Squished in between the huge Will Johnson trade and the doubly huge Mix Diskerud rumor was a trade that brought two players a few of us might have forgotten about since then: Ryan Johnson and Milos Kocic. It would be easy to ignore the two players as inconsequential seeing as both are lesser known than either Will Johnson or Mix, but they will both likely play as big a role in the make up of the 2013 MLS season.
Right now Ryan Johnson is probably most famous among Portland Timbers fans for his goal against the Seattle Sounders earlier in the 2012 season. He came in from the right side, by-passing a couple Sounders and nailed it into the upper corner from outside the box. It was beautiful, but was it indicative of the Johnson we're going to see? Probably not. According to Duncan Fletcher of Waking the Red, Johnson isn't terribly good on the right side.
I'd say striker, or left winger if you play with three up front are his best options. Right Wing was really the only [area] that just didn't work out for him. He's a hard working, tough, athletic player who in the right circumstances could be a very effective secondary striker.
That last sentence is pretty key. According to Duncan, Johnson is not meant to be a primary striker. Why? According to Duncan, it all comes down to his finishing.
If you're relying on him as your main goal scoring threat though it's time to start worrying as he's not good enough for that, his finishing is not the best. If playing off somebody else, and especially when fully fit and not banged up, he's a very good option to have.
Given this information, we could be seeing Johnson more as a left winger either in the middle or up top if Caleb Porter decides to play his 4-3-3 formation. Just don't expect him to play as the star striker of the team.
And then there's Kocic, an odd pick up for the Timbers considering that he's coming from the worst team in the league. Those usually aren't the players you want to trade for. However, Kocic might not be a terrible keeper after all, merely just a shellshocked one.
[Kocic] had the toughest job in MLS last year and eventually it got to him, as it did to Stefan Frei the year before. When he first came into the team in 2011, we generally played with a back 5 to solidify things and behind a relatively good defense he was very good, confident, and commanding of his area as well as being a good shot stopper.
Combine that as well as having triplets come into his family last year and you have the makings for an awful season in 2012, one not entirely indicative of his overall skill.
But the big question is whether or not he'll be able to overtake Donovan Ricketts as the primary goalkeeper. According to Duncan, that's a distinct possibility.
Ricketts doesn't look like anything special, so I think Kocic could definitely challenge him for the top job this season, that wouldn't surprise me at all.
Nor would it surprise me. Ricketts is far removed from his heyday in Los Angeles a few years ago. While he's been decent in the net this year, he's prone to making some terrible gaffs that make you cringe. Kocic is younger and could be a better keeper if he has a defensive back line to match.
So what did the Portland Timbers really receive in exchange for a potential development project out of college? A viable left winger who can provide service into the box for strikers in Johnson and a potential first keeper in Kocic. Whether they actually turn out to be what they've been made up to, nobody can say yet. Just don't plan on seeing them sitting on the bench for too much in 2013. You don't trade away a high SuperDraft pick for bench warmers.
What do you think the Portland Timbers will do with Ryan Johnson and Milos Kocic? Where will they end up?
Super thanks to Duncan Fletcher from Waking the Red for helping me with this article.