Easy decision and one that many were just waiting on to become official, which it did Saturday morning prior to the club’s first training session of 2011.
There was no better candidate and no one with nearly as much experience in the league, but more importantly with the club and I gather that made Carlos de los Cobos’ decision an easy one.
The stats back it up…
Pause, who will turn the big three-zero this August, is entering his ninth MLS season, all with the Fire.
He’s racked up 198 regular season appearances, sitting fifth all-time. If he stays healthy, Opening Day 2011 vs. Sporting KC will mark the 200th regular season game in the stalwart midfielder’s career. It will also tie him with Jesse Marsch for fourth all-time.
With 111, Gonzalo Segares is the closest current Fire player to Pause in the appearance category.
Talent-wise you always know what you’ll get out of Logan Pause. He’s never been flashy. He’s not a goal scorer. He doesn’t bag many assists either. He has made his name with the Fire and in MLS through dedication and hard work, humility and the desire to play for the badge no matter the situation.
Having worked with Logan for a year now, he’s often reiterated how lucky he’s been to have learned his craft in the midfield from Chris Armas. He talks about Jesse Marsch and Diego Gutierrez helping to shape his game as well, but for the club’s new captain, Armas is the one he most closely models his game after, often speaking vividly of the effect the 10-year Fire veteran had on him.
Though not a goal scorer, his strike last season on May 8 at Toronto was voted by the fans as the club’s 2010 Goal of the Year. Perhaps more importantly, he was selected as the team’s MVP last season.
By the way, after Pause passes Marsch at 200 appearances, the former U.S. international will be in his sights later in the year. Armas made 214 regular season appearances for the Fire from 1998-2007. Two games later, he’ll move beyond Zach Thornton and into second behind only C.J. Brown when he hits 216.
Logan's experience will be important when considering nearly half of this year's roster will be new to the club in 2011.
Health and longevity
That last point says something. It’s almost surprising that Logan will likely surpass Marsch and Armas this year.
He’s been around since 2003, playing mainly in midfield but pulling duty at right back when needed. Pause has appeared in at least 21 matches every year since his debut season. Given the general wear and tear central midfielders suffer, his durability is impressive but over time, the ability to hang in a star-studded midfield that featured the likes of Armas, Marsch and Gutierrez speaks to his talent and dedication to his craft.
As the heir apparent, Pause has automatic respect from his teammates and already has the locker room, but interestingly, he’s also thought highly of outside of his own locker room.
Though he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter, congratulatory message came in from U.S. soccer figures after the news came down on Saturday afternoon.
While one of the club and certainly Pause’s bitterest rivals from past years, recently retired New England Revolution forward Taylor Twellman tweeted what a good move it was:
Pause will certainly have a lot of work to do in leadership as the club has started to look towards youth. With the departures of Brian McBride, C.J. Brown and Freddie Ljungberg, the likely addition of draft picks and expected younger foreign players into the mix, the club’s average will go down significantly.
There’s no one on this roster better suited to take on the role… Congrats Logan!