elite defender and that was his go to. Anything else wasn’t at a star-like capacity. He was not a Steph Curry-esque shooter and he wasn’t creating offense like Lebron James. He was a star, but not THE star. The Sixers progressed well behind some serious hustle and serious luck.
Flash forward (and change sports) and the Philadelphia Union have struggled this season needless to say. Their star: Alejandro Bedoya. If you had to define Bedoya’s biggest trait…could you? Alejandro Bedoya has been a profesional soccer player since 2009, when he made his debut for Orebo SK, since then he has played a total of 202 games for overseas clubs such as Rangers, Helsingborgs IF, FC Nantes and now the Philadelphia Union. In those games he has scored a total of 27 goals, that’s an average of a goal every 7.5 games, needless to say, scoring is not his forte.
Same could be said about assists, those stats are harder to come by, but a creator he’s not. After seeing him play for the first seven games of this season, I think we can all agree on that.
Where does that leave Ale? I think he can be described as a high energy guy, he covers a lot of ground and is always willing to make the extra effort, in other words, a nice compliment to a good team. Bedoya doesn’t possess Ilsinho type skills, or Fafa type speed or, really anything that makes him stand out, all he has going for himself is hustle, effort and team-first mentality. He’s got a great captain’s mentality.
Having said that, there’s a lot of talk about how he has been a bust, and how he needs to be benched. I think this is ridiculous chatter. Bedoya has given this team everything he could. He played out of position for seven games without complaint and he has given 100% tireless effort in every single game. He has acted like a leader off and on the field.
So what can you expect nay-sayers? Is there room to say he’s overpaid? Absolutely, but don’t look at him for that. Just because he’s making a cool million doesn’t mean he’s suddenly above following the coaches instructions. Look at Bedoya’s history. Nothing suggests he’s the game changing, team-carrying player we’re hoping for. He’s the leader who rallies the team with endless hustle and makes the right decisions. He’s the steadying hand, not the risky creator.
Please, educate yourself before you start criticizing players.