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Julian Gressel: I can get better in all aspects of the game

Analyzing Julian Gressel’s performance through the first eight games

MLS: Chicago Fire at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Gressel has appeared in all eight games while making seven starts for the Five Stripes but his efficiency in the field has decreased the last couple of games.

In the season opener against NYRB, he played 81 minutes before being replaced by Jeff Larentowicz. During this game, he had a good showing on the field as his passes were evenly distributed to the wings in order to create scoring opportunities.

Julian Gressel passing against NYRB in the first week

In his second game, he played all 90 minutes against Minnesota United and recorded his first-ever assist. Besides that assist, his percentage of successful/unsuccessful passes was about 50 percent.

Julian Gressel passing against MNUFC

Gressel had his best performance of the season against Chicago, where he only failed to complete seven of his passes and took control of the midfield.

Julian Gressel passing against Chicago

After the Toronto matchup is where Gressel started to see his playing time decrease as he only played 45 minutes against Montreal, where he was replaced by Anton Walkes because of a first half red card causing a formation change.

Against Real Salt Lake, he came in as a sub for the first time and completed just one of four passes, which turned out to be the assist that gave Brandon Vazquez his first MLS goal.

Julian Gressel passing against Real Salt Lake

“I think it’s been okay, it hasn’t been great,” Gressel said when describing his play during the last three weeks. “Obviously, I can get better in all aspects of the game. Maybe I didn’t have my best form (last three weeks) as I did in the beginning of the season, but I’m just trying to work through it and get better everyday and get back to the form that I had before and even better.”

Last week against D.C. United, Gressel made his way back to the starting lineup but was subbed off after 60 minutes for Kevin Kratz. During his time on the field, Gressel completed most of his passes below midfield and completed only a few in the last third of the field.

Julian Gressel passing against DC United

“I don’t think it has a specific point,” Gressel said when trying to explain why he has struggled the last couple of games. “You try to make the best of your day and sometimes that doesn’t happen for whatever reason. I had a couple of knocks here and there the last couple of weeks, maybe that threw me off a little.”

With the suspension of Yamil Asad, it will be expected to see Gressel in the starting line up when they face New York City FC on Sunday. Despite his recent struggles, there’s still cause for optimism about the overall body of work the midfielder has put in.

“I’m just getting accustomed to everything and just work through those things and get consistent,” Gressel said.