Eric Alexander joined the Timbers in August of 2011 after successful rookie and sophomore campaigns with FC Dallas during which he scored two goals in 39 appearances. His first few months with the Timbers featured just three starts and five appearances overall, as he struggled to combine fully with his new teammates. Coach John Spencer was excited about him nonetheless, writing off his uneventful first appearances and telling reporters his best games had yet to come.
He began the 2012 season at full sprint, starting the first five matches and logging three assists, including feeding Darlington Nagbe twice at home against Real Salt Lake. As the season went on, though, he appeared less and less frequently with the first team, especially after Spencer's tenure as head coach ended.
Still, he led the team with assists in 2012, with six. Yes, detractors will point out that a couple of them were just set-piece tee-ups for Kris Boyd, but he also had quite a few key passes that led to goals but didn't qualify as assists; e.g., Bright Dike's equalizer against San Jose. And the number of times his shots hit the post in 2012 was almost Kalif-Alhassan-like in its frustratiness.
Overall I'm going to miss EA. His disheveled hair and fondness for video games endeared him to a city full of disheveled video-gamers. And he's clearly a smart, funny guy -- definitely one to continue following on Twitter.
On the field, he's not a flashy player -- not a lot of Franck-Songo'o-like footwork nor Sal-Zizzo-like sprints to the end-line. But he was often more effective than his flashier teammates at moving the ball forward, thanks to his adroit one-touch passing and excellent vision on the pitch. Unfortunately, those talents were of a bit less use on the wings, where he spent most of his time as a Timber. Had he been given the chance to play his preferred position in the central midfield, he might have developed into a Kyle-Beckerman-like playmaker.
He may yet now, with the New York Red Bulls. Best of luck to you, Eric.
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