Portland Timbers Player Rankings #15: Sal Zizzo

Jonathan Ferrey

Arguably the Timbers' best-coiffed player, speedy midfielder Sal Zizzo is number #15 in our countdown.

2012 got off to a slow start for Sal Zizzo as worked his was back from the ACL tear that brought his 2011 season to an unfortunate end. His first appearance last season wasn't until the May 15th match against the Houston Dynamo, the same team the Timbers were playing seven months earlier when Zizzo sustained the injury.

Although Zizzo spent his off season and preseason rehabbing his knee instead of participating in regular trainings, he came back an improved player, better at using his speed and less likely to simply put his head down and dribble into a double team, his signature move in 2011. Nonetheless, it was the middle of August before Zizzo grabbed a spot as a regular starter for the rest of the season.

Although Zizzo's form rode the same roller coaster as the rest of the team, he was exceptionally fun to watch when he was "on." In just his third start of the season, he assisted both Timbers goals against the New York Red Bulls, one with a perfect through ball to Darlington Nagbe and the other with a patient square pass to Bright Dike as the two of them faced four defenders. His lone goal and all four of his assists came in that period at the end of the season.

Should He Stay?

Yes. Zizzo needs to keep improving and getting more concrete results (i.e. more assists and goals), otherwise he's just another player loaded with that word I'm starting to hate: potential. If he continues improving though, his speed combined with better crossing and decision-making, would give opposing defenses fits and create tons of chances for Zizzo and his teammates. We have seen enough positives from Zizzo that we all think the Timbers should keep him around in 2013.

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