Now that the 2019 season has ended, I am going to review the players that played a major role in Luchi’s first season as head coach. The player we are reviewing today is Dominique Badji.
Dominique Badji was born in Dakar Senegal, on October 16th, 1992. He moved to the United States as a teenager, and when to Boston University for college. After playing in the 2015 MLS Combine, he was selected by Colorado as their 67th overall pick in the 4th round of the SuperDraft. Originally on the outside looking in, Badji was signed by the Colorado Rapids after an impressive preseason. He scored his first goal against (ironically) FC Dallas on April 10th of that year and went on to score 24 goals in 98 appearances for the club.
Badji came to Frisco via a trade between Colorado and FC Dallas that occurred on July 23, 2018.
Dominique Badji has been utilized by Luchi in two different positions on the field during this season. For major sections of the year, Badji played as the striker, playing through the center backs. When he played up top, Badji dropped deeper than the other players that have played striker this year, which includes Zdenek Ondrasek, Ricardo Pepi, Jesus Ferreira, and Michael Barrios. He pulled away from the center backs and tried to play the ball with the other players in the midfield.
However, he was never truly successful playing as a striker in Luchi’s system, which was irritating as fans because he had played the position well in Colorado. Badji was never able to win duels in the box to create opportunities, and his positioning clogged up the midfield countless times. His inconsistent ability to control the ball and beat defenders ruined many goalscoring opportunities during the season. The only time he scored while playing striker this year was against Sporting Kansas City, a goal that came from a bad giveaway in the defense.
As his form up top began to decline, Badji was pushed out wide more. He began playing on the opposite side of Barrios as the left-winger. Performances by the team improved because Badji began to have less of a crucial role in the squad. The attack mostly flowed through the right side of the field, but whenever the attack went through the left side of the field, the speed of Hollingshead and the skill of Pomykal allowed for Badji to have less of a role in developing the attack. Plus, he scored more goals in this position, as he would give the club more numbers in the box when it came to crosses.
Our very own Sam Nabors wrote an article two months ago about Badji and the roles he’s had to play for the squad in 2019.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 23, 2019
This is what I alluded to before when I mentioned Badji’s diminished role in the attack. The attack went through the right side, which allowed Badji to give the team more number in the attack. This is how the majority of goals were scored in the summer, and Badji’s role in this tactic was important.
That was Badji’s second goal of the game.
Badji’s games when playing up top were generally very poor. There isn’t really a specific bad moment, just a couple matches where he was invisible, barely having anything to contribute in the attack.
Season Grade: C+
Badji’s season can be described as a disappointment.
My first #Baerantee of 2019: Dom Badji will score 14+ regular-season goals provided he stays healthy and plays 2000+ minutes.
— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) February 16, 2019
He ended up playing 2040 minutes in 2019 but was only able to score six times this year.
Badji had so much upside going into the season, as it seemed that his role in Luchi’s system will allow him to get into goalscoring areas, which would have made his job simpler than it was during Pareja’s tenure. Badji, however, was never able to truly become a threat as a striker. Even when he played out wide, his influence in the attack was limited. Even though his option was picked up today, it will be truly surprising if Badji is in Luchi’s plans for next year.
With the season over, I will be reviewing the performances of players that have had a massive role in Luchi’s inaugural campaign. Who do you want to see next? Let me know in the comments!
Featured Image: MLSsoccer.com