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2017 Player Reviews: Luis Gil

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Did you know Luis Gil played for the Rapids in 2017? It’s true! Perhaps you’d prefer that it had been forgotten.

MLS: D.C. United at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Luis Gil

What Mane Lane said when he was acquired mid-2017:

It’s difficult to know what Gil really is good at because he didn’t arrive in form and never got consistent enough minutes to build any kind of chemistry at game speed with his teammates. He had a few flashes – notably working a give-and-go along the sideline with defender Victor “PC” Giro that set up a game-tying free kick at Seattle. That was probably his finest moment in his brief career with Orlando City. I’d say one of his strengths is getting his shots on target (7/10) and he’s versatile in that he can slot into several different midfield roles, although I have to admit I’m not sure which one best suits him.

2017 Counting Stats:

Rapids: 4 GP, 3 GS, 0 G, 0 A, 256 min, 0 YC

OCSC: 17 GP, 6 GS, 0 G, 0 A, 596 min, 1 YC

Key Stat:

Gil started in 3 matches for the Rapids. They lost all 3 games, scoring 2 goals while conceding 9 goals.

Season Highlight:

None.

Season Lowlights:

#1

...

#2

Season Review:

In Hebrew, there is an aphorism that I’ve always liked: Mishaneh makom, mishaneh mazal. Change of place, change of luck.

When Gil was swapped for Dillon Powers, that was the hope. Powers, who hadn’t clicked for the Rapids as much as had been hoped since his breakout rookie performance, was gathering dust on the bench. Gil was superfluous to Jason Kreis’ plans at Orlando City. Both were a lottery ticket for their acquiring clubs; an audition for both teams to maybe give their new guys a spot on the 2018 roster, since the old guys were most certainly not in the plans.

The hope was that Gil could recreate the earlier promise that he had engendered when he was a hot prospect with Real Salt Lake. In 2013 MLS put him at #2 on their annual ‘24Under24’ list. That year, he also went with the USMNT U-20 team to Turkey, where he started every game and wore the number 10. That was in a group that featured Spain, France, and Ghana, and players like Gerard Delofeu, Paco Alcacer, Kurt Zouma, Samuel Umtiti, Florian Thauvin, and a guy you might of heard of named Paul Pogba. Gil even scored a goal against Spain.

He had 5 goals and 3 assists in 2013, and looked poised for a breakout. It never came. In 2014 and 2015 for RSL, Gil regressed into being a below-average midfield cog. Then he was sent in 2016 to Queretaro in Liga MX, where he mostly sat on the bench. He returned to MLS with Orlando City, and didn’t do much. And then in mid-August, he joined the Colorado Rapids.

Offensively, Gil was a little disappointing for the Rapids. Playing in a 4-3-3 in each of his matches, Gil linked up passes in the midfield and had a very good 86.4% passing percentage in his 4 matches for Colorado. Below are his passing maps in his starts; they’re all pretty good in the middle third, but don’t have much impact in the final third. That’s not great, but it isn’t terrible either.

Timbers (2) vs Rapids (1)

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RSL (4) vs Rapids (1)

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LA Galaxy (3) vs Rapids (0)

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He also took a lot of shots from beyond 30 yards; five to be exact. He gave some teeth to the offensive. But also, he didn’t score.

Defensively, it’s another story. If he had been told to go and attack attack attack! by Steve Cooke, then I supposed he can’t entirely be blamed. But Gil was a total non-factor defensively in the center of the pitch; he didn’t close down passes, didn’t halt dribbles, didn’t run hard to close down angles, or chase the ball on a break. In each of Gil’s starts, the Rapids fell behind early and never recovered, so his weakness on defense was quite significant.

You can see in the season lowlights that he’s just kind of switched off when he defends around the box, and that more or less mirrors what you see from him in the middle third of the pitch, too - he’s jogging into place and closing down some of the time, and some of the time, it looks like he’s planning for where he should be when the Rapids (but not him) take the ball back.

In lowlight #1, he completely loses Diego Valeri at the back post to give Portland their first goal in the game August 23rd. And in lowlight #2, he’s kind of marking empty space when LA takes a short corner to Roman Alessandrini; then he doesn’t step to seal off or pressure the ball, nor does he close down the angle on a possible pass to Bradford Jamieson IV. He’s not at fault in that goal; maybe he was assigned to mark zonally or catch a long rebound for a counter-attack; but he’s also not really showing much effort either. Imagining Sam Cronin or Michael Bradley in the exact same situation, I don’t believe they’d be standing in that spot, watching the ball.

Gil’s career with the Rapids ends before it ever really got started. In five years some Rapids super-nerd will mention his name and you’ll go to Wikipedia and go ‘oh yeah! he DID play for us, huh?’ And that’s just fine, because he didn’t really show us much while he was here. Where he goes after flaming out in his shot with 2017 Western Conference whipping-boy Colorado is anybody’s guess. I doubt another MLS team will give him a shot, so a trip to a second division club somewhere; ANYwhere; in an attempt to play over 2000 minutes and reclaim his earlier promise, would make sense. Gil’s gonna go through a ‘change of place’ for the fourth time in just the last 26 months (Real Salt Lake, Queretaro, Orlando City, Colorado). It feels like his luck, though, isn’t changing with the moves.

Abbie’s 2017 Grade: (Abbie is away on vacation)

Rabbi’s 2017 Grade: D-