What a game, right? It had it's highs, it's lows and it's moments of sheer exhilaration. Throughout it all, the Portland Timbers seemed to never give up the hope that they could win earn all three points. Unfortunately, they'll settle for a draw, partly due to the defensive woes of a single player: Mikael Silvestre.
There's no doubt about it. The media certainly pointed it out. Caleb Porter admitted it after the game. Even Silvestre, himself, admitted that the first half was a very poor performance from the veteran defender. Silvestre was pretty much directly responsible for the first two goals and he really could have done a bit better on the third as well (though it was Andrew Jean-Baptiste that lost his man). Despite his first game, however, I wouldn't be so quick to condemn him.
There is no excuse for Silvestre's first half and I certainly have no intention of supplying any. He wasn't ready for MLS last night, plain and simple. That said, we've seen what kind of defender he can be. We saw it in the second half. Silvestre, for all his woes in the first half, was a completely different player in the second. He marked his men. He made daring tackles when needed. It wasn't perfect, but it was a far better performance. We saw it in the preseason as well when Silvestre was very capable of marking and tackling MLS forwards.
There's still a lot for Silvestre to prove. Perhaps he wasn't good enough for Arsenal or Werder Bremen in his twilight years and last night's first half certainly didn't inspire confidence, but we've seen where he can be valuable on the field. It might take a few weeks or maybe even a couple months, but as of this moment there's no reason to suspect that Silvestre should be sent packing after 45 minutes of poor play.
Consistency is key in soccer and it's perhaps a little unfair for Silvestre to not be given the chance to show he can be consistent, despite the fact that he had the worst premiere ever in MLS for a veteran defender.
And hey! At least he didn't score an own goal in his premiere. Thanks again for that one Jamison Olave!
What do you think about Silvestre's first game? Should he be given a chance to be consistent?