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Do Toronto FC have an internal replacement for Will Johnson?

Marky Delgado has been mentioned as someone who could fill the Canadian’s boots next season.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There was a bit of discussion in and below the line of Mitchell’s article yesterday about the potential for Toronto FC to replace Will Johnson without making a new signing, so I thought I’d take a look at the credentials of the likes of Marky Delgado in that role in more detail.

The numbers

I gathered up the stats, per Opta, of all of TFC’s regular midfielders last season, and here’s what came out the other end. These are all per 90 minutes of play, regular season and playoffs.

Toronto FC midfielders in 2016

Player Games Goals Assists Passes Pass Accuracy Chances created Chances created (open play) Tackles Interceptions
Player Games Goals Assists Passes Pass Accuracy Chances created Chances created (open play) Tackles Interceptions
Osorio, Jonathan 36 0.13 0.06 42 87% 1.36 1.36 1.42 1.01
Bradley, Michael 30 0.07 0.13 72 82% 1.37 1.01 3.39 2.35
Johnson, Will 29 0.1 0.19 49 82% 0.72 0.67 3.17 1.49
Delgado, Marco 29 0.09 0.09 50 81% 1.4 1.35 3.34 1.76
Chapman, Jay 18 0 0.23 48 79% 2.42 2.42 2.31 0.92
Cheyrou, Benoit 17 0.1 0 58 79% 0.72 0.72 2.05 1.94
Cooper, Armando 12 0.11 0.22 50 81% 0.99 0.99 4.5 1.76

The takeaways

As you can see, Delgado comes out looking pretty good compared to Johnson; they’re very similar in a number of respects. Johnson had more assists, but neither was really making a great impact there and the fact that Delgado created twice as many chances suggests that could fluctuate. The stats aren’t everything and there’s things they can’t account for - Johnson taking up positions that prevent the need for an interception or tackle in the first place, for example - but they at least suggest Delgado deserves the chance to continue to increase his role.

There’s also Armando Cooper, who seems to have been lost in the discussion a little. Again, he might not do some of the subtle, unnoticed things that Johnson does out of possession, but he is a very aggressive tackler who helped turn the Reds into a more effective pressing team in the postseason. He also showed signs of striking up a connection with Sebastian Giovinco thanks to his ability to play quick, positive passes (they stats aren’t in the above table but Johnson was last by a fair distance on successful passes in the opposition half).

Lastly, Jay Chapman’s ability to consistently create chances is very promising, but I’ll elaborate on that in our Top 20 list soon.