Monday, the Houston Dynamo traded Jason Johnson to the Chicago Fire to get Alex, a Brazilian midfielder. To get a better feel for Alex, I sent a couple of questions to Sean Spence of Hot Time In Old Town. Spence wrote this killer fable about Alex that is well worth the read.
1. Alex seems to be a very versatile player, but does he have one position that he really excels in?
Alex is very much a tweener. He's very left-footed, but he lacks the pace or trickery to play on the flanks convincingly. He's good at keeping possession; he'll keep the ball rolling, but can be very conservative when playing in that way. I imagine he'd be quite useful as a shuttler on the left-center slot in a narrow diamond midfield, if paired with a more dynamic player to his right. He can play a decent shift at left back; at left midfield, he's a mouthful of unseasoned oatmeal.
2. On the flip side does he have a position that you never ever want to see him in?
When Alex was brought to Chicago, he was billed as an attacking midfielder. And he's Brazilian, so everyone's thinking jogo bonito, amirite? Ehhh ... no. Alex can sometimes combine cleverly, but he has a habit of dribbling, head-down, anytime there's much pressure at all. He seems to get caught up in the excitement of sweeping team moves and will frequently end them by puttering straight into a triple-team. His touch and technique don't give him those moments of pause to find his teammates. It's terribly frustrating.
3. After seeing some of the comments from Chicago fans about Alex it doesn't seem like he was very liked in Chicago. Why is this? Poor play? Personality?
I don't understand the hate, personally - Alex always seemed a modest and earnest professional. He's not a radiant personality, certainly, but being a quiet dude doesn't explain the vitriol. Hazarding a guess, it's the combination of the first two answers, and the psychological friction caused thereby - the fans thought they were getting the Rio carnival and instead got a county fair.
Huge thanks to Sean for giving us some insight to Alex!