Homegrown midfielder/forward Tommy Thompson was subbed off at halftime in favor of Jahmir Hyka in last Saturday’s game. Dom Kinnear is not only reluctant to board the Tommy Hype Train, he appears convinced the Hype Train is doomed to derail once it leaves the station.
Tommy’s preseason was a glimpse at his potential as he was one of the few players to impact the score sheet against Reno and helped dominate Sacramento Republic FC to the tune of 4-1. He was also one of the few players to play the full 90 for both matches.
During the season opener, Tommy continued to shine. Four shots, two on target, three key passes (two of which were missed by Wondo), three dribbles, 74% passing, two turnovers. His reward? He was subbed off at 68′. Dawkins? Zero shots, one key pass, three turnovers.
Game Two: Tommy earned his second start, and definitely had some room for improvement. Zero shots, one key pass, three crosses, one turnover. But his corners are finding their marks, and he’s actually playing both sides of the field.
Dawkins? Two shots (none on frame), three key passes, three crosses, and seven turnovers over the full 90. Statistically, Tommy has been outperforming Dawkins, yet Simon still gets the minutes. Why?
It’s not because Dawkins is a DP. Former DP Matias Perez Garcia was a statistical beast during his minutes last season, yet found himself off the starting XI and traded mid-season while Dawkins and Quintero helped lead the Quakes to the team’s worst offensive season ever. If anything, it’s a sign that Kinnear either doesn’t trust Tommy, or actually thinks Simon is a better player.
Yes, Tommy has yet impact the score sheet during his MLS career while it took Nick Lima less than two games to score. And Dawkins does have his flashes of brilliance. But is it worth benching a high energy player like Tommy while hoping Dawkins has his once-in-eight-games quality start? If anything, Tommy is showing that the floodgates are poised to open, yet Dom has him on a short leash.
Personally, I’d love to see Tommy and Hyka playing the wings. They both have great energy, are trustworthy on the ball, and can generate scoring chances. Both are unafraid to track back when needed while Dawkins has one tackle and zero interceptions all season. This is why Dawkins remains largely invisible in games, unless he’s on the ground looking for the ref after his latest dispossession.
Dawkins is too complacent, and the stats prove it. Furthermore, Dom’s coddling of him over Tommy is not going to help Simon want to improve his performances if he’s still finding himself in the starting XI.
It also probably does little to help Tommy’s confidence, especially finding himself on the bench after a bad half. What more can the guy do to prove himself, only to see a statistical nightmare keep getting minutes on the left-wing?
If you ask me, it’s Tommy’s time to shine, and time to let Dawkins do his spectating from the bench.