MLS 2019: Top 5 young stars from this season
#4 Paxton Pomykal
Age: 19 Club: FC Dallas Market Value: €800,000
Paxton Pomykal was born in Lewisville, Texas, on December 1999, and started his youth career with junior side Dallas Texans, before joining FC Dallas' youth academy in 2014, at the age of 14. He won national championships with the FC Dallas U-16 and U-18 sides, as well as representing the United States national team at the U-18 and U-19 level in 2016.
Pomykal was only 16 when he made his senior debut for FC Dallas, coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute in a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Panamanian side CD Arabe Unido, in March 2017. Later that year, for his excellent form early in the season, he was named to the MLS All-Star game.
In 2019, Pomykal starred alongside club teammates Edwin Cerrillo and Brandon Servania for the USA U-20 side as they reached the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup, and was given his debut for the senior team by head coach Gregg Berhalter on September 10th 2019, when he played the last five minutes of a friendly game against Uruguay.
After making his club debut in 2017, Pomykal made only one start in the 2018 season, but his breakthrough season came in 2019, when he started 20 games, and made six substitute appearances for FC Dallas, racking up a total of 1922 minutes. He scored just two goals and laid on only two assists, but his overall quality of play has made him a vital cog in the Dallas machine.
A unique part of Pomykal's game is his versatility. He has played as a No. 10, a central midfielder, and a defensive midfielder, as well as starting a couple of games on the right-wing as well. His primary duty may be to progress the ball through the middle of the park and provide the strikers with quality service, but he can do so much more.
Pomykal ranks second in the Dallas squad for successful tackles, making 58 over the previous season, at a success rate of 66%. Only full-back/winger Ryan Hollingshead has made more tackles than him, and only five regular starters have a better success rate. His relative prowess in the air is not to be scoffed at either. Despite measuring only 5 feet 7 inches, Pomykal has an aerial duel success rate of 54%.
Going forward is where Pomykal's main strengths lie, however. He averages 1.2 shots per game, as well as 1.6 key passes per game, which is the second-best in the Dallas squad. He also completes 0.9 dribbles per game, and is not averse to receiving rough treatment from opposition defenders, as his quick feet and propensity to attempt skillful moves in tight areas make him an easy target. He is fouled 2.4 times per game, far more than anyone else in his squad, thus providing his team ample opportunities to score from set-pieces.
Pomykal is a perfect fit for the attacking midfield position in head coach Luchi Gonzalez's preferred 4-2-3-1 set-up, which heavily emphasizes possession of the football, and control of the game in the opponent's territory. He completes an average of 40 passes per game, at an 86.5% completion rate, as well as completing 63% of his 3.8 attempted long balls per game.
Within a few years, Pomykal could well develop into one of the best midfielders in the United States, and his performances could certainly warrant a move to a top European club soon.