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Toronto FC 2015 Top 30 Countdown: #15 Eriq Zavaleta

Kicking off the top half of the countdown, Eriq Zavaleta made his debut with Toronto this year and instantly made an impression.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Zavaleta, nephew of Greg Vanney, was acquired on January 26 in 2015 from the Seattle Sounders in exchange for a second-round pick in this year's upcoming MLS Superdraft. Zavaleta was utilized as a role player in 2015 - starting 11 games and coming on as a substitute in 8 games. He was acquired to provide cover at CB and did so effectively for Toronto FC in 2015.

Average Rating: 15.3

Highest Rating: 14

Lowest Rating: 18

Below we see some of the numbers from Squawka for Zavaleta's season:

Per 90 Stats Total Score Tackles Won/Lost Aerial Duels Won/% Fouls Blocks
Eriq Zavaleta 19.87 1.50/75 2.50/70% 0.83 0.75

Eriq Zavaleta had a quietly productive season. He had strong statistics in 2015 across the board above especially in aerial duels. In a league where teams look at every set piece as an opportunity to play the ball into the box for a potential scoring chance his strength in the air is an asset.

Despite this, I don't think we've seen enough to count on Zavaleta as a possible starting option at any point. Although $115,600 a season may seem overpaid for a depth CB, he is an acceptable third option and will be important cover for an aging Moor and the injury-prone Perquis in 2016.

Zavaleta, at times, was not a player you would notice a lot on the pitch when he did play. The old adage is that this is a positive thing for a defender as it usually is at an absence of mistakes.

The question will be if he gets preferred over Josh Williams when someone needs to step into the starting lineup. If the end of the season was any indication, we may see Williams as the first option.