Hector Jimenez shows improvement over season averages

USA TODAY Sports

Finishing fourth in the weekly Castrol Index, Hector Jimenez showed a side to his game that he hadn't shown thus far in 2013. It's a hopeful sign that he can be an everyday guy for LA in the coming seasons.

The Castrol Indez more than anything measures a player's efficiency, and last week Hector Jimenez turned in a performance significantly more efficient than his averages for the season finishing fourth in the Castrol Index weekly Top 10. We'll have to see if Jimenez can use this performance to turn around his season, but certainly it was a significant step in the right direction.

"His last performance was his best so far and by far better than his "average" performance before that last match. As a midfielder he has both a defensive and an offensive role in his team. The greater improvement can be seen in his offensive playing."

This has been my complaint against using Jimenez over a full ninety minutes since the season began. He and Michael Stephens earned a reputation as defensive replacements, and thus far in full match use they haven't shaken that label. Before Sunday's match Jimenez had two goals (both as a substitute) and one shot on target in 462 minutes. That's essentially .4 goals per ninety, which the on target shots more troubling. Getting the goal in 81 minutes on the pitch certainly helped raise his Index rating, but it's his distribution that's been the bigger issue.

By the end of the match Jimenez' pass success rate was down near his unimpressive average (66%), but around the time of his goal Who Scored had him in the mid eighties. However, "if we restrict ourselves on the last ¼ of the field (on the attacking side) he had 16 completed passes out of 31 attempts (52%), while in his previous matches he had in total 28/68 (41%)."

His player profile on Who Scored tells the same story: weak passing but strong defensive contribution and at holding onto the ball. It also lists key passes as a strength for Jimenez (Who Scored has him averaging almost a key pass per ninety).

That Jimenez showed increased accuracy with his passes in the final quadrant on the pitch is certainly a good thing. Though he'll occasionally rely on predictable offensive moves (like his back heel layoff to nowhere) he also showed pinpoint accuracy on Sunday finding Gyasi Zardes for a key pass.

Jimenez also played better than average defensively on Sunday, with seven recoveries compared to his season average of 4.2 per ninety. Recoveries and accurate passing in the attacking zone, with a pass that leads to a shot attempt every time out, is exactly what one hopes to get out of a midfielder.

Hopefully this is the beginning of Jimenez becoming an everyday player the Galaxy can count on for a full ninety minutes. He'll have to do it again on the road, against a solid Portland Timbers team, before he's really that guy. However, on Sunday it was great to see that flash of what he can be.

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