having had a full day to digest wednesday night’s on pitch activity, i was grateful to see the timbers had made some movement in the market. the inevitable signing of michael nanchoff and the sale of the nigel reo-coker discovery rights/right of first refusal to vancouver for a 2nd round super draft pick in both the 2014/15 seasons were welcomed distractions to the obvious glut of football that occurred wednesday.
look, reo-coker is a good player. indeed, at times, a fine player in his day with west ham united. but his abilities were never properly used when he eventually went to aston villa during the tenure of a man who has been passed by by modern football tactics–martin o’neill. that is not to say reo-coker has squandered what he presented as a promising career, he just never lived up to the promise. there is a difference. but i imagine that has been a tag often used in describing players who are to blame with pushing west ham to relegation. questions of attitude have always surrounded him, which have caused a number of clubs to avoid his services. and somehow, somewhere, the timbers laid claim to the discovery rights for a fragile, nomadic player. whether with their sights on adding him to an already anemic midfield or with an aim to gain some ground in the market, they found him and he was theirs for ever so brief a moment. regardless of how you may feel about the transaction, the sale of the rights of a 5’9″ midfielder, who is anything but creative and offensively potent, for a couple 2nd round superdraft picks has the heft of a bargain that can be leveraged into more than sacrificing a designated player spot for a player whose career has been on a steep decline for the last 7 years.
it is no secret that the timbers were in talks to sign michael nanchoff, having secured his right of first refusal from vancouver a couple of weeks ago. the secret was when the signature would be obtained. it happened yesterday, following that display of football that could only rival a pick-up game for middle-aged men working through remedial therapy and age coping skills. as we all now know, nanchoff is a 2011 first round pick from akron, who played a total of 14 games for the whitecaps. his displays in tucson belied the lack of playing time. but even considering the better moments in arizona, nanchoff certainly was not picked up to start for the timbers this season. he will be a good asset for the squad, especially so given the timbers secured his right of first refusal for a 2015 superdraft pick, which means, if you were counting draft picks, he was likely picked up for free.
as for his contributions to wednesday night’s round of boredom, i would say nanchoff was one of the more lively of the ineffectual group of randoms accumulated on the pitch. let’s face it: that game with those players was never intended to suggest what the regular team is capable of doing; it was a match centered on determining who of the several fringe players and trialists will remain with the timbers come march 3. that we know simply by the fact rodney wallace was given the armband–never even on the coldest day in hell should the rod wall actually captain a team during regular season play.
to those players who do so desperately want to remain with the side, i might suggest you learn the system. in the first half, neither futty danso or calum angus seemed assured of where to go with the ball when they had it at their feet. i say when, because it was a rare occurrence for them to receive the ball given the fact jake gleeson confused the managers. his insistence to boot the ball down pitch may be attributable to the fact he has not player since spennyball was last in session, but it was insufferable all the same. his inability to get on the same page as his new manager made the work for his teammates that much more difficult. sure, there were times when he played the ball to futty, but they were limited in the first half and only on occasion in the second.
futty also was on an old play system, finding it easier to punt than pass. too often he booted the ball past midfield, forcing his attackers to track back and battle for a ball that should have been delivered to their feet. if calum angus was pulled following the first half due to his inability to adjust to the style of play, the fact futty’s play only improved when a 23-year-old who knows porter’s style is rather telling. futty does have some skills that are marketable but they are never going to surpass those of the 4 fellas ahead of him. and with dylan tucker-gagnes showing again an understanding of the system and the type of composure on the ball necessary to be succesful in this style of play, i think it is obvious that futty will soon be shown an expression of gratitude and regard by the club for his service. as should a few others on that pitch wednesday night.
i cannot for the life of me remember if danny mwanaga played. i heard his name announced and saw a number 10 kit on the pitch, i just did not see that kit do anything of note. i recall a mention that management is looking at him with great concern, and his displays so far in the pre-season have justified scrutiny. he has been an empty kit, which is too bad because he has all the talent to be a special player. i think his confidence is shot and much of that can be attributed to his treatment by numpty one and numpty two last season, but that does not help him regain it this season. perhaps a loan option is necessary in his case. perhaps not.
alright, have a great friday.