Statistics show Trapp will be tough to replace

Crew midfielder to miss Wednesday’s match against Houston due to red-card suspension

Wil Trapp

Photo Credit: 
Nate Smallwood

Following Sunday’s match against Sporting Kansas City, Columbus Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter summed up his feelings about midfielder Wil Trapp succinctly.

“I don't think there's a like-for-like replacement in the whole league for Wil Trapp,” said the Crew boss.

Consensus opinion has lauded Trapp’s influence in the midfield, allowing fullbacks Waylon Francis and Josh Williams to pressure up the flanks. But what do the numbers say?

As you might expect, Opta metrics equally praise Trapp’s presence and dynamics as a holding midfielder. Pick any statistic describing what a reliable, complete midfielder does, and Trapp ranks near the top of the league.

Few MLS players are as involved as Trapp on a minute-by-minute basis. He is one of just five players with more than 700 total touches (his 703 ranks fifth in MLS; Vincent Nogueira’s 799 leads the pack). His 593 total passes ranks fourth among all MLS players and his 518 successful passes rank just one behind Philadelphia’s Nogueira for the league lead.

Those totals make for an 87.35% passing accuracy rate, which ranks fourth among all players with at least 600 minutes played, regardless of position. Teammate Michael Parkhurst is second in this regard, illustrating how strong the pair has been in the middle of the pitch for Columbus.

What makes Trapp even more valuable is how balanced his contributions are. In attack, among all midfielders, Trapp is tied for eighth in chances created from open play, and ranks 14th in final third passes. On defense, also among all midfielders, Trapp ranks sixth in tackles and is tied for eighth in interceptions.

Trapp’s heatmap from Sunday is representative of these contributions. Consistently active in defensive midfield, but able to get forward when needed, Trapp is a force from box-to-box for the Crew. 

The bottom line: it’s difficult to find a player in MLS as involved as the Gahanna native.

Perhaps the most impressive element of these numbers shines through when comparing Trapp to his company. Some names consistently appearing in the same rarified air alongside the Columbus midfielder in the categories above are recognizable: Nogueira, Dax McCarty, Kyle Beckerman, and Osvaldo Alonso, to name a few. The combined average age of those four players? 28 years old. Trapp, of course, is just 21, suggesting he can only continue to develop and get better.

That’s a scary thought for Crew opponents over the next few seasons. In the interim, it makes for a difficult choice on how to replace him Wednesday against Houston.

All statistics and images courtesy of Opta Sportsdata.