In the concrete jungle, a legend grows.
"You're in Poku's presence! I was saying to a mate, I want to get his shirt and get it signed for my office," writer and pundit Kris Heneage told me upon hearing that, during one of the many pre-Hudson Derby events last week, I got close enough to Kwadwo Poku to feel the young man's aura.
Heneage, an O.G. at the Guardian, FourFourTwo, CNN, the BBC, and others, has been one of the earliest, most visible proponents of Poku, a true blue fan favorite (and balls-to-the-wall gamebreaker) in the brief history of New York City FC. The repeated comparisons to Ivorian megastar Yaya Toure have phased from possible hyperbole to reasonable inference over the last few weeks following Poku's goal and assist off the bench against Montreal and his nifty brace -- the first in New York City's history across all competitions -- four days later against the New York Cosmos in the U.S. Open Cup.
When it comes to Poku, the eye don't lie-- his strength on the ball and ability to win possession from opponents are easy enough to see, and his opportunistic finishing comes with a bit of tantalizing flair. But I was determined to see if the stats could do anything to enhance the picture.
Here's what we found:
- At 3.6, Poku leads New York City in key passes -- passes that lead to a shot on target -- per ninety minutes. Mehdi Ballouchy comes in a distant second at 2.4 per ninety.
- At 1.6, Poku is second behind David Villa (2.4) in shots on-target per ninety minutes.
- Poku leads the team in successful dribbles (that is, dribbles that maintain possession) per ninety minutes with 4.9. Khiry Shelton is a distant second with 1.9.