day two of pre-season training is now complete and we are on to day three. really? day three? it seems only last week we were all wondering what would happen with kris boyd, steven smith, franck songo'o, and, most importantly, lovel palmer. those answers have come and the vacuum cleaner bag has been emptied--the dust now settled, we can see that the hoover was not only filled with efforts to trim the over-priced and overpaid, but also filled with efforts to trim the remnants of spencer's tenure. sure, a couple stalwarts remain, but overall this team no longer reminds us of the stolid, plodding football once played in the original first months of the timbers.
now, we have a head coach who requires players to work outside of the tired and typical definitions of their specific positions. the reports i have from a friend of the blogg is that porter make quick work of informing the players of where they need to be, how they needed to play, and what was expected of them when off the ball. porter made certain that every player carried his weight, fought to recover the football, and was moving into areas of the pitch to be helpful, not stranded. without question, this is a new era and new football. these are tactics we have not seen employed, and the players are being asked to fill roles they are not accustomed to performing. porter suggested there will be a learning curve in grasping his system, but also acknowledged that is what pre-season is all about:
In training it is them figuring out the way that we do things; the way that we train, some of the concepts regarding our style of play.
evidently kalif was given special attention. a player who was often wasteful in possession, likely due to his love of the stepover and use of other pieces of flair, kalif was instructed that beating a man was acceptable, but taking on the second and third man was not. hallelujah! finally, someone has now discussed with kalif the reasons he is not a good player--because he does not involve anyone else. rather than his usual drive to beat every tom, dick, and harry, he was encouraged to distribute the ball, keep defenses off-balance, and be a participant in a team.
as discussed on several occasions, and now made clear from the practices, the central defenders are going to be required to play the ball forward. they are going to have to be active, move the ball at a quicker pace and rhythym, and distribute to the midfield far more instinctively than they were used to last season. notable discomfort was observed in the efforts of one david horst, which can be expected considering his strengths in the game do not include mobility.
overall, porter was pleased with his first looks at players and views this time as instrumental in developing the standards of practice and play he sets.
I think learning comes in different ways and organizing your team has to come, for me first and foremost, on the pitch, because they are doing what they learn and ultimately that's how you organize your group.
speaking of the organization of the group, it seems that franck is not considered an integral part of the 2013 side. yesterday, he let most of the timbers faithful in on the worst kept secret since the unacknoweledged fact that gavin's office back door opens into club sesso--that he would not be lacing up his boots for the timbers. if you recall, last week the owner announced that difficulties had arisen with the negotiations of franck's deal. it is assumed that franck was going to double what he earned last season. for what it is worth, i love franck; i love his drive and willingness to take on players, involve teammates, and the fact he was a lone bright spot in an otherwise grim season. but as much as i love franck i do not think his overall contribution last season justifies an increase in pay twice that of what he made last year. no one on that side deserves an increase in pay. while his enthusiasm was admirable, he scored only one goal and provided 5 assists--not really stats to light the world on fire.
and while the outs continue, so do the ins...or, rather, the retention of ins of days past who never played a single first team match but were given designated player status and who have now signed a lengthy multi-year contract with the club. whew! that description of jose adolfo valencia, aka trencito, would make marcel proust proud and william faulkner jealous. this is a positive step forward for a team looking to secure a corps group of young players. notable development is that valencia will no longer be considered a designated player, which suggests the structure of the contract must have been negotiated to benefit the club.
and while i know we have made some selections in the supplemental draft to the original super draft, which should not be confused with the re-entry draft, or the whatever the hell the other draft-draft is called, i cannot be arsed to discuss them because they are simply filler to books at this moment. i seriously doubt they will be of little use to the team, which means they will be of even less use stored away in my memory.
so, the last couple days have answered many concerns, but still leave one question unanswered. no, i am not talking about whether spiced ipa will continue to be the swill of choice for the front office, nor am i referring to the search for honey boo boo's real name, and god forbid that i question whether those unsightly rumoured kits are actually the 2013 kits. no, i am discussing the biggest concern i have: who will be captain this year. before, it was never a question that jack would be handed the armband and that was that. but spencer is no longer the coach, which means the guaranteed captaincy is no longer guaranteed. when asked about whether he had determined who will wear the armband, porter said:
I have not.
if i could give him one bit of advice, though with the current clearance of spencer products it seems unnecessary, i would suggest this: do not continue the selection of captain forever.
alright, i am about to weather the weather. but first a nice cup of coffee and perhaps a breakfast and maybe a shower. so, in short, i am not about to weather the weather, but i am preparing to do so. have a great day!