Florian Jungferth has established a trusted presence in the San Jose Earthquakes squad over the past four seasons, cementing his hold on center back position in 2020.
Just like the 2019 season, the German’s place was not guaranteed to start the campaign, as Matthias Almeida searched elsewhere to fill the position, in 2020 with newcomer Oswaldo Alaniz alongside returning veterinarian Guram Cacia.
But after playing only 27 minutes off the bench in the first four games of the season, Jungwirth is back, and he has been a key player for the rest of the season.
But his role in defense changed subtly in 2020. Before Alanis arrived, Jungferth was the kind man, the center back who played well with the ball at the back, mostly alongside Kasia. But with Alanís really famous for his passing prowess, Jungwirth became the defender whose job was to put out fires and yes, just to knock the hell out of the ball sometimes to get it out of danger.
Here are Jungwirth’s statistics in 2020:
Florian Jungwirth 2020 Earthquakes Statistics 2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Targets Help with Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards 2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Help with Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards Regular Season 19 18 1 612 0 0 4 1 5 0 MiB Knockouts 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 Qualifiers 1 1120 0 0 1 0 0 0 Total 21 19 1,733 0 0 5 1 5 0
So I think there is a logic to move Jungwirth to the steepest force goal between the two passing defense defenders – each team needs a guy who throws his body on the line, to make the last tackles, and Earthquakes’ gameplay means that they sure will be a jailbreak at times – Of the players on the list, I think he was comfortable in the top two between midfield defenses and therefore deserves his place at the start.
However, when looking at his advanced stats on FBref.com, there is one category in which Jungwirth was truly in the elite in 2020 – pressures. The rest of his defensive stats were average to poor compared to other MLS defenders.
And while I think Jungwirth can still do something and he will definitely be a good depth, it looks like the 32-year-old might be the ideal choice for him to move into that deep place and find the club a promotion going forward. Again, Quakes’ style means that there will definitely be defensive crashes at times, but after they charge a number of goals, the defense upgrade remains a priority, and after getting a new right back, Jungwirth’s place is the best. For the next targeting.
I really think when focusing on his numbers on the field, that we miss some of the intangible things Jungwirth brings to the team. He clearly has a lot of experience, he is a clear leader, his activity and determination are in keeping with the spirit of earthquakes and especially this era. Almeida requires players to practically bleed for the jersey, and Jungwirth adds that stance every time he plays.
So I understood why he continues to be a useful member of the team and I think he can continue that role moving forward. Perhaps he can find a place similar to Shea Salinas, whose role on the field has changed recently but remains a major contributor, albeit in limited minutes. Jungwirth continues to make his way to play time, and you will never bet on doing it again in 2021. But maybe it is time to make him more option to take turns and bring some reinforcements in defense to raise the tide in general. In this concept he still plays his part a lot, while remaining fresh throughout the season. We’ll see how the next season unfolds, for Jungwirth and the Earthquakes in general.
What is your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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