Having played for 8 teams in 11 seasons, not much was expected of Mike Grella coming into the season. He had zero MLS experience and had only joined the team as a trialist.
An impressive preseason showing earned him a spot on the first team roster. With the team missing a real left midfielder, Jesse Marsch decided to give the journeyman a crack in the starting lineup. While he struggled initially, "Grelladinho" eventually won over the fans with his flair and timely goal scoring.
35 Games Started
2811 Minutes Played
Player Grade: B
Thing Done Well:
As a striker playing left midfield, Grella was a fish out of water. Everyone knew that Lloyd Sam was going to be the main threat on the wings, Grella came in and provided some balance to the attack. He flourished in the high pressure system, scoring the fastest goal in league history.
More significantly, Grella proved to be a talented creator. Whether it was through some trickery on the end line or nutmegging Frank Lampard, Grella had a knack for creating chances out of nothing. His 10 goals also showed that he could finish chances too. In short, Grella rounded out a talented offense.
Things Done Poorly:
For all his flash, Grella had a tendency to be sucked into 1-on-1 situations. This could often cause attacks to stall out or lose their momentum. Granted did create his fair share of chances by taking on his defenders, but his decision-making was sometimes lacking.
On top of that, Grella would also had a habit of drifting to the middle. Rather than spreading the play like Lloyd Sam would, Grella would sometimes find himself in no man's land. Granted he was playing out of position for the majority of the season, but it would be nice to see if Grella could pick up some of the habits of a natural left winger.