We finally have our answer regarding the Mystery Man from Colombia. It was rumored last week that Colombian national team member Jorge Perlaza might be joining the Philadelphia Union for the upcoming MLS season. We now know that those reports were unfounded. Instead Perlaza is set to join the Portland Timbers on trial this week in California. Here is a quick look at what we know about the newest Timber:
You hate to jump to conclusions, but I am always weary of players who have had issues with previous clubs. According to this (and other articles) he is leaving Deportes Tolima after a much publicized contract dispute. My understanding is that he was holding out for more money, but that Deportes Tolima was unwilling to renegotiate his contact. There is no way to know how big of a factor this was in his decision to seek a move, but it’s certainly worth noting.
I have never seen Perlaza play on television, let alone in person, so it is hard to develop a complete opinion, but here is what I have deduced from the videos available on Youtube. Below are the links that I will reference:
Speed: Jump to 3:05 on jorge perlaza01
Header finishing: He is only 5’7" (according to ESPNsoccernet) but when he gets his head on a cross he seems to do good things with it
Production: We all know that stats can lie, but with that said, this is pretty good production in what many consider the third best league in South America: 28 appearances (23 starts) during current season => 15 goals
Ball skills: Seems to lose the ball a lot when he goes 1-on-1
Distributing: Does not appear to be a distributor
Shot: Does not appear to have the ability to shoot from distance
Crossing: Does not even look to cross the ball, let alone put in a quality ball
The jury is still out on Jorge Perlaza until we get a chance to see him live against MLS competition. But I am intrigued by his pace and production in the top league in Colombia. Considering all the speculation that has been circulated regarding this signing, it does feel a little underwhelming. But in the end, it sounds like the Timbers FO is extremely pleased with this addition and you know what, they are a far better judge of soccer talent than I.
I can’t wait to see Perlaza and the rest of the squad in action.
Geoff's note: It's quick to point out that Perlaza isn't signed by our team yet, negotiations are still, reportedly, far from final. In addition, there are other MLS and European teams looking at Perlaza. At this point we simply can't say where he is ultimately going to end up.