Okay, I’m officially changing policy on these off-season posts. Trying to keep them under 600 words was overly ambitious, so I’m moving the goalposts. Under 900 words, that’s my new target. Let’s see if I can pull it off.
1) All day yesterday I was planning to write about how the team’s search for a big-money DP striker seemed to be over. And then late Tuesday night, Twitter blew up with this news.
As others have already tweeted, can confirm that the Timbers have made a big-money offer for Tigres forward Edu Vargas. Still not done. Talks ongoing. Second time Portland have engaged with Tigres this winter following their earlier pursuit of Julian Quiñones.— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) February 13, 2019
I’m not for a second going to say I’m an expert on Eduardo Vargas or Chile’s national team or Liga MX or much of anything, really. It’s possible some of you have watched this dude for years and can tell us confidently whether he’s the real deal or not.
You know what I know about him? These stats, which I just pulled off Wikipedia.
This isn’t in-depth knowledge, it’s just stats, but still, it’s inspired in me some preliminary, half-baked thoughts.
2) First half-baked thought: that’s an awful lot of teams over one guy’s career. Why does he keep moving? Because he’s super-awesome and everyone loves him? Or because he’s an asshole? I have no idea.
Second half-baked thought: he’s 29. Not exactly old, but not exactly young, either. Not exactly in line with the idea of making the team younger. And not young enough that we’ll be selling him at a profit in two or three years.
Third half-baked thought: 10 league goals in 41 games last season? That’s incredibly unimpressive. 6 league goals in 16 games in the current season? Better, but not great. That translates to just 12 goals over a full MLS season. Maybe 13. Those aren’t even Fanendo Adi numbers. Forgive me if I’m a little less than enthusiastic.
These are just my preliminary thoughts and, as with most things, I’m willing to change my mind. Do you think Vargas would be a great signing? Convince me down in the comments.
3) One step in figuring out if Vargas would be a good signing is figuring out how many goals would be acceptable.
I noted above that Vargas’s current form in Liga MX would give him roughly 13 goals over a full MLS season. Is 13 acceptable? Would that make him a good signing?
13 goals from Jeremy Ebobisse? I’d be thrilled. I’d call it a breakthrough season from a young guy and a good indicator of future success.
But 13 goals from a 29-year old? Who’s also the most expensive signing in Timbers history? I’m suddenly much less excited.
Fanendo Adi had 4 (mostly) full seasons with the club and banged out 10, 16, 16, and 9 goals. But Adi wasn’t the most expensive signing in Timbers history. Vargas would be. I feel like I’d want more.
4) But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe 12-14 goals would be a totally acceptable season from Vargas.
Who scored 12-14 goals in MLS last year? Here’s the list.
Some pretty big names there. A few semi-anonymous names, too. A few guys making the big bucks, a few guys not.
I remain unconvinced. I need someone to convince me down in the comments. Would this be a great signing? An acceptable signing? A disastrous signing? Convince me.
5) Okay, two more degrees. I think my 900 word target is still in play, so let’s keep these short.
I listened to the second “From J to Z” podcast. Just like with the first, it’s good stuff and you should give it a listen.
I do have a warning, though. There’s a darker side. Zarek Valentin and Jeff Jeff Jeff Attinella said something I found very disturbing. And they didn’t say it just once. They said it over and over.
What the fuck? Who says the MLS? Why would anybody say this?
And they’re not even the first people I’ve heard say it. There are multiple people in the world who say the MLS.
Again, what the fuck? This is objectively wrong and subjectively horrifying.
The National Football League makes sense. The National Basketball Association make sense. The Major League Soccer does not. And yet people I respect – or rather, people I used to respect – keep saying “the MLS.” It’s awful.
Are they doing it ironically? Are they doing it to fuck with me?
Do you say “the MLS?” Because, if so, I’m not sure we can be friends. Sorry, but it’s true. This is a bridge too far.
6) Lastly, we get to watch the Timbers play tonight!
Yes, it’s just a preseason game, and yes, it’ll be an internet stream, not a television broadcast, and yes, the camera work will probably be shitty, and yes, the starters will probably only play 45 minutes or so.
But who cares, right? We get to watch our boys again!
I can’t wait. I’ve missed the MLS.
(Word count update; 724 words. We did it, everyone. Our long national nightmare is over.)