The 2017 preseason is over. And with the regular season on the horizon, it’s time to take a look back at the Timbers’ preseason and identify whose stock rose and whose stock fell over the last six weeks.
Stock Up: Vytas — The Timbers’ system provides a lot of opportunities for fullbacks to overlap, and Vytas looks poised to take advantage and build on his solid debut with the Timbers. Although defending while isolated in space remains the question with Vytas, the Lithuanian left back hasn’t been exposed thus far.
Stock Down: Zarek Valentin — In order to stay in the 18 in 2017, Valentin needed to show he could provide reliable depth at multiple positions. Because of injuries and other absences, Valentin has received a lot of time this preseason at secondary positions at left back and in central defense. It hasn’t gone well.
Stock Up: David Guzman — The Timbers clearly pegged Guzman as a major signing in the offseason (despite the relative value he brings from Saprissa), and if preseason is any indication their faith in Guzman appears poised to pay off. Guzman has been consistently solid and at times dominant alongside Diego Chara in central midfield, something that could be as key to the Timbers success in 2017 as any other offseason development.
Stock Down: Ben Zemanski — Zemanski’s task coming into preseason was to lock down the backup defensive midfield role. After some haggard performances and the acquisition of Lawrence Olum, it’s not even clear Zemanski is higher than fourth behind both Olum and Amobi Okugo.
Stock Up: Jack Barmby — Barmby came into preseason looking like the odd man out in the Timbers’ wing depth chart. Although he showed good progress over the course of 2016, Barmy’s ceiling appeared to be lower than just about everybody on the wing. But Barmy’s development has been unusually consistent, and there is no end in sight. By showing he can play both centrally and on the wing, Barmby has put himself on the cusp of being a legitimate part of the rotation in 2017.
Stock Down: Liam Ridgewell — “Stock down” is a bit harsh, and Ridgewell is still the obvious starter at left centerback. But after a 2016 in which Ridgewell was a disappointment (when he was on the field), Timbers fans would have liked to see a bit surer-footed preseason from the team’s captain at the club’s biggest position of need. Ridgewell hasn’t been bad, but he also hasn’t been great.
Stock Up: Marco Farfan — Perhaps nobody seized an opportunity to show he deserves to be part of the first-team rotation as much as Farfan. Presumptively slated to see most of his minutes at T2 (at least once the first-team roster filled out), Farfan showed in the preseason finale in particular that he’s far from out of place on an MLS field. He’ll still get T2 minutes, but don’t be surprised to see Farfan show up on the first-team bench (and perhaps the field) more and more as the season goes along.
Stock Down: Chance Myers — Brought in to compete with Alvas Powell for the starting right back spot, Myers has been a modest disappointment thus far in preseason. That isn’t to say he won’t be a serviceable backup right back; he likely will. But Powell’s hold on the top spot is as strong as ever, which, in fairness, has been in part due to...
Stock Up: Alvas Powell — Like Vytas, Powell appears to be enjoying the space that the Timbers’ dominant midfield is creating for him on the wing. Powell has already looked as effective in the attack as he was at any point in the 2016 season, and a functional emerging partnership with caretaker right centerback Lawrence Olum has settled some early defensive instability.
Stock Down: Jack McInerney — This was always going to be a difficult preseason for McInerney, who figured to sit below Fanendo Adi and Darren Mattocks on the depth chart. McInerney’s task was only further complicated by the Timbers moving to draft Jeremy Ebobisse, who has spent the lion’s share of his preseason with the USMNT U-20s. So McInerney needed to pull a rabbit out of a hat to earn himself a spot within the team. Instead, we’ve largely seen more of the same, which (as his absence from the team in Los Angeles could also indicate) may spell the end of his days in Portland.
Stock Up: Fanendo Adi — How does a guy who’s scored 16 goals in each of his previous two MLS seasons raise his stock in preseason? Well, six goals in five games (and really only 240 minutes!) will do the trick. Given what he has feeding him in midfield, there’s very good reason to feel bullish about Adi’s chances to win the Golden Boot in 2017.