Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pa-Modou Kah: When a Former Player Goes to a Rival

I hear nothing, Tovarisch.
I had a complex relationship with former Portland Timbers defender Pa-Modou Kah. "Love/Hate" doesn't fit because I never hated Kah. Find him infuriating? Oh yeah, and on multiple occasions. But Kah also struck me as one of those locker room guys, an angle picked up in this article about Kah's move over the Canadian border. I remember a moment last season when he grabbed Darlington Nagbe in an embrace I can only call fatherly. It hinted at a large locker-room presence that Kah's bearing always suggested.

At any rate, yeah, Kah found himself a new home with the Vancouver Whitecaps. And I do wish him the best, absolutely I do...

...and, yet, at the same time, I look forward to seeing the Timbers exploit the holy shit out of his flaws as a defender. Topping that list: Kah is, hands-down, one of the worst ball-watchers I have seen in over 20 years of watching soccer. Time beyond counting last season, Kah stood transfixed in and around Portland's penalty area, eyes huge and locked on whichever opposition player carried the ball. Distance meant nothing. Meanwhile, behind him, half the opposing team ran and in out of Portland's area like they were putting on Swan Fucking Lake; they flapped their arms like goddamn birds as they called for the ball because they knew they were completely open and not a soul knew about it. Yeah, Kah lost track of his marks with sickening frequency.

Here's to old habits, my friend.

The above image comes to me as I think of Portland's central defense: the ol’ slow-mo walk-away with explosions blazing in the background...only Kah did not leave righteous havoc in his wake. Just the shocked disappointed sickness of....well, fucking up. I'm confident Kah felt that plenty last season.

The point is, Portland’s attacking players should know this failing and very, very well. And they should absolutely share it with the new guys. The Timbers have three games against the ‘Caps this season. Here’s to hoping we can pull nine points out of those games...with a little help from a former friend and mentor.

Hack the bone, people. Hack the bone…

(Look, some days I won’t talk about the biggest story (the USL Pro re-launch tops the shit out of the above), but it’s the thing about a dog-fight in Brooklyn mattering more than a war in Burma. Some news just hits closer to home.)

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