Wings forward Tiguinho can pinpoint the time when he determined that getting his teammates involved offensively was more important than his own scoring.
“When I realized I can’t score,” joked Tiguinho, a Brazilian in his first season with the Wings.
More specifically, Tiguinho made that revelation about four years ago. It’s paying dividends now for the Wings, as Tiguinho leads the team in assists and is fourth in scoring despite his unwillingness (more than an inability) to look out for himself.
“For me it’s the best part of the game,” Tiguinho said. “I love assists. I can’t score too much, but I try hard. That’s what I love, the assists. I feel happier than when I can score. Scoring is how you win, but I love assists and I love when someone scores off my assist.”
Last season, at least until he was suspended midway through, the Wings’ best playmaker was Carlos Farias. Though Farias’ best assets were his footskills and his passing ability, those traits led to more goals from him.
According to Tiguinho, Wings coach LeBaron Hollimon has encouraged him to become a similar kind of player, or at least to shoot more. Tiguino is open to the idea, but applying it and seeing results from it could take more time.
Tiguinho’s shot total isn’t abnormally low; he’s taken 43 shots, but since he frequently possesses the ball it’s a number that could be higher.
“Hollimon told me, ‘You have this one problem — you don’t shoot. You always look to pass and you don’t shoot,’ ” Tiguinho said. “Sometimes I work too hard to make the assist and sometimes I don’t look to the goal. That’s one problem I need to fix.”
Tignuino was presented with the possibility of Hollimon’s suggestion prompting an addition of one or two shots per game.
“Maybe two or three more,” Tiguinho said. “I tell (Hollimon) — what do you want, pass or shoot? Sometimes I want to shoot and sometimes I can’t.”
Making Tiguinho’s decision easier is the presence of Geison, another Brazilian in his first season with the Wings.
The two have played together extensively in the MISL, including in the previous two seasons with Missouri. Geison led the league in scoring last year at least in part because of the contributions of Tiguinho, who had 12 assists in half a season
The friends have continued their chemistry this season. Geison is second on the team with 39 points, one behind Freddie Moojen, and Tiguinho’s six-game scoring streak has produced 15 points — two goals and 10 assists.
“I think that’s the perfect combination,” Tiguinho said. “He can score and he can get assists. I can’t score, but I can get assists. I think that’s the perfect combination for me. I love playing with him. He’s my best friend and I’m happy for our years together.”