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Six Degrees: Hoops!

Word Count 4, DeMann 0

Diego Valeri, looking heroic in front of a plane
Craig Mitchelldyer, Portland Timbers

After three weeks, I still haven’t hit my goal of keeping these posts under 600 words. There’s hope, though. I’m a little sick this week, a little tired, and not feeling all that creative. 600 words is a real possibility.

1) Biggest, most exciting Timbers news of the past week? The new kits!

Diego Valeri wearing the 2019 primary kit. Also, an airplane.
Craig Mitchelldyer, Portland Timbers

My initial reaction? Meh. Not good, not bad. The hoops aren’t awful. The socks are a little weird. I’m sure I’ll get used to all of it, but will I fall in love? Will I buy one? Doubtful. They’re incredibly okay, and that’s about it.

Any of you disagree? Any of you head over heels in love with these?

2) Next big news? Jeremy Ebobisse started for the USMNT versus Panama on Sunday! Strangely, though, he didn’t play as a striker, but as a left winger.

He wasn’t awful as a winger. He didn’t look completely out of place. And he even had a nice left-footed cross that Gyasi Zardes should have put in the back of the net.

Did I see enough to make me think Jebo should be a winger for the Timbers? No. But could he play out there if needed? Probably. And if the Timbers sign a DP striker, maybe Jebo could stay on the field as a winger. A 4-3-3 with Jebo on the left, Sebastian Blanco on the right, and the new DP striker in the middle? That’s an intriguing setup. I wonder if Gio watched the game and has similar thoughts.

What are your thoughts on Ebobisse as a winger?

3) Jebo’s got one more game with the USMNT, and he might see some familiar faces lined up across from him. Saturday’s game is against Costa Rica, who have both David Guzman and Marvin Loria in camp. Will all three start? Doubtful. But if they do, we might have a scene similar to a year or two ago when the US played Jamaica. Darlington Nagbe and Jorge Villafana were working a little give-and-go down in the corner, and who was defending them? Alvas Powell. It was awesome.

Does anyone know if that’s the record for most Timbers on the field for a national team game? Whatever the record, I feel certain it involved Jamaica, Costa Rica, or the Gambia.

4) When Jebo, Gooz, and Marvelous Marvin are done with their game Saturday, they won’t be flying back to Portland. They’ll be flying down to Costa Rica, because that’s where the rest of the Timbers are. For the first time I can recall, the Timbers are spending part of their preseason in a place other than Portland or Tuscon, Arizona.

They flew down Wednesday morning, they’ll play Saprissa on Monday, Herediano next Thursday, then fly straight to Tuscon on Sunday Feb 10.

We currently don’t know if those Costa Rican games will be live streamed, but I really hope they are. Preseason games are fun. The starters play very few minutes, you get to see a lot of the younger players you might not have seen before, and there’s always at least one or two guys on the field who nobody seems to recognize. The mystery men lead to exchanges on Twitter where people are like “Anybody know who number 29 is?” or “Who’s the guy with all the hair?” It’s good fun.

5) Please bear with me here, I’m getting ready to talk about professional wrestling. Trust me, there’s a point. I will bring this back around to the Timbers.

There are two things a professional wrestler needs to do. He needs to wrestle, obviously, but he also needs to talk into a microphone. He needs to talk about how awesome he is, how shitty his arch rival is, and how he’s going to demolish his next opponent.

There’s an expression in the wrestling business: “He gives good mic.”

Giving good mic is what makes you a star. Yeah, sure, you need to be good in the ring, but if you don’t give good mic, you’ll never make it to the highest levels.

Rey Mysterio Jr? He was a hell of a wrestler, but he didn’t give good mic.

Hulk Hogan? He gave good mic.

The Rock? He gave great mic.

Ric Flair? He gave world-class, first ballot Hall of Fame mic.

How does this relate to the Timbers? I saw Claude Dielna’s first interview since joining the team. He gives terrible mic. Short answers, blank face, quiet voice. He mostly looked like he just wanted to get it over with. Hell, after 30 seconds of watching, I wanted to get it over with, too.

Now, this does not mean Dielna’s a bad person. It just means he gives bad mic. And yes, it’s just one interview, so things could improve, but honestly, there may not be a second interview. I mean, if I were a reporter, I wouldn’t want to interview him, especially since there are other guys in the locker room who give better mic.

6) Actually, let’s talk about those other players. Here are a few different Timbers, past and present, and where I think they stand when it comes to giving good mic.

  • Great mic: Nat Borchers, Zarek Valentin, Eryk Williamson (don’t believe me? Watch this video. He’s sensational)
  • Above average mic: Diego Valeri, Jack Jewsbury, Jeremy Ebobisse (I would bump Jebo up a level, but he’s a little stiff), Caleb Porter
  • Average mic: Darlington Nagbe, Larrys Mabiala, Jorge Villafana, Will Johnson, Gio Savarese
  • Below average mic: Liam Ridgewell (I just wish he’d done his interviews in English), Alvas Powell (speak up, Alvas!), (and please forgive me this next one, it pains me to say it, since he’s my favorite player, but facts are facts) Diego Chara
  • Bad mic: Claude Dielna

Anyone I’m forgetting? Any Timbers past or present that you think give especially good or bad mic?

(Word count update: 890. Better than last week, but still... I would’ve made it if I hadn’t gone on that stupid pro wrestling tangent.)