Razvan Cocis, CM/RM
5-foot-11, 161 lbs., 33 years old
Originally signed on a free transfer in July 2014; re-signed to rolling one-year deal January 2016 (club’s option)
2016 MLSPU salary: $160,000
2016 stats (all competitions)
34 appearances, 23 starts, 2245 minutes; 5 goals, 2 assists, 4 yellow cards
Constantly shifting demands and expectations have undermined Cocis in his time in Chicago ... steady, thoughtful central midfielder, able to play in a multitude of roles ... uses the ball well, doesn’t waste possession ... physically not a standout, but still covers enough ground to handle a box-to-box role ... has had to do a lot of dirty work since arriving at Chicago, and has done so without complaint ... hits a heavy shot from distance
The Romanian midfielder was picked up on a free transfer by the Fire brass back in July of 2014. Oh, how time can fly by. Two and half years later and I am not exactly sure what to make of Razvan. While this is essentially a 2016 recap, I think it is important to take his entire time here into perspective:
2014 (after signing in July): 8 starts (10 appearances), 0 goals
2015: 22 starts (26 appearances), 2 goals
2016: 19 starts (30 appearances), 5 goals
Those are MLS statistics, so that will not include any cup games. That is no small sample size so it is a bit different than reviewing a rookie or a younger player. I am not one to usually read too much into statistics but these numbers sort of interested me. Paunovic was more inclined to bring on Cocis as a substitute than Yallop was but both used him frequently.
I believe Razvan was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When you watch him play week after week there are things to admire about his quality. He seemingly does not seem fazed by any game situation, as you’d expect from a player with his experience. And for a player on the wrong side of 30 he was still fairly versatile this season doing business at both ends of the field. At this point in his career I believe his ultimate quality is his composure and experience. Those are two things that are important to most squads. However, the Fire are not most squads.
The Fire midfield was a bit of a conundrum in 2016. Often times you will hear pundits and casual fans alike speaking in terms of a clubs collective identity. I don’t think we ever saw any sort of identity formed over the course of the 2016 campaign and I would argue that it may have affected the midfield the most. We sat back for long stretches, asking our midfielders to join the defense. Then essentially we would try to spring a counter attack. This sort of play doesn’t really suit someone like Cocis.
Again, wrong place wrong time (this may be theme of these end of season reviews for me). There are a whole lot of professional midfielders that are stellar at what they do, yet don’t really flash across your TV screen. They are not talked about in terms of the spectacular. They just get the job done, doing the simple things well over and over again. For me Cocis fits into that category. On a solid squad that can maintain the ball and rival other teams for possession, Razvan could thrive. But we did not get to see that over the last two seasons.
It has been hard for me to separate what I believe each individual on this team could be worth in a different scenario and what I actually saw last year. After all we have finished at the bottom of the table for two straight years. Had we been successfully kick-starting a rebuild in 2014 when arrived he may have been a great asset. Judging from Guillermo Rivera’s comments on Fire Confidential - and the fact that the club has already scrubbed Razvan from the first-team roster - there is no reason to believe that Cocis will return to the Fire in 2017.
It’s true that this team needs to add a high caliber midfielder to play alongside Polster. But even so, I think there could have been room for Cocis in 2017, as long as he was willing to accept a role coming off the bench and getting spot starts. Midfield are positions where a team needs depth and experience. He wouldn’t take up an international roster slot. I will miss the neck beard.