It’s official: Chaos LC has dealt Myles Jones to Redwoods LC in exchange for Sergio Salcido and a second round pick. The offseason’s first blockbuster trade leaves us with a lot to unpack. The initial reaction is that the Redwoods “won” the trade. Both teams – and both players – can be winners here.
Chaos LC needed to shake up its six-on-six offense. They scored on 16.3% of their settled possessions during their last four games. The Myles Jones-Connor Fields dichotomy seesawed throughout the summer. Sometimes it was Jones’ offense; other times it was Fields’. It never truly felt like both players were clicking simultaneously.
Salcido gets the ball out of his stick a tick quicker. He splits, and sometimes rolls back. One or two moves. That’s it. Jones’ physical draw-and-dump game needs some time to develop. Salcido’s at his best when he creates separation. If he gets enough to bring his stick back to the middle, pray for the goalie.
Too many of Salcido’s shots are from poor angles down the alley. More than half (53.5%) of his shots were with his stick to the outside. That’s the highest mark in PLL by a longshot; league average is 16.4%. Improving his off-ball game can help bring that number down.Even though Salcido attempted fewer assisted shots than Jones in 2019, there’s hope that he can cut behind Fields’ postups. Offenses in this league need six players working together at once – not taking turns and alternating possessions.
Another key to remember: Chaos was arguably hit hardest by the expansion draft. A 2-for-1 deal almost always favors the team that receives the better player. But in the wake of losing Brodie Merrill, Kyle McClancy, and Charlie Cipriano, head coach Andy Towers’ team could use an extra asset.
That 13thoverall pick will likely produce an All-Star. This draft class goes 13 deep easily. In no particular order: Michael Sowers, Grant Ament, Jeff Teat, Mac O’Keefe, TD Ierlan, Dox Aitken, JT Giles-Harris, Jared Bernhardt, Michael Kraus, Tre Leclaire, Bryan Costabile, Jared Conners, Ryan Terefenko. Chaos now owns three picks in the top 13. Coach Towers can afford to take a swing on a player bound for a fifth-year of football (Aitken, Giles-Harris, Bernhardt).
The Woods’ offensive environment is perfect for Jones’ game. Off-ball, he can pop from the inside, catch throwbacks, and attack advantageous approaches. It’s easier than cutting or floating as Fields dodges against defenses with zero intention of sending a double team.
On-ball, Jones will open up shots for everyone else. He averaged 2.3 assist opportunities per game – very solid for a midfielder. Lefties feast on passes from Jones. During his pro career, lefties have shot 40.0% when Jones feeds them in a settled set. Good luck trying to defend a Joe Walters-Matt Kavanagh mumbo while Jones initiates from up top.
Any pass in front of his face is fair game. Most players would hit this mirror (Eric Scott, #4) after drawing a slide. That won’t create a shot against a pro defense. The pass Jones makes – one step further down the chain to Jake Froccaro (#54) – is money. Imagine this same set with Sergio Perkovic perched top center. Sheesh.
Those skips to lefties have always been in Jones’ arsenal. He is getting better at cross-body pull passes, especially quick throwbacks that keep the offense humming – looks the ‘Woods love. Walters, Brent Adams, Kyle Harrison, and Perkovic can make plays if Jones draws a double and hits them quickly. Harrison, Walters, and Heningburg connected on a bunch of tic tac toe patterns like this one.
The Redwoods could afford to package a player and a pick. Head coach Nat St. Laurent’s team escaped expansion relatively unscathed. They probably couldn’t have found space on the 18-man roster for Salcido and whoever goes 13th overall. Both sides took a small gamble. The ‘Woods gave up a hair of their two-way versatility to add one of the world’s best passing midfielders. Chaos gave up a passer in hopes that its six-on-six offense can become greater than the sum of its parts with Salcido (and a rookie!) in the mix. Both bets could hit this summer.