"Trencito" Valencia's arrest adds to Timbers' troubles
PORTLAND, Ore. — The hits keep coming for the Portland Timbers.
In addition to explaining the side's fifth-consecutive loss, to Chivas USA on Saturday, after Tuesday's training session at JELD-WEN Field, interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson was also forced to address the arrest of first-year forward Jose Adolfo Valencia on Monday night.
Valencia, 20, was arrested in nearby Beaverton for interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest, the Beaverton Police Department reported.
Wilkinson said the team has been in contact with Valencia and the Beaverton Police Department and are waiting to see what, if any, crime he is charged with before taking action.
"I think there's been a lot of people jumping to conclusions very, very quickly," Wilkinson said. "I think what we need to do is let this play out and see what all the facts are when they come out and how they get presented. Obviously it's a headline right now, but I think people are jumping to conclusions without knowing the full story."
Police reported to the apartment building where Valencia lives Monday night after neighbors reported a man and a woman yelling and doors being slammed.
Officers say Valencia refused to stop or acknowledge them as he tried to get into his car. After a brief struggle with an officer, according to police reports, Valencia was detained.
Wilkinson said the team believes that a language barrier between the officers and Valencia, a native of Colombia, may have been a factor.
"I think once all the information comes out we'll see that the language barrier presented some huge hurdles," Wilkinson said.
Officer Mike Rowe, a spokesman for the Beaverton Police Department, said he couldn't comment on whether language played a role in the incident.
"But I think that when a police officer is telling you to stop, and you see someone in uniform, I would think that whatever language you speak, that would be universal," Rowe said.
Valencia was signed as a Young Designated Player in the offseason, but he has yet to appear for the Timbers. He underwent knee surgery on Feb. 6 to repair damaged cartilage, an injury that was discovered at the outset of preseason training camp. Wilkinson said last week that there was a chance Valencia could start training with the team by September.
He is scheduled to be arraigned at the Beaverton Municipal Court on Aug. 13.
"He's a 20-year-old kid," Wilkinson said. "He's not a bad person. He's gone through a rough year. But that doesn't excuse him from anything he's done wrong if he's done anything wrong. He's obviously devastated. The club has put a lot of time into him as a person and player, and he feels like he's let the club down at the moment. And that's the right response from him at the moment."
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.