Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all time, once said that “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” That saying can also be applied to ineffectiveness of the D.C. United attack we have seen this year.
Ben Olsen’s team has scored just 10 goals this season, with their average of .67 goals per game now, by far, the lowest in MLS. Their 11.07 shots per game is also the fourth-lowest total in MLS.
Of course taking more shots will not necessarily lead to more goals. That's illustrated by the fact that one of the teams below them in the ranking of shots taken is actually the highest-scoring team in MLS (Atlanta United).
Creating a higher number of quality chances, instead, should be DCU's main objective, as their expected goals total of 12.75 is the second-lowest in MLS according to data provided by Opta. This means that on average, based on their quality of chances, they should have scored 12.75 goals. Their total of 10 goals could mean that their finishing has been subpar -- and, possibly, that they've just suffered some bad luck.
Absent of creating higher-quality chances, becoming a more aggressive team in front of the goal could help.
Enter Deshorn Brown.
The former Colorado Rapid was acquired by D.C. on Tuesday from USL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, after the team acquired the No. 1 spot in the Allocation Ranking Order from the Houston Dynamo. The Jamaican forward had success in MLS in 2013-14, scoring 10 goals in each of his first two seasons.
Brown can line up as a striker or on either wing, but with Patrick Mullins nursing an injury and Jose Guillermo Ortiz largely being ineffective, fans should expect to see him as the lone striker in Olsen’s starting XI.
While with the Rapids, Brown averaged 4.4 shots per 90 minutes, which was the third-highest average among all players over those two seasons. His conversion rate of 9.17 percent was slightly below average, but it’s clear he will not be shy when getting into scoring areas.
His speed allows him to get in behind backlines, which could force them to back up, leaving more room for the creative Luciano Acosta. That kind of threat is something that Mullins does not possess, while Ortiz has only been able to show that skill in small moments.
Any kind of boost would be good for a team that is struggling this mightily to score goals. If Brown can be as aggressive as he was three years ago -- and precise in front of the goal -- D.C. United should see some improved results.