Did you know he played for Real Madrid? A note every broadcast he’s played in is sure to tell you. Despite the accolade, David Mateos had just an OK 2016 season.
The Spaniard, who didn’t start the first seven games due to a preseason injury, eventually made his way to the starting position. Under Jason Kreis, he has started more than not and, at one point, we thought he could be an answer for Orlando’s back line woes.
Mateos’ season in terms of appearances was solid, playing in 21 matches, all but one of which he started in. He had no goals or assists in his 1,759 minutes played for 2016.
He was a bit foul prone, however. He finished with eight yellows, one red card and a pretty high fouls-per-game average of 1.2, according to whoscored.com. His interceptions, on the flip side, were very good with an average 2.9 a game. Clearances were another strength, with 3.5 — the third best on the team.
But Mateos’ biggest strength was without question his passing. He was successful on 83.9% of his passes, which was second best among defenders, behind only Tommy Redding(!), who was second overall. Passing out of the back is not an easy skill but Mateos showed he is fully capable of doing so.
As a center back, Mateos’ play is tied to his partner in most cases, so picking a best personal game was an interesting challenge. I believe his best game was against New York City FC on Aug. 28. The Lions won the game 2-1 at Camping World Stadium and Mateos picked up a 7 rating from our match grades. He made three interceptions, blocked a shot and tied with Boden for most touches that night.
Here’s what our match recapper Michael Citro had to say:
I thought this was a strong game from the Spaniard, like his game at Colorado. Defensively, he finished with one tackle, three interceptions, a clearance, and a blocked shot, but he did commit three fouls. He broke up a developing two-on-one break in the box in the 78th minute to preserve Orlando’s lead. Offensively, he completed 92.1% of his passes and nine of his 12 long balls were accurate. He even made a heads-up play to get forward to create a three-on-two counter attack off a set piece, although it eventually broke down. He tied Boden for the team’s most touches on the night (67), and rarely put a foot wrong.
2016 Final Grade
The staff of The Mane Land has given David Mateos a composite final grade of 5 for this year. He had some good games, but he did struggle with injuries at times and was part of a defense that shipped far too many goals. He will be 30 next season so pace might be an issue for Mateos, especially in a rapidly increasing talent pool in the MLS.
I see David Mateos staying around as a depth player. If Jason Kreis does as much revamping as it looks like he will, a solid backup like Mateos could be a difference maker over the course of a season . What’s most likely to happen is Kreis brings in a new starting center back or gives Tommy Redding a look in the beginning of the season. Redding, for his part, was solid when he played could easily be given an opportunity. What’s certain is it looks like Mateos’ minutes and appearances would dwindle which could mean he might look elsewhere, possibly back to Spain. There is a roster spot for him if he is willing to take less money (current base is $420,000), and sit behind and mentor the new and younger players.