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Wanted: Designated Striker - The Porterball Predicament

by Cody Carrete
Mar 20, 2014 12:03 AM EDT



A friend of mine had an argument against my criticism of Maxi Urrutti’s inability to score goals.

A basic rundown of the conversation is as follows:

Me: Urruti sucks. He doesn’t score enough.

Friend: Goal scoring stats are finicky. He hasn’t played enough games.

Me: More than 50 games is a decent sample size.

Friend: It doesn’t matter. The Timbers’ system is not predicated on an identified goal-scorer.

That is only the gist of the conversation; it actually took place over several hours of rapid-fire text messaging. Getting rid of Ryan Johnson, an obvious target forward, and replacing him with a 5’ 10” welterweight needs serious consideration. While I was not a fan of Johnson, he served an obvious role and added a dimension to the team. With Urruti, he is just another player who works hard and can play in a style that fits the team’s philosophy. While it is good to integrate well, the idea is to have options. Acquiring La Gata fills a role similar to Urruti (exhibited in that when Maxi comes off, Gaston fills that role and does not change his playing style).

The season thus far has done two things to my argument, both favorable in my opinion.

One - Urruti is neither a goal scorer nor a goal creator. both goals of the season came well after he was substituted for a completely different player (midfielders - Kalif vs. Philadelphia and Steve vs. Chicago). He has scored one goal in 2014, against Houston Dynamo in preseason. The more games that pass, the stronger my arguments for his ineffective grows.

Two - My buddy and I went on to discuss predication and that goals will eventually come from all over the field. Thus far, this has not been the case. I said the Timbers may try to have multiple goal scorers but they still need someone who can grab the headlines when the teammates are not putting it in the net. This person has turned out to be La Gata. Nobody sees where other goals will come from. Will Johnson had a gaping goal and did not put it in. Kah had a header in the early minutes against Philadelphia but was denied. Valeri is seriously misfiring. Nagbe is drifting into and out of games. And the man in question had a one-on-one with only McMath and he screwed that up as well. If he keeps being the game-saver, he will undoubtedly receive the tag as their main striker, whether they play in that system or not. With two vital goals in the same number of matches, PTFC looks like they may be relying on him for some time.

Saturday's match at Colorado will tell us which way this team is going.

In the squad
0%

Bench him
100%