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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Fadi on Agnello

Ever since the announcement of the appointment of the Timbers' new coach/GM Chris Agnello there has been feverish speculation as to what 2006 will bring for the Portland Timbers.

Most of this speculation involves players from last season's team, but one point that should be made is that this is no different from each year since the Timbers returned to Portland. Every year questions about budget, returning players and new signings have been at the top of fans lists, the only difference this year is that the face at the top is new giving yet another layer of uncertainty.

One Timbers' player from last year who knows Agnello well is Fadi Afash so it was good to talk to Fadi today and get to ask a few questions about the Timbers' new boss.

"Believe it or not I was the last person to know he was even applying for the job. He called me up and said 'I can't believe you didn't call me up to congratulate me'!".

"He is a great manager, and he knows how to win it. He likes to build from the back, we didn't get a lot of goals against and that's why in Utah not many teams could score against us...that's his style."

I asked Fadi about how Agnello would be able to juggle the different parts of his job.

"(In Utah) He ran everything from the small things to the big things..I think we'll be in good shape. As for Portland, he'll get used to it ...he's been doing it for a while...he won't have any problem with it."

Then I asked Fadi about his own plans next year and (as much as any player will know at this stage) he was positive.

"I am meeting with Chris in January and we'll go from there. I know who I am for him and we won a lot of stuff together."

"I love this team I love playing here. I'm getting ready for next season, I think I'll be with the Timbers."

Fadi expressed disappointment in his playing time last season (Fadi played only 181 minutes).

"I was surprised that some people think I'm the highest paid in the team...(last year) I was the lowest believe it or not. "

"People keep saying injury, but I did my surgery 3 years ago, after that I have no problem...but I was disappointed last year with my playing time...when you play more you get more chances....you don't play, how are you going to score?...I didn't start any game...very disappointing. With all respect to Bobby I don't think he gave out time in the proper way."

I asked about possible players for next season and Fadi made some informed guesses.

"New players, especially the back. Our back was not good...It's hard to know exactly. In my opinion he (Agnello) knows how to get good players in cheap ways. He doesn't like to spend tons of money on finding players."

"I know he's going to bring a goalkeeper/coach from England, probably for backup ...i'm not sure exactly."

Fadi mentioned Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar as a key player for the Timbers last season and so I asked about him.

"I talked to Hugo the other day, we are close friends, I want to win the championship...just the little things make the difference, we have advantage, we have out turf, and I know Hugo, he want's to win it so I think he'll be back. "

I asked about the rumors linking Hugo with an MLS club and Fadi's response was that maybe he is/will be working out with MLS team to get in shape.

Asked about other players from last year Fadi mentioned that some players may be back, but some of the higher earners on the team may have to return with a pay cut. He thought that overall the player budget may be bigger due to the combining the GM/coach jobs.

"Chris knows how to run it. We have to add players, sometimes players look similar but one players does just a little thing different and that can make a huge difference in the game."

posted by the timberlog at 1:07 PM

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