You remember, of course. A strong first few games and the local press, fans, announcers, and MLS alike were all touting our #6 as a true star and saviour. MLS, in its infinite desire to find faces and personalities for its league, wasted no time in hooking onto a potential marketing tool.
You also remember the script veered far off course after that. And to the present, there are a lot of people who are rather unfairly down on ol' Darlington. Very quick expectations got very, very high and that resulted in a lot of unnecessary pressure on Nagbe, IMHO...which effected his play and resulted in disappointment.
If instead you considered who he really is (a boon to the squad, a better than average MLS attacker who contributes steadily and significantly if not producing consistent plays for the highlight reel) then one can feel quite happy with his contributions to the squad.
I mention all of this only because, once again, a new season...a new "Nagbe". Press, announcers, MLS. and fans are now are wearing their hearts on their sleeves for Valeri.
A rather silly and poorly-crafted Mercury article this week which read more like a commercial, people here on the blog swooning at the feet of the handsome midfielder as the second-coming, and more gushing from the pre-game and game announcers have perhaps already raised expectations of the midfielder to unnecessary levels. ( I sometimes wonder why being Argentine or Brazilian on an MLS squad seems to automatically get MLS fans to perk up and sit at the edge of their seats. Consider for a moment that these are Argentines or Brazilians who have taken the path to play in the USA...and not Europe or the stronger leagues in S. America. There's a reason for that; and the reason isn't because "they prefer playing in the USA").
Don't get me wrong...I like the guy. He's pretty good. He has displayed some craftiness and thrills. But he has also disappeared at times. Just note that his performance vs. the Sounders was very inconsistent. This may be because he was being keyed on (the same way Nagbe was being keyed on once he had his coming-out party early last season), or it may be because this was the best team the T's have played so far this year.
But it could also be that right off the bat, there is a bit of a romantic circus swirling around the young man which may not necessarily be beneficial to the team or the player. It remains to be seen as to whether the midfield playmaker position has actually been upgraded from 2012. This you can say about a number of positions on the field. Remains to be seen.
It's fun to be excited...I just hope that if Valeri turns out not to be the Great Hope he is being hyped as, the love affair doesn't turn south in a bad way.