Portland Timbers

03 February 4:53 pm

En Nueva York, cuando toma el ‘Subway’, uno espera que en algún momento en el camino el tren se detenga y deje de correr. ¿Por qué? Porque ya estamos acostumbrados.

Sin embargo, en el caso del José Adolfo ‘El Trencito’ Valencia, todos quedamos sorprendidos de que este nunca saliera de la estación. Y es que el joven colombiano de 20 años se quedará estancado luego de que se diera a conocer estará fuera de las canchas entre 6 y 12 meses.


Sorprendidos quedamos todos, y cuando digo todos, es TODOS.

Sorprendidos en Colombia, donde ni el médico del Independiente Santa Fe (ex equipo de Valencia) sabía de la condición del jugador, según nos comentó Fabián Rozo del diario El Tiempo en el podcast Tiro Libre.


Sorprendidos los Portland Timbers, que anunciaron con bombos y platillos la llegada de su Jugador Franquicia Juvenil. Cuando el jugador ya había llegado al club, el club lo presentó a la afición y lo tuvieron en varios eventos, sin saber que horas después conocerían la verdad detrás de los problemas en los cartílagos de su rodilla derecha. Este video con la afición salió al aire después del primer día de entrenamientos del equipo:


Por último, ¿debería estar sorprendido el mismo Trencito? Puede que si. Siempre activo en Twitter, el joven delantero documentó varias entradas en la red social, y saltan a la vista unas en particular:

Un jugador dudoso de su estado físico no gritaría a los cuatro vientos (¿eso es lo que Twitter hace verdad?) que se hará exámenes médicos.

Lo único que queda es desearle al Trencito Valencia mucha suerte con la cirugía y una pronta recuperación y aplaudir a los Timbers por no rendirse y velar por su rehabilitación.

31 January 8:34 pm

In the history of US youth soccer, there are three absolute stand-outs, guys who were so can't miss that they made coaches, teammates, scouts and – especially – agents giddy at what the future would hold.

First was Claudio Reyna, who turned down Barcelona to play at the University of Virginia in the early 1990s.

Next was Landon Donovan, who won the Golden Ball at the 1999 U-17 Youth World Cup.

And then there was Charles Renken.

(No, Freddy Adu was not in this group. While considered a very good prospect, most serious scouts and managers didn't consider him to be "can't miss.")

Renken was as polished a prospect as they come. In the 2007 Nike Friendlies against Brazil, the midfielder – then just 14 – didn't dribble circles around the Samba Boys. He didn't explode out of the pack at a gallop, displaying a sprinter's turn of pace.

Instead he just feinted, the ball glued to his foot, and slipped a pass to a teammate. Time and again three yellow kits would close around him; time and again he'd slip Joe Gyau or Stefan Jerome through. Renken was possessed of an otherworldly ability to handle pressure, a sort of soccer aikido that you're either born with or not.

This was the American Xavi. Every team in the world wanted him, and wanted him badly.

Then he blew out his right knee in a training session. A year later, he did it again.

It's been three years since that second ACL injury, and now Renken has slipped quietly through the waiver wire to land with the Portland Timbers. 1899 Hoffenheim let him go for nothing, and 18 MLS teams passed on the chance to sign him on a free.

Does that mean he's broken beyond repair? That the Timbers ponied up for damaged goods, similar to how Chivas USA brought John O'Brien in for a cup of coffee in the 2006 season?

I don't know – no one really does, and no one really will until the kid has some time under his belt in the Rose City.

But we can hope. This isn't just for Timbers fans, or US fans; it's for soccer fans. Renken has the kind of talent that everyone can enjoy, the ability and preternatural gifts that make you think "This is why I love this game."

That's what we saw on the field four years ago against Brazil. If the soccer gods are kind, I'd love to see it again.

31 January 8:01 pm

Kris Boyd doesn't know it yet but he has more than just MLS defenders he'll be contending with every weekend in the USA.

Portland's new designated player already has a minimum goal target he MUST hit in 2012 to even qualify as a moderately successful signing: nine.

That's the total that would surpass Kenny Cooper's production from last year in a Timbers jersey.

And make no mistake about it: By offloading Cooper on SuperDraft day and committing the big bucks to Boyd, the Timbers absolutely need Boyd to have the better season this year.

It will be the game-within-the-game to watch throughout 2012. Who is the more productive player in MLS? Boyd may not know who New York's Cooper is yet, but you have to figure Cooper, for one, will be checking Boyd's stat line every weekend.

They are very different players -- Boyd is considered a natural scorer while Cooper enjoys playing outside the box -- but in the end both will be judged by the ultimate measure of a striker's success: balls in the back of the net (and assists). And Boyd has the edge going into it purely based on his characteristics.

If the Scotsman does not bang them in for Portland, then it would likely point to wider personnel issues for the Timbers (do the wingers provide enough service? do the central midfielders have enough ideas?).

And in that scenario, the much-maligned Cooper would come out smelling like, well, roses.



30 January 5:32 pm

Portland's inking of Scottish international Kris Boyd, a one-time finishing factory for Rangers, adds yet another name to the small, but growing, list of all-time scoring leaders now under the employ of a Major League Soccer club.

The Scotsman sticks out from the crowd though as his crown is for scoring within a domestic league; the other four names on the list hold their titles for scoring for their respective countries.

  • Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy): the all-time scoring leader for the USMNT
  • Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls): France's all-time scoring leader
  • Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy): the all-time scoring leader for the Republic of Ireland national team
  • Dwayne DeRosario (D.C. United): Canada's all-time scoring leader
  • Kris Boyd (Portland Timbers): the Scottish Premier League's all-time scoring leader

Not bad company to be in, is it?

Boyd may not have the name recognition that the others have south of Hadrian's Wall but if he can bring his penchant for finishing to Portland you can guarantee that the Timbers faithful will not only know his name but also work it into a song or two...providing they can find something that rhymes with "Boyd" other than "void", "tabloids" and "Altoids".