When Troy Perkins was first announced back in December as a trade for our own Steve Cronin, I'll admit it, I wasn't a huge fan or supporter of his move here to Portland. Coming off a rough season with league bottom dwellers D.C. United, I was purely of the mind that had we should have kept Cronin and found a different goalkeeper altogether without any trades. Bottomline, I didn't want Cronin going anywhere because he was our goalkeeper.
But these things happen and the FO does what's best for the team, as we expect them to, and not what the fans might think is best (in that case keeping fan favorite Cronin despite there being better keepers out there).
Despite coming to this realization the day after the official trade went through, I remained guarded in my belief in Perkins. No offense intended, but goalkeeping is the one position where I'd prefer our keeper not be down on his luck and set aside as a starter for a team at the bottom of the league. Not to say he doesn't have the physical abilities, I was just more worried about his confidence and personality heading into the 2011 season.
Would he see Portland as just another expansion that had no hopes of winning MLS Cup 2011, or would he see it as an opportunity to rebuild his career and give it his all in a new city that is going to embrace the team and sport like no other in America? According to a couple of interviews/articles it's looking like the latter.
According to articles written by both OregonLive and PortlandTimbers.com, it looks like Perkins is coming to Portland of the mind that he's here to dispel any myth that he might not be a qualified goalkeeper anymore. PortlandTimbers.com has a quote of him saying: "I have a huge chip on my shoulder." This makes me happy.
I'm not an expert in terms of managing players, or getting a good feel for how they play. I've never been a coach nor have I ever played in any serious competitive matches. That said, however, in everything I do -- soccer related or not -- confidence plays a huge role. It affects everything I do and the quality of work I output. For Perkins it looks like with a move here he may be getting his confidence back. We know he has the skills, but playing in D.C., with the host of problems they have right now concerning stadium and financial issues, perhaps he simply wasn't ever able to find his confidence to play at his highest ability.
As Perkins says himself, he has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to fans who will expect a lot from him this season. I'm still a little wary of him, I like that he is seemingly taking it seriously.