Ten Keys To The Season - No. 2: Center Forwards

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Edson Buddle and DeShorn Brown will likely be doing most of the heavy lifting at center forward this season. Can they out-do the mediocrity that came from Omar Cummings and Conor Casey in that spot last year?

Omar Cummings played probably 1000 minutes as a target forward in 2012.

Let's let that sink in for a minute. Omar Cummings played probably 1000 minutes as a target forward in 2012. That's not good. That's the exact opposite of good. That's horrendous.

Conor Casey also played a good chunk of minutes at target forward, which is a much better thing than Omar Cummings playing 1000 minutes there. Unfortunately, he was still being hampered by injury all season long and only managed to sneak two goals out of the deal.

Neither of them is with the team this year, and we've got a new set of two guys who will likely be taking over the center forward position: DeShorn Brown and Edson Buddle. Both of those guys have the skills to pay the bills, though Edson is going to be questionable because of injury problems and his age, while DeShorn still is getting his feet wet in the league. The third option, Andre Akpan, is promising, but still hasn't proven himself to be consistent enough to get regular starts. (Of course, he's going to have to step up the game this year.)

If that sounds like a bit of a shaky premise, it's because it probably is. In total, the guys who were playing center forward last year picked up something on the order of eight goals total, taking into account that most of the times that Cummings scored, he had been moved to the outside. Goals don't necessarily need to flow from the center forward in a 4-3-3 with so much speed and technical ability on the outside strikers, but they're gonna need to do better than just under one goal every four games.

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