Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Late Tackle 01 04 2017: On Rumors, Roy Miller, and Robot Referees

VAR, working prototype...

I’m gonna kick off this post with a standing rule for these posts: when it comes to rumored movement of players, I only care about those involving the Portland Timbers. With the rest, I’ll note only actual arrivals and departures and, unless I’ve actually watched the player in question, I’ll withhold judgment till I’ve got something to work with – e.g. Columbus Crew SC signed defender Jonathan Mensah (at the DP rate), Sporting Kansas City picked up a winger named Gerson Fernandes, and Real Salt Lake picked up Slovakian midfielder Albert Rusnack.

That is all. Elsewhere…

Some Speculation = OK
In the world of harmless (non-specific) speculation – which, here, I’ll just file under “the more you know” -’s Greg Seltzer compiled a list of 11 potential targets for ambitious MLS clubs. For Timbers fans, some guy has a similar running series over on Stumptown Footy (The Mystic Forest Scouting Report, Part 1 and Part 2). Between the three posts, the only names I can pick out are those connected to either MLS or the U.S. Men’s National Team. Still, thought I’d provide the service, because some names might mean something to all y’all.

Portland’s New, Old Defender
While Portland’s signing of former New York Red Bull, former Deportivo Saprissa, former…other Costa Rican defender Roy Miller has hardly set #RCTID twitter on fire, the Timbers DO need depth in defense, and Miller should provide coverage – perhaps even at central defense (news to me, but keeping an open mind). As noted in an earlier tweet, I have some vague recollection of Miller as something other than a lock-down defender, so I did a little follow up (very little). Once a Metro offered a grade that reads (roughly) in the B/B- range, but it also closed on this comment:

“In years past, this category would have been dominated by his lack of speed, difficulty tracking back after bombing forward in attack and an inability to put his long-range shots on frame. In 2015, it was simply being healthy and getting on the field.”
Ah, that firms up the memory a little, especially the long-range shots. There was also this from Empire of Soccer, a post that mostly demonstrates that Miller was a steady presence for as long as he played in New York.

My thought on Miller is pretty straightforward: I’m not hoping for much, but I’ll be plenty happy if he pans out. I dunno, maybe having Miller at left back could push Vytas Andriuskevicius to the left wing, but I’d wonder what that would screw up elsewhere.

I spotted an argument on twitter for Rennico Clarke to take over the role, and I’m fine with the experiment – even as I would prefer to stronger partner/mentor than Liam Ridgewell, 2016 edition. Put it all together and, yeah, still hoping/holding out for something bigger and shinier, especially in central defense.

…are a crock, predictive of nothing. Unless you’re just aching to see your team win the Supporters’ Shield, the first day of the season means nothing. Or won’t mean anything until the rest of the season finishes the story. Or I’m just bitter about Portland’s 2016…

A Note on Video Assistant Referee
There’s a note on this at the bottom of Grant Wahl’s 2017 Predictions (most of which are nearly weird enough to be fun). For all I know, I’m months behind on this, but I’m sharing because Wahl’s note was the first I’ve seen that listed the kinds of things that will be review via VAR. Here’s that:

“VARs will be used to review only four types of cases: goals, penalty decisions, red card incidents and mistaken identity. There won't be challenge flags or other time-consuming nonsense.”

Eh, I’m OK with it. Speaking personally, I’ll miss the mistakes. Injustice, so long as it’s randomly applied, makes things more dramatic, therefore more interesting…I swear sports people care too little about a good story.

OK, all for today. Back tomorrow (probably).

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