Yesterday the Portland Timbers brought on board midfielder Brad Ring, a player with only five MLS matches played in the last two years. Ring went the full 90' against the Timbers in the San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 tie against the Timbers back in September of 2011, but has not seen the field against the Timbers in any the six match ups against San Jose since then.
With so little game time for Ring recently, we got a hold of Nerdy Gales of our SB Nation sister site Quake, Rattle, and Goal to fill us in on the Timbers' latest addition.
I was just hoping to get some background on Brad Ring and his last few years with the Earthquakes. Specifically, what kept him from playing for the last two years after seeing significant time in 2011? Was he injured or just not good enough?
I don’t recall Ring having any issues with long term injuries, so I don’t believe that has any relevance to his lack of playing time. His lack of time on the senior squad coincided with the arrival of Rafael Baca at the tail end of 2011. Brad Ring, in my opinion, appears to be a fusion of Sam Cronin and Rafael Baca, and loses out to Baca on speed and Cronin on creativity – not a ding on Ring (ouch) but more of a reflection of the strengths of Baca and Cronin.
With the arrival of Baca, Ring essentially became a reserve squad player. The Earthquakes midfield was pretty stacked, especially for holding midfielders. I believe it speaks to former coach Frank Yallop’s opinion of Ring that he wasn't cut at that time, and he was switched to defense for the 2012 reserve season. Obviously this comes with a period of adjustment for any midfielder, but Ring knuckled down without complaint and got on with learning the positioning.
Also, what would you say his strengths/weaknesses are?
Strengths: This year his senior starts have been on the back line. In the summer friendly against EPL’s Norwich City he kept the Dutch star forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel (yes, his real name) in check and dealt with him very effectively. His tackling skills are excellent and he’s not afraid of physical contact, earning his fair share of yellow cards.
Weaknesses: A bit of a Jack of all trades – not stellar at any one skill, but competent at most. Of course, this may be what attracted Caleb Porter’s attention – they were both Hoosiers, so I have to think Porter already knew Ring’s attributes. If the Timbers are hurting at midfield or defense, it’s easy to see that Brad Ring could slot in at several positions.
And here is a summary from Nerdy:
Brad Ring is a stand-up guy who was willing to transition to a new defender position to help the team, and earned respect for not complaining.
Now that the Quakes have made so many defensive acquisitions he finds himself in second string again – with the likes of Bernardez, Beitashour, Morrow, Goodson (All Stars and national team players) keeping him on the bench.
He could be the sort of player that with regular playing time would continue to develop into a good defender and is already a capable midfielder. Given the Timbers' small outlay to acquire his skills, it's a great move for the club and for Ring - I hope it works out for him.
Thanks again to Nerdy and the rest of the folks over at Quake, Rattle, and Goal for the info.