Before the start of the season, I sketched out the best- and worst-case scenarios for every New York City FC player in 2017. Some of my best-cases were pretty rosy. I’ll admit that straight away. For instance, here’s what I wrote about one Maxime Chanot:
Definitively becomes New York City’s best center back, and shines on the right side of a back three; makes MLS Best XI.
While the league’s annual Best XI tends to showcase center-halves and generally not acknowledge the existence of the fullback position (pre-emptive apologies to Joevin Jones), Chanot is pretty likely to find himself on the outside looking in when MLS honors are handed down at the end of the year. Dallas has two top-class center backs by itself. You are required now to know who Florian Jungwirth is. Ike Opara is beginning to get the love he deserves.
But I am here to tell you, with full confidence, that Maxime Chanot is actually better than every one of these guys.
In fact, I’m here to tell you that Maxime Chanot is better than Seattle star man Nicolas Lodeiro.
No, this is not simply bluster. I’ve got the numbers to prove it beyond all doubt— numbers endorsed and paraded about by Major League Soccer itself.
Welcome to the Audi Player Index, a real-time metric for player performance. The system tracks 88 different player actions, taking into account playing position, location on the field, and influence on match results. Every player has a running offensive and defensive score that is combined into an overall total.
TL;DR: It’s a stat. The higher your score, the better. And across MLS, David Villa’s score of 614 is ranked #1 by a noticeable margin.
Sounds legit, right? I’m glad we have that squared away, because we need to run down the list and see who’s nipping at el Guaje’s heels.
2. Justin Meram (561)
Makes sense. Meram has been absolutely killing it for Columbus this year.
3. Osvaldo Alonso (538)
A statistical metric that gives a criminally underrated defensive midfielder his due? We’re all for it. Ozzie’s the best kind of menace.
4. Maxime Chanot (533)
Yes, the Audi Player Index, which knows that Villa is the best but also doesn’t just favor guys who score goals, currently ranks Maxime Chanot the fourth-best player in MLS.
We didn’t think he was, but we’re entirely convinced now.
This means that Lee Nguyen, Romain Alessandrini, Miguel Almiron, Nemanja Nikolic, Nico Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, and Gio dos Santos are all currently f—ing stuck trying to figure out how to be better at soccer than Chanot.
Key word: trying.
Nearly halfway through the 2017 season, they haven’t figured out a way.