After playing just three games with Minnesota United this year, Mohammed Saeid found himself coming to Colorado with teammate Josh Gatt in exchange for Rapids veterans Marc Burch and Sam Cronin. Two weeks later on April 15th, Saeid made his Colorado Rapids debut vs. Real Salt Lake, subbing in for the injured Bismark Adjei-Boateng. While he hasn’t notched any goals in his 28 MLS appearances, Rapids Sporting Director Pádraig Smith believes that the 26-year-old could be a midfielder diamond in the rough. With an average passing accuracy of 90% and 1.64 chances created per 90 minutes in 2016, “his ability to find passes between the lines and move the team forward are key qualities we want in our club,” Smith said.
For comparison, Sam Cronin had a passing accuracy of 82% and .95 chances created per 90 minutes last year. Saeid had slightly more forward passes (34.21 vs. 32.58) but also more backward passes (19.85 vs. 16.13) per 90 minutes as well.
I talked with Patrick Murphy of Massive Report (the SB Nation Columbus Crew SC website) about what we can expect from Saeid, and he told me “you're getting a rather versatile midfielder. While in Columbus, he filled both the No. 6 and No. 8 spots in the center of the field solidly. He also can play the No. 10, which is really his preferred position, although he didn't get a lot of opportunity at that role for Crew SC. It looked like he was even playing wide at times this year with Minnesota, which is something we never saw but not surprising.”
“He's a player who's rather good in possession,” Murphy continued. “He likes to play the ball and can pick out a pass accurately. Despite his size (not a big player), he's able to ride tackles and wasn't hurt often over his two years here.” Murphy was surprised that Minnesota let go of Saeid.
Since we found out that Nana will be out for 8-10 weeks, there’s been some talk about who will fill that spot for the next couple months. Will it be Saeid or will it be Dillon Powers, who has been used as somewhat of a utility player for the Rapids? In the official team announcement about Nana, Smith didn’t give us much of a clue, saying that “while this is a blow to the team, it highlights the need for roster depth. And we have two top level players in (Mohammad) Saeid and (Dillon) Powers, who can both slot in and play the #8 role while Nana recuperates.”
While Saeid isn’t sure if he will be starting or not, adjusting to the altitude has been a little rough. “It takes time, I think, with the altitude. Every day it feels better,” he said. But since Minnesota is obviously not at altitude, perhaps Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni will give him a chance to show off for his former team.
I asked Saeid about his preference of playing position on the field and he feels like “midfield is really all the same. You move around in the middle, just seeing where the space is, and really it’s just a number. You’ve just got to do what’s best for the team and go where the team needs you. You play as good as you can.”
Saeid feels like he can be a difference maker for the team, and speaks to why Smith brought him to Colorado in the first place. When he sets foot on the field, his goal is “trying to get the ball forward as quickly as possible and trying to dictate the tempo. We have good midfielders and good strikers, so we’ve just got to feed the ball to them and hopefully they score.”
UPDATE: Minnesota’s Star Tribune came out with a really wonderful article about Mo and his journey to MLS. Check it out here.