Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Late Tackle 01 26 2017: Personnel and Strategy (and Goals) and a Red Flag on Any CV

This is once in a lifetime. Do NOT count on it.
Aiming for a quick one today…starting with the Portland Timbers, as I’m supposed to do when flow isn’t an issue…

Depth and Squad Rotation
Stumptown Footy posted something that I’m sure nearly anyone who finds this has already read so far. The article – titled something like “How Much Attacking Depth Is Too Much” (or, exactly that) – sort maps out, combines, and re-combines the personnel that the Timbers can throw at the opposition in the year ahead and that is obviously (probably?) of interest.

But what does it mean in practice?

People who know I exist/read my stuff know that I’ve been a big proponent of squad rotation in the past. Still a fan, if with a little more conscious emphasis on the rationale – e.g., it’s about timing and/or priming the team to win MLS Cup, with the Supporters’ Shield constituting either, 1) a totally (and I mean totally) separate prize; and/or 2) something that won’t always be the primary goal. To clarify #2 a bit, I see the circumstances that allow a team to win the Shield to work in the same rough way as it dawns on someone playing Hearts that things have shifted to where Shooting the Moon (or, here, winning the Shield) has become a live possibility.

If that seems like splitting hairs, well, that’s what we do here. For what it’s worth, I think the league blessed the Timbers with a favorable start to the year, one soft enough that it should reverse the team’s traditional, um, slow (crap) start. If Portland can pocket that, and land that mystery winger we keep hearing about (and also the depth pieces), playing with one eye on the Shield becomes a consideration. If/when things line up differently, hell yes, I want the Timbers rotating and frequently. That’ll keep the regulars fresh and the new guys connected.

And, to be clear, no, I’m not claiming that some ready plug-‘n’-play system exists. No matter what any team does, it’s trial, error, and a lotta crossed fingers. What I’m talking about above is the spirit and mentality behind the approach. OK, next…

Red Flags on the Bill of Sale
I’m not doing much with trades today (NOTE: they’re still happening), but two ran in this morning’s (refreshingly-timed) edition of The Kick Off, one that speaks to a good way to read risk on your team’s latest, sleekest acquisition before he takes the field.

The New England Revolution sorta announced (better, the team was plausibly(?) connected to) their second TAM-level defender this morning, in the person of Benjamin Angou. Even as all the teams listed on his CV provide some context, I can’t tell you how he’ll do for New England, or see boom or bust in his future. What that CV does suggest, though, is that Angou’ll be available to the Revs, for so long as he doth perform for them. Why? He’s enjoyed long stints wherever he’s gone and appears to have played steadily, two things that suggest durability. The caps for Cote d’Ivoire should get New England fans a little more giddy.

The rap sheet on another new arrival to the league – this one a fella named Baskhim Kadrii – that contains one note that should give Minnesotans more than their natural pause:
“He adds that Kadrii has a ‘very high ceiling but has been injury plagued,’ accounting for Kadrii’s limited time with Copenhagen.”
So, when’s the last time the word “plague” ended in anything good?

At any rate, given the grind that is life and play durability looms large on any CV. A player can have all the talent in the world, but that’s not gonna shake out to much if he keeps limping off the field. Just ask FC Dallas…

Also, Orlando City SC signed Jonathan Spector today (or maybe yesterday). That’s apropos to nothing in the above (except maybe durability). Just seems like a good pick up.

All for today. I have one thing I had to pull. Hope to get that out tomorrow. Also, hope I can put up something on the U.S. Men's Camp Cupcake Finale before we got on the other side of both games. We'll see how that goes. More later...

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