some players capture the spirit of the timbers and some take up space. while i was not a great fan of chewy, a feeling that began when he went ninga on the slice, he did represent the values many of us respect. he is not the greatest player but he did try even when his attempts fell short of adequate. more to it, he acknowledged the people who supported him regardless of his floppy socks, the mishaps, and his marginal marking, because he understood gratitude. for all the stick i may have given him, i tip my hat to him and the way he ingratiated himself into the culture of the timbers. those efforts will certainly endure even if his efforts on the pitch may not.
that being said, if the perkins trade incensed a large number of the timbers faithful, yesterday's trade of mike chabala really had no effect--most agreed with the trade. it really did not take a leading member of mensa to acknowledge this was a likely trade to be made once gavin got ahold of the reigns. chewy was not playing and when he did play it suggested the latter was still happening. for all his flat-footed efforts, he simply was not good enough at this game to play regularly. and the arrival of steven smith assured he would no longer start. to assure he would never touch the pitch again, when given the opportunity to showcase his abilities in dallas he was torched to the point of impersonating the fallout from a nuclear bomb.
rather than discussing chewy's limited footballing attributes, gavin suggested the reasons for the trade were twofold: to get chewy the playing time he was not earning in portland, and to open more room under the salary cap.
It was a situation that was beneficial to all groups. I think that Mike Chabala is a very likable person, and again we keep saying that they are good professionals about all these guys, but it is very true. Fine character. Carried himself extremely well. He wasn't getting the playing time here and it was frustrating, but he kept it professional...in doing that we have players in each position that give us different salary cap numbers.
unlike perkins's situation, gavin made clear this trade was chabala's choice. in addition, gavin treated chewy with the appropriate dignity deserved by any player who pulled on the kit. it might be easy to suggest gavin learned his lesson with the perkins trade but i cannot believe that for a minute. having observed his treatment of other players in the past, his treatment of chabala suggested the more salient reason behind the trade of perkins was expulsion, not simply improvement.
at any rate, chabala is gone. and as quickly as he exited a kiwi has been lined up to take his place. ian hogg--a player i know next to nothing about and for good reason. he began his career in aukland city, bounced around the semi-professional league of kiwiland to eventually make his way back to aukland city, where he played in 37 matches. in the interim, he made his international and olympic debut this year. he has been capped a total of 4 times for the kiwi senior side, 9 for the u23 side, and was handed a quick exit from the olympics this last week. very little is out there on the youtube scouting network, but this video of his goal against el salvador in his senior debut has been making the rounds. from the limited action presented in this video you can tell he has some grit and certainly a knack for getting forward.
even with hogg coming in, gavin's comments do not assure us that he is being brought in to remain. he described his acquisition in terms comparable to a trial, stating:
We had the opportunity to bring in a young left back to put him in a different environment for the rest of the season to see how he does.
if a diamond in the ruff sort of talent can be unearthed i have no issues with the acquisition of young, unknown kiwis, but i still question the intelligence of making trades and bringing in new personnel when the one glaring absence and necessity of the timbers has not been replaced. not to mention the pursuit of unproven talent rather than looking to bring in actual talent. i should not have to mention the fact the timbers are still without a creative midfielder, but i will because the loonies in the front office certainly have failed to acknowledge that fact.
if there was any question there are either monkeys or amateurs running this team, gavin put that issue to bed yesterday when discussing the interview process for the new manager. obviously, to enquire whether a candidate would agree with certain philosophical dilemmas or concerns in order to render an understanding how they will interpret directives from the kremlin is advisable. doing so eliminates those sticky and uncomfortable presser moments when you have to explain to the team's supporters that you did not thoroughly vet your handpicked coach when you fire him without a plan for the future. but the recent admission of incompetence is beyond pathetic, it is down right terrifying.
when discussing whether the current issues and the obvious need for a coach has increased the pressing need to fill the role, gavin said:
We've conducted another interview this morning and the search is continuing.
a rather innocuous comment, and i was totally at ease when i read it--it shows that he and merritt are taking their efforts seriously and that they are not settling for the first person who agrees to go on a date with them. but then, as i read on, my stomach began to gnaw that unfortunate gnawing that accompanies the anxious and uncomfortable nausea associated with dread. personnel decisions are decisions best left to the permanent, soon to be ex, manager. he is going to come into the side with his own opinions and systems that will require a certain personnel set to mold into his own players. those decisions should not be based on make-believe-but-really-not-make-believe situations created to elicit the answers gavin was looking for. with that in mind, have a gander at gavin's next comment--it should scare you.
The candidates that we have spoken to... Maybe they have been involved in hypothetical situations that resulted in some of the trades. That is all I can say in regards to that.
how has it come to this: performing an interview process to obtain ideas on how to run a club? i cannot begin to explain how wrong that is.
i can constructively describe how aghast and horror-struck i was when i realized what gavin admitted in that comment only by asking this open question to merritt paulson:
if the person whom you have employed as your technical director is so inept at running a football club he must seek advice on player personnel through interviewing prospective coaching candidates, should that person remain employed in that position?
i await your answer.