Hello! Welcome to Boston Sports Nation’s Revolution coverage!!
With this being my first article for the site, I wanted to address one of the most divisive questions among Revolution fans. A question that has far reaching implications for the team’s future successes or failures. A question that keeps the entire fanbase up at night!
Is Adam Buksa, like, good or…or kind of good? Does he suck??
Ok so I was kidding about it keeping fans awake at night, but with today being his birthday I thought we could take a look at why people have a love hate relationship with Adam Buksa.
#9 – Forward – Adam Buksa turns 25!!
— Revolution Nation (@RevsNationBOS) July 12, 2021
I’ll start here by saying Adam Buksa is a professional athlete. He doesn’t suck at soccer. Though, listening to some Revs fans, you might come away with that impresssion.
If you’ve spent any time on “Revs-internet”, you’ve probably seen tweets or comments bemoaning the Polish striker’s missed opportunities in front of goal. Comments during the call-in post game radio broadcast indicate the same. Twice now, the designated player has been kept out of the starting-eleven for significant stretches, with Bruce Arena preferring other options to start games. The frustration among some fans is real and palpable. And Buksa shares this frustration… or rather he doesn’t and he wishes you would stop asking!
It should be noted that, Buksa has his proponents as well. At the time of writing, Adam Buksa is currently sitting on 5 goals this season, behind only Gustavo Bou’s 6 for New England. He’s tied for 4th in the league in goals scored. He has a pair of game winners in his pocket already this year. This all looks good on a striker’s resume.
So… is Adam Buksa good? Is he bad? Why is this question so difficult to answer? Why is there such a divide amongst the fanbase?
There’s a big difference between the stats and the eye-test for Adam Buksa.
To help illustrate this point let’s use highlights of Buksa’s performance at FC Cincinnati back in May as a visual aid.
The stats love Adam Buksa
I’ve already mentioned that he’s 2nd on the Revolution and tied for 4th in the league for goals scored. He’s 4th in MLS in shots taken and 6th in shots on target. The 6′ 4″ striker is also 3rd among forwards this season on percentage of headers won. What’s more, among players who have played a minimum of 450 minutes (5 games), he leads the league in expected goals per game (according to American Soccer Analysis). Taken together, this shows that Buksa is strong in the air and often finds himself in excellent positions to score.
This was certainly the case in Cincinnati where he headed home the winning goal from close range off of a set piece. He loses his man, adjusts to the ball and uses his head to guide the ball into the net.
The “eye test” often does not favor Buksa
If you watched the full highlights above, you may have noticed something. Buksa missed the goal… kind of a lot. Often times from good spots. In fairness, this game is a bit of an outlier, in that the Revs took a whopping 26 shots. Buksa alone was responsible for 7 of those. The goal I showed earlier would end up as his only shot on target.
That, perhaps, is where Revolution fans are justified in their frustrations with the 25 year old forward. While his 34.1% on-target shot percentage is roughly in line with many other strikers (Ruidiaz 37.3%, Pulido 24.4%), fans will still feel he could be doing more with his opportunities. To underscore that point, here he is getting 3 very similar first-half chances and missing the target in 3 very similar ways.
Now these highlights are obviously from a single game, unfairly edited together and we shouldn’t draw sweeping conclusions about players from such a small sample.
Except that’s exactly what sports fans do all the time.
Fans form their opinions by watching games, by riding the highs and lows and emotions of the game as it happens. It doesn’t help that Buksa has missed enough similar chances that he’s developed a reputation as a poor finisher. “Does everything well except score” is a phrase I’ve heard used to describe him a lot over the past 2 years. He is scoring goals, though. By the stats, he established himself as one of the top forwards in this league.
The eye test and the statistics are 2 different ways to approach the same question.
Is Adam Buksa a good striker or a mediocre one? Let us know what you think here or on social!
photo credit: Boston Globe