As of draft day, and discounting players (Kocik, RJ) we are assuming as traded or released, it looks like the roster is currently at 30. This could be it for the offseason-- but should it be?
Listing players at only one position, or what I assume to be their most likely position, although they might play more than one, I count:
Ricketts, Gleeson, Weber
Paparatto, Silvestre, Kah, Futty, Gallego, Peay
Jewsbury, Harrington, Powell, Villafana
Chara, WJ, Zemanski, Ring, McKenzie, Long?
Nagbe, Valeri, Zakuani, Alhassan, Wallace, Evans, Nanchoff
Urruti, Gata, Piq, Tshuma
(on a side note-- anyone familiar with Argentinian Spanish know why/when double tts are used? We have uRRuti, and paparaTTo, and I'm going to mess up the spelling all year. not used to those double Ts)
To start the year, I predict the gameday 18 at:
Piquionne OR Villafana
That looks like a pretty fair group to me, but with a couple months to go in the offseason, I wonder if this is the strongest group we can get, and if we're satisfied having these 30 players locked into the roster to start the year. We have several players who are long-term prospects, but we'll have those every year. In a perfect world the whole group would be closer in quality than I think these players are.
Areas where I think we can fear a drop-off in quality if the starters aren't available:
GK? While I like Gleeson, many on this forum feel his development has stagnated, and Weber doesn't impress me at all.
FB? for once it feels like we have a bit of depth on the backline, especially on the right. On the left I don't know how much faith to put in Villafana and it seems many on this forum see left back as a weak spot. It's nice that at least it seems we have 4 viable CB options.
DM: for me this on is a glaring problem. Chara and Johnson are the engine of the midfield and when they aren't BOTH on the pitch the team looks worse. I don't like ANY of the backups at the position enough to want to keep them if a solid trade became available that could challenge for a starting position or at least sub in with no drop off.
Forward? with the loss of Ryan Johnson the team really doesn't have a known quantity at the forward position for the first time in its MLS history. Love them or hate them, Cooper, Boyd, and RJ all came to Portland and produced more or less as expected. even the underperforming Boyd and Cooper were still good for a little less than 10 goals a year, and not radically far off their career averages--(well, Boyd was significantly down from his time at rangers and scored 6 in 12 appearances in 2011, and Cooper only appeared in 20 games between 2009 and 2011, but maybe the fact that both underperformed at the early MLS timbers says more about the timbers than them.) The point is, Fernandez, for his career, seems like he's good for around 10 goals a season, and Urruti has only appeared in 64 professional games in his career, while Piquionne may not have consistent 90 minute appearances left in the tank. Is it worrisome that the Timbers are hanging their goalscoring hat on these 3 forwards?
To me it seems that if it came to it, about half the current roster would be expandable without a second thought.
With two DP slots available, have the Timbers made all the necessary moves in this offseason? Which areas would you prefer to address first, if we were going to see additional moves?
For me personally I'd like to see depth at central mid be a priority. I don't see a potential starter in that group after Chara and Johnson-- I see stopgaps. maybe zemanski or someone else will open my eyes this year, but I would love to see someone else so strong in the group that they were pushing johnson and chara and might even be selected over one of them depending on form in a given week or the upcoming game situation. I think the overall roster is a lot stronger and deeper this year than last, but when you wouldn't feel bad about losing half the roster, I wonder if we couldn't yet pull off a few things to tighten the whole group.