Can C.J. Sapong Become One of MLS’s Top Strikers?
Chester, PA – Off his first brace since 2013, C.J. Sapong turned in a man-of-the-match performance that helped the Union to an impressive 3-0 win in its home opener against New England Revolution.
As the lone target striker, Sapong excelled in both hold up play and deft finishes of his two goal-scoring chances.
It is performances like the one Sapong just had that have Union supporters dreaming, Can he be one of the league’s best?
He has all the tools and he looks the part – tall and rangy at 6’1″, athletic, capable of finishing with either leg and is good at holding up the ball.
His movement off the ball was wonderful to watch enabling him to find the space that made him a goal threat all match.
However, Union fans have seen this before from Sapong. He has gone through stretches where he has scored goals and long droughts without a tally. When it goes south for Sapong, he has in the past become a different player, unable to affect the game in any way.
He gets buried on the bench until his confidence returns.
However, all signs point to this season being different.
With Conor Casey now on the Columbus Crew, and Fabian Herbers really the only other strike option (although he is really a midfielder), no one else has the physical attributes Sapong possesses on the Union roster.
I suspect, this was done on purpose to help instill Sapong with the confidence he needs.
And he does seem confident as he posted this on his twitter page prior to the match with New England:
It is the soccer equivalent of “give me the damn ball”.
He took the ball, and buried his chances Sunday and will look to keep it rolling when the Union play the Fire away in 2 week.
So can Sapong take that next step? It is important to remember that although it seems as if he has been around forever, he is only 27 years old and just entering his prime as a striker.
Should Sapong be able to find his consistency, and be a threat to goal even in matches where he isn’t scoring, he could be one of the best strikers in MLS.
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