Every summer blockbuster has a sequel these days, some better than others. Brad Davis’ follow-up to last season’s career year is on pace to be just as good as, if not better than, the original.
Davis’ memorable 2011 campaign saw him lead MLS in assists with 16, finish runner-up in the MVP race to former teammate Dwayne De Rosario and earn an ESPY nomination for Best MLS Player. He had career highs in assists, games played and minutes as he led the Dynamo deep into the playoffs before suffering a quad injury in the Eastern Conference final.
Skip ahead to this season, where the talismanic left-footer just notched his 10th assist of the year to tie him for the league lead and give him his fourth straight season with double digit assists. Last year’s performance was good enough for plenty of accolades come award season, and if the early numbers from this year are any indicator, there should be more on the way.
Comparing the numbers between last year and this year at the same juncture provides some striking similarities. On July 30, 2011, Davis provided his 10th assist of the year, a secondary assist on Brian Ching’s first goal against the Seattle Sounders. It was Houston’s and Davis’ 22nd game of the year. This past Saturday, July 28, Davis slid a ball to Ching in the box to cap the Dynamo’s victory over Toronto FC. Again, the tenth assist came in the Dynamo’s 22nd game, although it was Davis’ 20th.
The breakdown of Davis’ first ten assists in both years only continues the similarities. In 2011, the St. Louis native had seven primary assists and three secondary assists. Of his primary assists, four came from open play and three were off of his trademark set pieces. His 2012 totals include eight primary assists and two secondary assists, with four of the primary assists coming from open play and four from set plays.
If Davis continues his current rate of an assist every other game, then he would match his 2011 assist output in the twelve regular season matches left to play. But with his current form, there’s reason to believe that pace could pick up even more.
In the Dynamo’s switch from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-3-3, Davis has moved from his usual outside left midfield spot to a more central, attacking position. The move has resulted in increased statistical production from Davis that looks to continue.
Davis has tallied six of his ten assists this year in the seven games played from his new spot. Each of those have come during his current streak of four games with an assist, including two in both of the last two games.
In addition to serving balls for others to put in the net, Davis has helped himself in the goals column. He has already surpassed his total from last year, in which he scored four goals (three of which came from the penalty spot). With five goals this year, he is on his way to breaking his career record of six, set back in 2003 with Dallas.
Davis’ success hasn’t come in a vacuum, as his run of form has coincided with Houston’s climb into second place in the Eastern Conference table. If both of these trends continue, it could mean more accolades on the way for both player and club.