2016 hangover is officially over. What happened in the off season? Not so surprisingly, we learned that Nat Borchers and Lucas Melano would not be returning, while Rodney Wallace’s return to MLS did not go as many hoped. We raided Saprissa for David Guzman and Roy Miller. An all too familiar preseason, season-ending injury to Gbenga Arokoyo sealed the fate of Jack McInerney. We managed to keep Darlington Nagbe off the Celtic roster, and saw him return to the USMNT after Klinsman got fired. We added a former teammate of Diego Valeri in Sebastián Blanco, a player who in preseason already looks like he’s been with the team for a year. Meanwhile, completely unexpected Superdraft acquisition Jeremy Ebobisse has been quietly tearing it up in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. Developing talent or developed talent? It’s an odd numbered year, so we’re already in a good spot, but things sure are looking rosy! Bring it on!
Caleb Porter was spotted in Costa Rica doing some scouting. The reporters on hand asked hime the usual questions about who and what he was scouting for, and he gave the expected nonspecific answers, until about the 5:30 mark when the subject of Rodney Wallace was brought up. Surprisingly, Porter said they were still in contact, and he had in fact received a text from him a couple days earlier. Porter’s delivery made it seem like it was a purely social interaction, but it’s unlikely he would tip his hand in the event that it wasn’t. Still he did say “Who knows, maybe down the road we’ll get him back,” albeit with a big grin on his face. If you read Spanish, you can get the story at YashinQuesada.com, or watch the video after the jump.
After the dumpster fire that was the last week of our 2016 season, we knew changes were coming. There were a couple announcements that were a little bit of a surprise and, and welcome at the same time. First, Jack Jewsbury is retired from the pitch, but sticking around the Timbers organization as Director of Business Development. Many had speculated that he might return to the Kansas City area, so supporters were happy to learn that Captain jack is sticking around.
[Photos: (Clockwise top left) Gabriel De Los Rios, Craig Mitchelldyer, ESPN, Troy Wayrynen, Craig Mitchelldyer AP Photo/Steve Dykes]
Steven Taylor looks a little bit like Gary Numan. On the left, an uncredited photo from a Stumptown Footy article that chronicles Steven Taylor’s disastrous debut appearance for T2 over the weekend, in which he scored an own goal in the first 9 minutes, and shared the blame for at least one of the other goals before being subbed off after 60 minutes. He’s really getting raked over the coals in the UK Press. On the right, a picture of Gary Numan during a vintage performance of Are Friends Electric?. Numan was younger than Taylor when the video was shot. I could have chosen a later era picture of Numan for the comparison, but then I wouldn’t be able to include the video after the jump.
All the predictions are saying achilles tendon injury, which could mean the end of Nat’s career, especially at his age. We’re hoping for the best, Nat.
UPDATE: Speculation was correct. Nat Borchers did intact future his achilles tendon and will be out for the rest of the season. It’s a blow to the Timbers for sure, but a bigger one for Nat. Portland feels for you Nat!
There’s a nice bit of fluff in the UK edition of Yahoo Sports about Liam Ridgewell’s negotiation to extend his contract with Portland. The is excellent news. Common wisdom around Stumptown Footy had been he was most like not coming back, as evidenced by his recurring loan stints to English teams during our off season, and the fact that his children still live in the U.K. It’s not that they think he doesn’t like it here, more that they thought this was just an interesting, but limited diversion for Liam, and he would soon want to return home. So this is good news. The bad news for Liam atlas, is that journalists in the U.K. have apparently forgot what he looks like. A day after the article was published, it still shows a picture of Lucas Melano captioned as Liam Ridgewell.