another day, another rain cloud. this is memorial day weekend and it is required to be sunny, not overcast and likely to rain every other 5 minutes. i will take the three-day weekend any way it comes, but a little sun today would contribute greatly to the enjoyment felt while eating 8 different salad selections and barbecued meat.
not much going on in the world of timbers as they prepare for eric wynalda's crew to arrive for wednesday's us open cup match. the reserves played the whitecaps reserves yesterday and darren mattocks reminded those of us at the jw that people can be really good at what they do and still be douchebags. his celebration following his first-half goal was the stuff only mothers could be proud of and even then i think the pride would be fleeting. overlooking his on-field behavioral issues and his muppet hair-do, it is obvious he is going to be an immense talent for the caps in the years to come. at one moment, i recall commenting that he had a touch of didier drogba--based on play, not his muppet hair-do. i am not suggesting that he will be anywhere near the talent level of drogba, nor that he will cripple the careers of central defenders as drogba has done, but he plays direct and powerfully and also enjoys a flop. yesterday, he gave jean-baptise fits, exploiting the young centerback's positional naivity on several occasions. jean-baptiste will improve and that is why he plays reserve football, but he cannot give a player of mattocks's quality the inside line to goal as he did yesterday and expect first-team selection.
jean-baptiste did make up for his mistakes, pulling back a goal with an un-marked header in the second half. in the end, that goal was all the timbers reserves could connect. it would be unfair to suggest they lacked chances--they did not--they simply could not convert.
for all their troubles converting, which appears to be a club-wide issue (which surprises me not at all), the reserves hold a few gems. rarely do you observe a player who possess the "it" factor, especially when the standard is the mls. so i hesitate to suggest we have young players of such quality, but brent richards does have something setting himself apart from other members of yesterday's reserve squad. to follow a strange and troubling theme of chelsea comparisons, richards has a quality of play similar to daniel sturridge if daniel sturridge was allowed to play center-forward. i wish i could bottle his hustle, his drive, and his desire to get forward, pour it down the throats of a select group of unjustified first-team selections, and give them a swift kick in the seat of the pants. frankly, i would love to see him eventually usurp jorge perlaza's role--perhaps with a few more games he may turn spencer's attention away from the colombian (though i am sure spencer would require him to deliver the compulsory set of ineffective crosses into the box).
there were three first-teamers on the side yesterday. not one of them indicated through their play that they deserved first team selection. chewy was as over-commited as usual, which was exacerbated by the fact he appeared to pull a groin and was forced to hold his junk as a little kid holds their junk when they have to pee really, really bad. songo'o was not absent, he simply was not sharp. even though he took a strong late shot at goal, palmer exhibited the usual dungeness crab passing, hesitation and empty-head ingenuity typical of his play. i am unable to determine what is more perplexing: the fact he remains in the team or the fact he has now been given the captain's armband twice. what exactly are the qualifications associated with a captain? answer that question and i am confident you will be unable to find those attributes within #facepalmer.
rincon had an active game, but his play caused myself and a friend some concern. our consternation was not due to his play in general, but rather the drives to goal suggesting the philosophy of the manager is seeping into the drinking water of the youth. the reliance on the wings to provide creativity is misplaced, especially when players are instructed to push the wing though it is not their natural style. rincon is a center-forward, not a winger. too many times he looked to the wing rather than exploiting gaps within the whitecaps central defense. perhaps it is an issue of confidence and we were over-analyzing the issue, but a striker of his youthfulness and quality should have the audacity to try things--he simply stuck to the typical drive to byline and cross plan too many times to intimate any lack of confidence. that is troubling.
here is a further recap of the game with video attached.
with that, have a great memorial day!