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Portland Timbers Player Rankings #26: Ryan Kawulok

A former Portland Pilot and promising member of the perfect 2010 Portland Timbers U23s, Kawulok started the season with a bang, scoring a goal against Chivas in the preseason tournament at Jeld Wen Field.

Not pictured here: Ryan Kawulok
Not pictured here: Ryan Kawulok
Jonathan Ferrey

Sadly, Ryan Kawulok did not play a minute of soccer for the first team in league play. His only competitive appearance was 30 minutes in the left back position as an extra-time substitute in the Timbers' loss to Cal FC in the US Open Cup.

Many fans, myself included, would like to have seen more of the 22-year-old at right back, but alas, the Timbers' management, for whatever reason, kept him out of the 18 for all but the last game of the season.

In the little amount of time we have seen him, Kawulok has shown a composure that belies his limited professional experience. As Will Conwell observed after the team's scrimmage against Oregon State University in August,

Although his touch is not the softest, Kawulok rarely plays himself into trouble, an unfortunately unique attribute among the Timbers defenders.

Should he be kept for 2013?

Absolutely. With the revolving door the Timbers have endured at the right back position for two years, the Timbers would do well to keep developing Kawulok. The front office should still devote considerable attention to acquiring a new starting right back this offseason, but Kawulok should be given a chance in 2013 to back him up.