The MLS Player Combine continues today with a second round of games available to stream on the MLS website. With the first games out of the way and two more days of practice together for the teams, expect today's games to be much more interesting as the invitees get to know each other.
The first game of the day, adiPower vs adiZero at 11:30 am, will feature several names that the Timbers will want to keep an eye on. Team adiPower features Matt Hedges on defense and some impressive midfielders in Kelyn Rowe, Callum Mallace, and Luis Silva. Team adiZero, meanwhile, features defender Aaron Maund and midfielder Enzo Martinez.
The second game of the day, Prime vs adiPure at 1:25 pm, will also feature a number of players worth checking out. Team Prime's player to watch is Eder Arreola on the wing. Team adiPure will have Tyler Polak playing left back with Andrew Jean-Baptiste playing in the center of the defense while Nick Deleon will be worth keeping an eye out for in the midfield.
After the jump check out three players I am keeping an eye on.
The Timbers, with their roster currently at only 23 players, are in need of reinforcements at every position except forward, with centers of the midfield and defense being places of real concern. An understudy for Jack Jewsbury is a priority while a more offensively minded midfielder could certainly fit nicely into John Spencer's system. The defense, already having made some significant improvements by the end of the 2011 season, is no longer a pressing issue and a Generation Adidas player that need not be pressed into service immediately and who could take some time to grow would be a good selection.
Some Players I Like
1. Andrew Jean-Baptiste
He is big, he is raw and he could be a stud for years to come. With Brunner, Horst, and Futty ahead of him at CB, Jean-Baptiste can be brought into the first team gradually without being relied on to make an immediate impact, especially with a Generation Adidas contract covering his salary cap hit.
2. Enzo Martinez
After he stole the show in Team adiZero's first game of the Combine, everyone loved Martinez. He got forward well in the attack, putting two shots off the woodwork, showed good foot skills, and generally controlled play for much of the game. Despite his missing a penalty in the final minutes of the game it is clear that the kid can play.
3. Callum Mallace
If the Timbers are looking for their next Captain Jack, they could do worse than the Scottish Mallace. A box to box midfielder by trade, Callum Mallace wins balls in the midfield and distributes well with simple passes. He also can take a wicked free kick. Sound at least a little familiar?
Drop in to the comments to chat about today's games and to let us know who is impressing you during this year's MLS Combine.