Darlington Nagbe may have finally arrived / by Harrison Crow

A few days ago, Matt Doyle (aka the Armchair Analyst) called our attention once again to the amazing things that Darlington Nagbe does with a soccer ball.

Nagbe has the ability to do the sorts of things that great players often do. Those miraculous moments that freeze time and leave you wonder struck. Last year it seemed like there were fewer of those moments than in years past. But as Doyle pointed, though it's early, Nagbe looks to be headed in the right direction. 

Average Timber player Usage Rate 2013-2015 was roughly nine percent

Average Timber player Usage Rate 2013-2015 was roughly nine percent

By raw usage, he looks the same as always (about 10.5%). Usage is measured in touches divided by team touches. But as a proportion, his touches have led to either him taking more shots or his teammates taking more shots. So while he's touching the ball about as much, his touches are more dangerous.

Looking at the shots he creates per pass, we really see the meat and potatoes of Nagbe's growth and influence. In 2014, his shots created (shots + key passes) represented just 2.4 percent of his total passes. Now, we're seeing that ratio up closer to eight percent. This is pretty significant if you look at the the company he's enters. He is contributing to the attack thus far in 2015 at a Graham Zusi/Federico Higuian level, rather than hanging around in Harry Shipp/Dillon Powers.

This isn't to say that Shipp or Powers aren't good players. They are, and the majority of MLS teams would been keen to get their hands on either of them, but they aren't great, game-changing talents. This feels like the first time Nagbe's numbers actually corroborate the skill that he shows on a weekly basis out on the pitch. With all the requisite warnings about sample size, it might just be that Nagbe is finally entering into that next tier of player, a moment that has been much anticpated by many Timbers fans and pundits a like.