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Portland Timbers Player Rankings #6: Hanyer Mosquera

Hailed by Merritt Paulson on his arrival to Portland as the next Jamison Olave, Hanyer Mosquera's first year with the Timbers didn't quite live up to the expectation, but it showed signs of promise.

I just love this photo.
I just love this photo.
George Frey

Acquired during the pre-season last year, Hanyer Mosquera was definitely seen as the less exciting of the Timbers' two off-season Colombian gets, but the prospect of having him in what had been a revolving door back line in 2011 was comforting. He appeared to -- and in my opinion does -- have the size, strength, and positional awareness to handle the league's strikers.

Not known for any kind flashy play, Mosco was usually a calm and collected presence on the back line, in the way you want from a good central defender. In that way he was a good complement to the more adventurous David Horst, being careful to cover whatever space he vacated. In addition, he was always commanding in the air, held his ground well, and usually could be counted on to make good decisions.

But he also had lapses -- an own goal here, a bad decision there. His communication was often suspect as well, owing largely to the language barrier, which he is hopefully working hard to overcome. And then there was the little round-house he gave to Jack McBean.

Should he stay in 2013?

I think so. I had a unique opportunity to talk in some detail with him (through an interpreter) before the season started, and he struck me as a smart and hard working professional always looking for the next challenge. He has established himself as a calm, conservative presence on the backline, and I think that mentality will continue to serve him well. As his English improves and he becomes more familiar with the league and the difficult travel schedule, look for him to grow nicely into a leadership role in the defense.

Dissent: Geoff

My dissent for Mosquera comes from two things primarily: First, the need for a strong commanding centerback. Mosquera proved that he wasn't that last year. Perhaps due to the language barrier, granted. Second, the fact that David Horst vastly improved last season and became the go to central defender for the Timbers. With Futty Danso staying as a benchwarmer for next season and the Timbers still needing that big strong center back, I see no reason why Mosquera should still be around. Not that he's not a decent defender, I just wonder about his long term viability. Also... you shouldn't punch other players. It's not nice.