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New player profile: Bobby Convey

Background:

Bobby Convey was drafted to DC United at 16 in 2000. In four years with the scum, he had eight goals and 16 assists in 89 games. At the tender age of 20, Convey earned a transfer to Reading, then in the Championship, prior to the 2004-05 season. He played a key part in their promotion season in 2005-06, scoring eight goals, including some spectacular ones, from a left-midfield position in a league liken to the MLS.

Following promotion to the Premier League, the first bout of injuries that chronically plagued Convey throughout his career, began. His impact at the highest level in England was significantly limited, as he only played in nine games.

As his Reading highlights demonstrates, Convey used to have a dynamism to his game that allowed him to run past defenders in the Championship with ease. Unfortunately, as aforementioned, injuries have contributed to a depletion of explosive pace over time, but one can see the height of Convey’s talent in his hey day.

Despite struggling with injuries and form, Convey was selected to represent the United States at the 2006 World Cup. He made appearances in all three group stage games before the US got knocked out. After three further years playing scarce games with Reading, Convey signed with the San Jose Earthquakes through the allocation process in 2009.

The transfer to a new team gave witness to a dramatic change in Convey’s form, leading him to play in 26 games. The stable playing time in northern California contributed to a MLS Comeback Player of the Year season in 2010 as he scored one goal and notably gave 10 assists in 28 starts.

The Quakes’ run in the postseason inspired Convey as he infamously scored two goals and assisted another from left back in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal to knock out a talented Red Bulls team from the playoffs.

After a less impactful 2011 season where he still managed to be selected to the All Star game at RBA, Convey was traded to Sporting Kansas City amid reports of a breakdown in relationship with head coach Frankie Yallop. His reputation as a negative influence within the locker room first began here as rumor spread of Convey vocally expressing his displeasure with playing left back.

The trade to SKC seemed an ideal move as his two-way winger characteristics seemed perfect for Peter Vermes’s 4-3-3 formation. For whatever reason, Convey’s time in Kansas/Missouri was uneventful. Injuries once again played a part as he only started 14 games.

However, his chemistry and likability with his teammates looked great from afar as his star roles on the series, Tweets with Bobby Convey, illustrated. According to the New York Post, Convey garnered a reputation as “selfish, spoiled, and immature”, but these videos created the opposite impression of a self-deprecating, fun, and witty personality.

In the middle of the 2013 season, Convey was traded to a struggling Toronto FC to play for former teammate, Ryan Nelson. He managed to stay injury-free to play 1786 minutes in 21 games, with one goal and four assists in 20 starts.

Potential impact/expectations:

Convey, now 30, is a potential successor to Johnny Steele’s position as the two-way winger on the left. With a congested 2014 schedule, he will play in many games both as a starter or sub mainly in a left or right midfield role. Pressure is on Alexander to repeat an outstanding debut season once again as Convey is comfortable playing on the right and cutting inside onto his favored left foot.

Also, as Roy Miller is expected to miss a month for World Cup duty with Costa Rica, Convey is favorite ahead of Lade and Eckersley to fill in at left back. With vast experience playing anywhere along the left side in his career, Convey quelled rumors that he is unhappy at playing as a defender.

“In the system here, left back is a spot,’’ Convey said to the New York Post. “Either one is fine. It’s been presumed I don’t want to play there. I don’t know where that came from. In San Jose I played there, came here and played in the All-Star game at left back.’’

Originally from Philadelphia, Convey cited the close proximity to home as a key factor in taking a pay cut to play for the Red Bulls. Hopefully remaining near his family and winning trophies will provide further encouragement for Convey to perform well enough to remain in Harrison, N.J. for future seasons to come.

Video Analysis:

In this highlights package, one can view Convey’s proficiency with set pieces. Many of his assists in 2010 came from consistent, left-footed free kicks and corner kicks into the box. With Convey taking some set pieces, Henry will be allowed to cause panic within the opposition’s 18. Despite not being a great header, Henry’s presence alone will distract defenders from the main targets of Cahill and Olave.

Apologies for not being able to embed the goal, but click on the link below to see Convey’s wonderful run and finish against Chicago in 2012 for Sporting. His chemistry with Espinoza was well on display as he cleverly ran inside and out to evade his defender and finish at the front post with his weaker, right foot. After watching many highlights during his time with Sporting and Toronto, one easily notices that Convey consistently provides a threat at the back post on crosses.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/video/2012/05/12/goal-convey-opens-scoring-skc

At Toronto, Convey shared set piece duties with Alvaro Rey. Here in the below link (once again apologies), Convey demonstrated his awareness to pull away at the top of the 18 during a corner kick and unleash a shot that missed a yard away from the bottom corner.

http://golazo.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2013-10-05-philadelphia-union-vs-toronto-fc/details/video/40403

And finally as a bonus, here is Convey’s lone goal for Toronto against the scum. Enjoy.

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