Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the Ghanaian in his 3rd year in the MLS
The Ghanaian in his 3rd season in MLS, where he has been directed by 2 technicians with a similar philosophy of play, which has helped his development (22 years now) and has made it easy to adapt to different positions from his debut. Its characteristics, although they are not what one would think for someone in his positions, he has made them work, as well as learning new skills and movements. These changes in position have as a consequence on his stats over these 3 years.
When he arrived at the 2017 Sporting Kansas City, he did it as a forward, after scoring 14 goals in 21 games in the Ghanaian league. But Peter Vermes also used it as a winger during 2017. In 2018 he was taken in the expansion draft by the LAFC, where Bradley used it at the beginning in the same position. In this season, he has used it more as a right center midfielder, although sometimes we can see him0 behind the striker and even as a right back, against rivals who lock themselves behind, looking that their skills and speed (above the average for a right back) could generate better chances to score, but without neglecting the defense.
Latif is a player of short stature, with great speed at short and long distance, but he does not know how to stop very well neither with the ball nor without, which leads him to inaccuracies when he makes decisions on the run or when he has to stop before the opponent, committing unnecessary faults. He does not run away from a 1 vs 1, especially if he is in wide and open areas. He is an energetic player, he moves around the field when the LAFC attacks, he moves in front of the ball line, he runs to the space to support and behind the defense, looking to be a line of passes with his close and distant teammates. When his team loses possession he has the stamina to go down at full speed (which is a lot) to not leave spaces to the opponent. He tends to press his opponents very closely, knowing that he has enough speed not to let them go in case of the chase.
This season has improved his decision making, playing more horizontally with Kaye and Atuesta (his teammates in the midfield) showing patience and waiting for the right time to pass the ball forward or when to dribble. This is reflected in the statistics of dribbling and passing, now having the ball more times his percentage success passes has not fallen and his percentage of successful dribbling has increased.
All these changes, position, role and attitude, has made his stats changed from season to season. On the defensive side, his interceptions and fouls have been increasing, as could be expected. Also being close to the buildup, gives him more touches, so the number of balls received and passes also increased. Shooting is reduced for not being so often close to the box. Unlike his dribbling that has been increasing, perhaps as a requirement of Bradley to generate qualitative superiority in the 1 vs 1.