Timbers' Weekly: Comings and Goings

OK, to be totally honest I'm still catching up on this whole follow-the-Portland-Timbers project (and, if I'm being honest about it, this has as much to do with getting me to pay attention to them...unless, that is, something I've got in the back of my head pans out). So, bear with me till I find the second beat in my rhythm (crap...that word must be Welsh). And, no matter what I do, I seriously doubt I'll ever keep up with the people who run the Soccer City USA message board. I mean, based on one message thread I just read, these people all but buttonhole the players for information*.


The big news of the week, I suppose, is the signing of a new forward, goes by the name of David Hague (a shock of red hair, like the fires of Hell...). The press release linked to there constitutes the first time I've ever heard of Hague or Grand Canyon University, where he played his college ball - and well, from the looks of it. Obviously, I don't have much to pass on here, but the Timbers Blog posted a thought or two on this as well.

Speaking of the ever-useful (for Timbers' fans anyway) Timbers Blog, it got a facelift! It's a new change, and it looks better than most real-world facelifts, but, also like the real thing, the body carrying that new face, in this case Oregonlive.com, is pretty dang rickety. In fact, you'd have to walk halfway 'round the world to find a clunkier web-site. We're talking the Third World. Seriously. When you hit the ocean, keep walking.

The addition of Hague takes us to the question of what the 2007 Timbers roster does, or even will, look like. The Timbers Blog posted the most recent list of signed players (and it's on the new site already) and, there, I'm counting a total of, um, 14 players...and no goalkeeper. Hmmm. On the upside, we can at least field a team at this point - provided we shift a midfielder into goal, or something - and some of those players (think Kreamalmeyer) ain't shabby. Still, a body gets to wondering where all the players that show on the roster posted on the official United Soccer League's Division 1 site are these days.

All's I can say, is I'll keep my eyes peeled.

This brings me to the message board. The fact that I (may have) completely missed the departure of Hugo Alcarez-Cuellar's departure to the hated Seattle Sounders (see...that's the thing; did I miss it? or have I just forgotten remembering it?) says plenty about my head's familiarity with my ass when it comes to Timbers' news. In any case, Hugo is gone, which does kinda suck, 'cause he's been pretty useful on the right wing over the past couple of seasons. Anyway, there's a lively discussion on this subject on the message boards and a video of Alcarez-Cuellar highlights interspersed with the Seattle Sounders logo.

Another thing that appears on the message boards - and this one picks up steam and gets weird and stalker-esque* around page 6 of the Alcarez-Cuellar thread - is chatter about the potential departure of Byron Alvarez. The thought of trading Alvarez is a tricky proposition: while injury has limited his appearances, he's one of the few genuine "impact players" for the Timbers - e.g. he's capable of doing something special to change a game almost on his own, at least on the USL Division 1 level. To draw a distinction, a guy like Alcarez-Cuellar plays consistently and well, but he can't quite do what Alvarez can. So, on the one hand, Portland would lose a hell of a player if Alvarez moves on; on the other, he's been hobbled enough that one could view this as a "John O'Brien" situation, e.g. what good is a great player if he can't play?

Anyway, that's it for now. I saw talk of some preseason games on the message boards - a couple that look like they'll be played in Portland to boot (very good) - though I feel compelled to mention I think I saw this on the Timbers Blog, but didn't process the information correctly. Those sound like they're a ways off, so I'll talk about them more when we get closer. Who knows? I might even drag my munchkins to one of 'em.

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