Valeri, Valer-aha-ha-ha…

The Timbers appear to have secured the temporary services of Argentine midfielder Diego Valeri.

I find this satisfying for two reasons:

First, because the player appears to provide something that the Timbers have needed for two years; a skilled playmaking midfielder.  While I don’t know much about the player himself, over at the Axe the post discussing this deal in which our correspondent sunshine describes him as:

“…that creative midfielder the timbers have needed since their mls inception, and he is the type of player the more observant and vocal supporters have been begging the management to sign.”

…as well as Sheba’s note in the comments that:

“Some of the most heartening comments I have read are from fans in Argentina who are baffled that he is wasting his talents in the MLS. As one fan in Argentina explained to me, they still think of the MLS as someplace 35 year olds go to retire. The fact that they see him as still having too much skill and talent to waste in the MLS speaks well of his potential.”

and, second, because this signing, to me, is a significant uptick on our Front Office’s professional judgement.

Until this off-season the Timbers management has seemed to have little judgement and less discipline in their signings.  Forwards were being logpiled in the training room as the midfield and backline went a-glimmering.  Players came, and went, or never arrived based on some peculiar wisdom that many of us standing outside the end- and touchlines couldn’t fathom.

Many of us, including many of the moderators and commentors to the online fora; here, at Stumptown Footy, at the Axe, at Dropping Timber, were screaming at the FO to rectify the right back and ACM situations at the end of the 2011 season.  Result?  Nothing.  Early in 2012 the ‘net was rich with the heady fumes of the same… fuming; WTF, Gavin?  WTF, Merritt?  You trade Cooper for an even more expensive, even more service-dependent striker… and then do nothing to provide service?

But… this signing has a different feel.  The Timbers need a playmaker to serve the ball up… and they go sign one.

Howaboutthat!

So the hope that is faintly sparking in the back of my head is that the Magpie Era of Timbers acquisitions is ending.

Mind you, in my opinion the outside-back situation is still unsettled, and we will see if this Valeri business is merely the exception that proofs the rule, or genuinely the sign that the management is beginning to think like soccer professionals wanting to compete at the top level in our country.  But we can hope.

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7 thoughts on “Valeri, Valer-aha-ha-ha…

  1. Very good article, John. I’m also excited by the signing, but can’t help but be cautious. Will Valeri work out the way Kris Boyd worked out (not a perfect parallel, I know) or will he be the missing link?

    Can anyone tell us if he’s our new designated player? Would that mean Boyd is gone? Or will Boyd stay and perhaps benefit from Valeri’s service?

    And of course, there’s the outside back situation.

    I’d love for one of our experts to write another “depth chart article,” but maybe that should wait. We may be signing and releasing a lot of players in the next few weeks, which, of course, is exciting in its own right.

    1. I think the IDEA is that he’s the linkup player we’ve been missing – that he can provide the service FOR Boydie, or whoever we have running upfront next season. Whether he can do this…I don’t know. But at least if he’s as advertised he’s got that potential, and after having been missing-and-not-addressed that need the fact that the FO did this deal gives me at least hope that some things are changing in those upstairs offices…

      As for the DP, I don’t think he counts, as he is a loan and not an outright signing. Assuming the team DOES end up signing him then, yes, I think he would count against our DP numbers but that’s purely a guess; I don’t pretend to understand the byzantine MLS player eligibility rules.

      And, again, this deal makes me hope that the FO is working on some sort of plan to bring in some experience at outside back. I like the Harrington signing, another move that gives me some hope that we’re actually thinking about the players we’re dealing for and not just going on the “Oooh! Shiny! Pretty!” form that a certain GM and owner (and, possibly, former coach) seemed to rely on in seasons past…

  2. All the new coming to the team is exciting for hope of better performance (and to stave off the jones).
    But all that new is going to take some time to gel and that includes personalities as well as game play.
    I feel something positive in the works for our team; I wonder how long it will take until the new engine fires on all its cylinders.

    1. It might be obvious in the spring. Or it may take until mid-season. Or it may never happen; sometimes all the pieces look like they’re there but somehow the players never manage to gel as a team.

      That’s where we are going to need both some better work from the sideline AND, I think, a more visible presence on the pitch.

      I always got the sense that both Spencer and Gavin never really had a grasp of what was going on out there. Their starting elevens never seemed to have any relationship to where or who we were playing. Their substitutions seemed either random or ineffective or (sometimes) outright disastrous. And I thought that their lack of tactical nous extended to our play.

      We heard a lot of talk last season about the players jaking it, or lacking “heart”. But what I saw was usually, rather, players with a strong feeling of helplessness. They were tossed out on the pitch without a tactical plan, without a scheme to either impose their style of play on their opponent or take advantage of that opponent’s weaknesses. Not surprisingly, that shit didn’t work. So the other team would stymie us, start imposing THEIR play on us…and the guys looked at the sideline and there would be Spencer shouting, or Gavin frowning, with no clue as to what to do or how to do it. At that point – lacking an experienced leader ON the pitch – the heads would start to go down. They’d conclude that they were beat. And they would be.

      And the lack of an onfield creator or leader meant that there was no help there, either. Look at the great teams, the winning teams and you’ll nearly always find someone, or a couple of players, who are out there creating chances, marshalling their teammates, imposing themselves on the game. Now try and think of a time you saw a Timber doing that.

      So if these signings are to become effective, well…there needs to be more intelligence and creativity on the sideline and more grit and discipline on the pitch. If we’re lacking in any of those areas, well, all the talent and – gawdhelpus – “potential” won’t be worth a lick.

  3. It’s a definite step in the right direction. Signing a new fitness coach also addresses our late game flop, having a new video scout also addresses us not having a winning game plan for particular teams and players. I am hopeful that all this will lead to better team play on the field. Does anyone know if Caleb Porter knows Spanish at all? If he doesn’t he should start learning it immediately.

    1. Kevin’s latest post has a good discussion of how the difference in the possession style Porter favors will help with the late-match collapses. Spencer had an old-school rush-forward-rush-back setup that took a lot out of the fullbacks and wingers. Porter? Not so much. Combine this with the change in trainers and I’m hoping that we’ll see fewer late goals-against in the coming season.

      The Timbers can obtain the services of interpreters as needed, so coaching-in-Spanish doesn’t seem to be so much of an issue. If Porter has a tactical plan and adjusts it to fit the opponent and the match we’re facing, and makes sure the players understand their roles in it I think he’ll be doing fine.

      If he can do that, and the players are skilled and professional enough to be able to execute, then language shouldn’t be an issue. “Man on!” and “Goal side!” don’t really need a lot of translation, anyway…

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