Good morning all. I’m currently not feeling like a visit from the Grim Reaper is imminent, and that is really something to celebrate given my recent run of form. With the days getting longer it seems like the MLS rumor mill is cranking up as well. This is good news for yours truly and for bloggers everywhere. The long winter break is a time when those of us in the blogging community are seldom further than one defunct idea away from a column devoted to feelings…not feelings about anything in particular, just feelings. I don’t think anyone wants that, but when you open up News Now for the bajillionth time to find nothing but fluff pieces be people just as desperate to fill column inches as you are, the temptation to turn this space into a venue for the psychoanalysis of oneself is almost overwhelming.
Well, we’ve now got a bit of substantive news to talk about, so let’s get to it. It appears that the much maligned Lovel Palmer has joined the ranks of FSL. At least that is what is indicated by this article pulled off the interweb. Who am I to disagree with the interweb, I ask you? Anyway, this is good news if true. Palmer was a poster child for our failings in defense in the year just passed, and I for one am glad to see the back of him. I will say, as a matter of human decency, that Palmer was not a bad guy. He definitely worked hard in the shirt, and for that he should be given credit. However, it is the other side of the ledger that must absorb our attention when thinking about Palmer’s time in a Timbers shirt. Palmer started the year at right back and was the proximate cause of a lot of bad things. He simply did not have what it takes to get appropriately close to opposing attackers. The result was that even the mediocrities currently infesting the Revs locker room were able to throw in leisurely crosses all afternoon. Of course, they scored on just about their first one, so the addition of the subsequent efforts really amounted to a simple addition of insult to injury.
I suppose that I’ve said all of that time and time again. Palmer was, overall, a minus asset for the team. You could say a lot of things about the guy, but the simple fact of the matter is that he’s off our books now and we can all move on with our lives.
On a more positive note, we are apparently in the process of signing up the services of out of favor Lanús midfielder Diego Valeri. It’s a little hard to know exactly what’s up with this guy other than the fact that he’s got brown hair and a pleasant smile. Ever since the Argintine league nearly collapsed a few years ago it’s been uncommonly difficult to catch matches from down there in the northern hemisphere. He helped Lanús win their one and only Apertura title in 2007, then he was loaned out, first to Porto (where he made 12 appearances) and then to Almeria in the Spanish Segunda (where he made 9). He was back with Lanús in 2011, captaining them apparently, as they came runners up in the Argentine Clausura. The deal is apparently for one year. Not much else is available in terms of information.
There hasn’t been anything in the way of official confirmation of this deal, so it’s still just at the rumor stage. Part of the rumor is that the reason behind the who thing is that Valeri had some kind of difference of opinion with Guillermo Barres Schelotto, formerly of the Columbus Crew, who currently manages Lanús.
Once again, it’s hard to know what’s up with this guy, as even Youtube is a little sparse when it comes to him. I did find these clips (Clip 1, Clip 2), which give one some idea of what Valeri looks like. On the evidence of this he appears to be reasonably quick, and to be a player who likes to get forward and is able to put in a decent cross, which is a useful thing from the perspective of this team’s current needs.
The time will probably come, indeed it may be coming soon, when we can look within our own borders for the kind of talent that will really take a team forward. That day has, however, not arrived yet. The Timbers have had mixed results from their forays south of the border to snag better talent. Clearly Diego Chará is a win. I think you’d have to put Hanyer Mosquera in that category as well. James Marcelin, less so. Rodney Wallace, well I suppose that the jury is still out, but if I were him I wouldn’t necessarily be making any major real estate purchases in the local area. In any case, I think that the team has done a pretty decent job so far in expanding the range of their talent search and trying to scour the corners of this hemisphere for possible talent upgrades. The Argentine leagues are not a bad place to do this either. The football down there tends to be pretty good in terms of technical quality, and the players in that league definitely learn something about how to ride out heavy tackles. Given the economic instability that periodically afflicts Argentine football, it might not be a bad thing to try to keep one’s hand in in terms of recruiting, since when the checks don’t get paid, as they periodically don’t down that way, people often start looking for firmer ground.
Ok, so the balance sheet for today apparently reads: Lovel Palmer out, shifty 26 year old Argentine midfielder in. That looks like a winning bit of business for us. Here’s hoping it actually comes to fruition.