Let's talk about Philadelphia.
And, no, not this guy.
During the last few weeks, Herbers has locked up a starting spot on the right side of the Union's 4-2-3-1, playing at least the first hour of Philly's last six games. And he's used the time to rampage up and down that flank, notably logging an assist in each of his last three.
That brings him up to seven on the season, most recently this nifty little slip to help open Alejandro Bedoya's MLS account. As Matt Doyle noted in brief (No. 7 here), that's the highest total any rookie's put up in six years – and there are three more to play.
Rookie record for assists is in sight - possibly - for Herbers pic.twitter.com/AMkv58zpJ6— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) September 26, 2016
Herbers has managed that in just 1,053 minutes, a 0.60 per-90 mark that's not quite Khiry Shelton's league-leading 0.81, but good for fourth among players to log 1,000 minutes this season. (Nicolas Lodeiro is at a silly 0.89 in 810; Steven Gerrard (0.70) and Sacha Kljestan (0.61) round out the top three.) Also impressive considering the 2002 rule change that cut down second assists – Mathis set the record before the chop.
The Union's brain trust of Earnie Stewart and Jim Curtin did a little manuevering at this year's SuperDraft to ensure they not only got their men, but left Herbers with something to prove:
"We were able to pull the trigger and get a guy that we valued very highly," Curtin said at the SuperDraft. "We’re happy to have him on board. He has a good work ethic and he’s a kid who has a goal-scorer’s mentality, so he’ll have a little chip on his shoulder maybe from slipping to six.”
That's a fantastic bit of front-office gamesmanship, one the Union faithful are sure to appreciate more every match.
Here's a look at MLSsoccer.com’s top five rookies of 2016 through Week 29, as voted by … me, following the weekend action: