6) Last week, there was barely any Timbers news. This week, there’s literally none. And, no, I’m not counting Steve Clark’s probably-meaningless Instagram post as news.
So, with such a quiet week, let’s try something new, an evergreen gimmick we can pull out every time there’s a slow news week.
We’ll call it Five Favorite Timbers, and it will be a completely personal and subjective list of your five favorite Timbers at each position. I’ll give my five here, then you can give yours down in comments. It’s utterly subjective, so there are no wrong answers.
We’ll start at the front and work our way back. This week, we’ll do strikers. If there are enough slow weeks, we’ll eventually get to goalkeepers. I’ll start with number five and work my way to one.
5) My fifth favorite Timbers striker is Bright Dike.
They say you never forget your first, and since I moved to Portland in 2012, Dike’s always going to be my first striker. He was kind of a bull in a china shop and his feet were a little hard, but I dunno, man, I just have such fond memories of him getting on the end of Sal Zizzo crosses and banging them in.
4) My fourth favorite Timbers striker is Maxi Urruti.
Sometimes I think Maxi is everyone’s favorite ex-Timber. That includes the players themselves. Anytime we play a team Maxi’s on, I see all the players talking to him, looking like old friends catching up. He seems like a good hang. Was he a great player? Meh. He didn’t score a whole lot and he shot from outside the box way too often, but boy, did he like to harass center backs trying to pass out of the back. Plus, he had that great arrow-shooting goal celebration.
3) My third favorite Timbers striker is Ryan Johnson.
Just like 2012 was my first year of watching the Timbers, 2013 was my first year of going to pretty much every game, so I got attached to those players. Ryan Johnson was no exception, and he’ll always have a soft spot in my heart. And speaking of goal celebrations, I actually kind of loved Ryan’s non-celebration celebration. Every time he scored, he was utterly stone-faced. And why not? Does the mailman celebrate when he delivers the mail?
2) My second favorite Timbers striker is Jeremy Ebobisse.
And, yes, I’m calling him a striker, even though Gio Savarese insists on playing him as a winger.
I think part of the reason Jebo’s so high on this list is that I’ve been able to watch him work his way up from draft pick to T2 player to bench sitter to everyday starter. It’s a very different relationship than what I have with strikers who show up as already-established players. I feel much more invested in Jebo. He feels like part of the family, a nephew we’ve gotten to watch grow up.
1) My favorite Timbers striker is Fanendo Adi.
My subjective fondness for Adi is matched by his objectively great play. In his four mostly-full seasons for the Timbers, Adi scored 9, 16, 16, and 10 goals, and added 4, 3, 2, and 3 assists. He got fouled non-stop every game, rarely getting a call because he’s so big, and yet only snapped one time, when Kyle Beckerman gave his an elbow to the ribs. He had feet so soft, he’s directly responsible for the best Timbers goal I’ve ever seen. He was one of the silliest, friendliest guys in the locker room. And every time he scored a goal, he let out a joyous scream, then immediately ran to embrace his teammates.
A lot of people inexplicably dislike him, but Adi’s my favorite Timbers striker and it’s not even close. I loved the guy. Maybe Jebo will catch him someday, but it’ll take a few years. Adi’s my guy.
And there you go. That’s my completely subjective, completely personal Five Favorite Timbers strikers. Let me hear your favorites down in the comments. Explain your choices if you want or just give a list.