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2017 Player Review: Stefan Aigner

The new German import impressed after his end of the season addition. The real test is next year.

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John Babiak, @Photog_JohnB

Stefan Aigner

What German tabloid said when he was acquired in July, 2017 (translated by Google):

Future clarified?

After Lions relegation: Aigner will probably move into the MLS

As late as June, "Aiges" had commented on his personal situation in the tz interview. Accordingly, there were considerations after the Lions descent, sixty also in the third league to keep faith. "That was a consideration, yes. I've already gone through this with the family. But regional league ... I'm 29, sport is my profession. I do not want to make myself smaller than I am and play at the highest possible level. "

On speculation, according to which the FC Augsburg had expressed interest in Aigner, Aigner did not want to go back then: "I can only say that I have personally spoken with any club."

Nevertheless, he announced that he would be interested in "Bundesliga or a good club abroad". Now apparently the Rapids from Colorado won the contract.

Aigner moved in the summer of 2016 for three million euros of Eintracht Frankfurt to the Lions. In the sixty jersey, he then came in a total of 28 games to four goals and three goals.

2017 Counting Stats:

9 GP, 5 GS, 2 G, 1 A, 488 min, 2 YC

Key Stats:

2014-15 w/Eintract Frankfurt: 9 goals, 0 assists, 2097 min

2015-16 w/Eintract Frankfurt: 3 goals, 3 assists, 2405 min

2016-17 w/1860 Munich: 3 goals, 1 assist, 1616 min

2017 w/Colorado Rapids: 2 goals, 1 assist, 489 min

Season Highlight:

Assist after subbing on in the 66th minute against Houston on August 9. This was Aigner’s second appearance as a Rapid, and his goal in stoppage time would be the game winner.

I want to make note of two things on this play, one obvious, one not. The obvious thing is how Aigner makes a read of Badji going back post, and then curls a perrrrrrrrfect ball to exactly the right spot to beat DaMarcus Beasley. Beasley is guarding Badji properly, breaks when he should, and STILL can’t stop this ball. Amazing.

The not-obvious thing is how this play starts. Aigner’s momentum is carrying him on a run into the box, and that’s how right back AJ De La Garza is playing him. Marlon Hairston plays a sharp ball to Aigner. Stefan can choose to open up to the ball and let it run past, but instead stops it hard, and cuts backwards a half step to create the space to make a pass. With the half-second he has, he picks up his head and sees Badji. All of this is simple, but also really intelligent, and the kind of thing that basically nobody playing on the wing for the Rapids has done since Vicente Sanchez.

Season Lowlight:

Probably meeting me.

Season Review:

When a team is bad and they suddenly add a new player, there is a tendency to heap the entire hopes of the fanbase upon his shoulders. I remember we thought that Zat Knight would steady the backline in 2014. There were high hopes for Juan Ramirez and Lucas Pittinari and Luis Solignac in 2015. Those players fell somewhere between “disappointing” and “holy hell is that guy bad.”

By the time Aigner joined the Rapids, hope had been pretty much destroyed for the 2017 season. Colorado had a 6-4-15 record (WTL) and was dead last in MLS. His addition was most certainly a move for 2018.

As a pickup from Bundesliga 2 team 1860 Munich, which was in total freefall at the end of May, Aigner was a good get. And the team was better with him: the Rapids record after he joined was a pretty decent 3-2-4.

But also, as a 30-year-old wide-midfielder with only a moderate record of success (6 goals, 4 assists in 4000+ minutes of play from 2016-2017), Aigner likely isn’t the solution to all of the Rapids problems going into 2018. He played mostly as the creative central midfielder for Colorado, and he might do that again next season. But the team also has a new coach that might play a new formation and will also bring on a host of new players. It’s anyone’s guess what position or role Aigner will play next season. He might spark a renaissance for the Rapids, simultaneously having a renaissance himself back to his exceptional 2014-2015 form with Eintracht Frankfurt in which he scored 9 goals.

In his nine games for Colorado in 2017, Aigner was clean and deliberate, and was a huge improvement to the offense’s creative capabilities. (I have some concerns about him as a front-to-back defender, but I’m willing to accept that the Rapids coaching change and the small sample size renders this concern fairly uninformed at this early stage.)

And I’m excited for what Aigner can do in 2018. But I’m not anointing him savior. I’ve been burned too many times by that before.

Abbie’s 2017 Grade: B+

Rabbi’s 2017 Grade: B+