as much as i long to maintain my position in the exclusive club of luddites, i have conceded that social media is taking over this world. very few moments of our days are spent slowing down, hand writing letters, reading actual newsprint, letting our fingers do the walking through the yellow pages, while we sip on a cup of hand-milled coffee. when headlines are written and the news announced it is no longer done with an “extra extra extra” attached to it, rather hashtags and likes. so, it should come as no surprise that the biggest bit of news in stumptown football was announced on twatter yesterday and trended throughout the day.
it is official, steven smith is a timber. personally, i am excited by the fact gavin has gone into the market and brought in a wingback, addressing the needs of the team. unfortunately, the greater need was on the other side of the pitch; smith is, was, and always will be a left back. if you are interested, i wrote about smith over a week ago in my post: further slips or pink slips…that is the question? if he can stay healthy, i will contend smith is an improvement upon what we currently have at the left back position. improvement is good, but now we have three leftbacks and no rightback to speak of.
there has been some discussion of perhaps pushing the rod wall further up the pitch as a left wing, but i doubt spencer will justify usurping a position held by many players who are better than wallace at most things football simply because the timbers now have a surplus of leftbacks. consequently, i am left with the suspicion that we have not seen the last of gavin’s dealings in the transfer market.
we need a right back and we need him yesterday. there are some internal options but they really are not viable ones. steve purdy is the most likely to continue at right back. purdy gave a passable, yet noble, performance against sporting kc, but you cannot tell me that he is capable of that type of performance for the remaining 27 matches of this season. he simply is not athletic enough, nor disciplined enough, to prevent attacking sides from exploiting the right side of the field over the stretch of a season. ryan kawulok may have impressed in the few moments he was given in pre-season and in reserve matches, but i am not willing to trust the right side of the defense to the young kid from the university of portland quite yet–and likely the gaffer is not either. finally, there is freddie braun, who came in to replace purdy after an injury forced the veteran defender out of the match on saturday. braun put in a good shift, shutting down kai kamera in the crucial late moments of the game. however, one thing i noticed about his play during that match was a natural tendency to traverse into the middle of the pitch, which is understandable given he is a defensive midfielder. wonders and miracles can occur, but i doubt spencer has the footballing equivalent of the midas touch to transform braun into a right back better than steve purdy. simply put, we have not addressed the issues of the right side of our defense, nor have we helped the cause any by moving #facepalmer to the midfield–we have only moved him to midfield, and limited our options at rightback.
this should not cause us to anticipate the arrival of smith into the starting xi without any excitement. the gaffer has heralded his play as that of a grafter, a player who will work hard for the cause and the team.
Steven has impressed us, both on the field and as a person, during his trial. He is a hard-working defender who possesses a winning mentality. Steven has been a part of successful clubs throughout his career and has experience at high levels, including playing in the Champions League.
smith has the pedigree and the quality to suggest he will be successful in the mls, a league not yet on par with the scottish premier league or with the first division in england.
so, thanks to twitter and the topical trending the cliffhanger question was answered: who will come in first? the answer is now out, and so is james marcelin. gavin made the announcement, stating that marcelin was released outright due to non-soccer related issues. frankly, as much fun as it provided some on twitter, i am unmoved by this story. james was marginalized for some time. whether due to his lacklustre displays on the pitch, or his attitude problems off it, he had become irrelevant to the team. the few moments he did find himself in the side he did very little to help his cause. marcelin may have been one of the first signed during the inaugural season, coming directly over from the 2010 timbers usl squad, but with our current form we have no room for sentimentality. i wish him the best, but in an effort to develop and grow as a side this move made sense and is one i would have welcomed last year.
with that, have a great day.