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Sunday, April 02, 2006


Saturday's scrimmage was a perfect trailer for the coming season. Just enough excitement, hints at the plot to be drawn by Chris Agnello, but with enough held back to keep the excitement simmering.

Thanks to the wisdom of crowds there are already some fantastic pictures, an almost complete list of trialists and in depth analysis of Saturday's affairs, but here's my tuppence.

Scrimmages by their nature favor the brave and the fast. Certain types of players stand out and it's no surprise that Luke Kreamalmeyer and Michael Nsien were the players on most peoples minds after the 2 games (Timbers 2-0 Seattle U and Timbers 1-1 U of W for the record).

Kreamalmeyer, fast and with great ball control on the right will mean that Hugo's role will probably be altering this year, maybe his desire to play a more attacking midfield role will come to pass.

Nsien was chomping at the bit coming forward from the back and anyone still looking for a Sancho-like player will be looking his way this season.

It also shouldn't surprise anyone that these 2 stood out because, on this brief viewing, their style exemplifies the Agnello style. He doesn't seem to be a fan of the slow build-up, particularly in the final third and showed a little impatience at some of the players when attacks slowed.

Troy Ready looked effective, Oral Bullen fast and tenacious and Randolph quick but slightly tentative maybe.

It's the players at either end who have a harder time shining in a scrimmage and forwards Drew McAthy and trialist Jaime Ambriz didn't get much chance to stand out.

The man known only at Sergio was a bit of an enigma. He got enough playing time and someone commented that prior to the scrimmages Agnello gave the impression that he knew the player well. He gave off a Fadi-like vibe to me, playing slightly behind the front line.

[update: The consensus is that Sergio is former RSL-er Sergio Flores who was the only Utahn on the RSL roster at one point. His story can be read here. In that article is says that his was a longtime forward who was asked to play in defence by the RSL coach, which explains why he was playing a forward role on Sat.]

[Update: Now thought to be Sergio IƱiguez rather than Flores! This Sergio seems to have played college soccer in Arizona (Yavapai (again!), Grand Canyon U and also the Atlanta Silverbacks]

Another thing that stood out (or rather didn't!) was the "U" shape of this team. Yes, I'm talking height. As predicted from the player bios the midfield looks short...almost comically so at times, but fast paced and skillful. Add in the rumored return of Edwin Miranda and we're officially into "exciting" territory.

The other thing that wasn't a surprise based on what we have heard about, and from Agnello is that he will not be afraid of change. A couple of times a seeming exasperation with a trialist resulted in a quick change (often to moans from friends and/or family in the stands). The large roster obviously allows him to do that, so expect substitutions both tactical and based on on-the-day performance.

What else?

The all important hair:

Kreamalmeyer - a bouncing head of curls held back by a thin band (not the only one on display)

Zimmerman - revenge of the purple fringe.

Rudolph - No Afro! Shame!

Overall though the thing that impressed more than any individual performance was the team play as a whole and the atmosphere surrounding Agnello and Wilkinson. All in all a good sign.

Returning to the movie trailer metaphor for a second, we know that they can be an art-form all to themselves and often bare no relation to the finished product, but if the main event lives up to this then it's going to be an exciting year for the Portland Timbers.

posted by the timberlog at 9:30 PM

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