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Six Degrees: Gimme a Break

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DeMann 1, Bye Week 0

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

It’s another international break, which means we get to talk about a bunch of random stuff.


1) Let’s play a game. I’m gonna throw a bunch of player stats at you, but I won’t tell you which player is which. They’re all current Timbers who play as midfielders, wingers, strikers, or all of the above. We’re looking at average goals per 90 minutes and average assists per 90 minutes. See if you can guess who’s who.

  • Player A’s goals/90 is 0.38 and his assists/90 is 0.32.
  • Player B’s goals/90 is 0.04 and his assists/90 is 0.13.
  • Player C’s goals/90 is 0.12 and his assists/90 is 0.14.
  • Player D’s goals/90 is 0.14 and his assists/90 is 0.25.
  • Player E’s goals/90 is 1.75 and his assists/90 is 0.00.
  • Player F’s goals/90 is 0.40 and his assists/90 is 0.40.
  • Player G’s goals/90 is 0.28 and his assists/90 is 0.35.

So, think you know who is who?

Well, before I tell you, let’s play another game. Call it the Starting XI game. Of these seven anonymous attackers, which four do you want to start? Let’s say the Timbers are playing a 4-2-3-1, and all the guys up above can play multiple positions and are all the same age and all make the same amount of money. Under those imaginary rules, which four guys would you choose, just based on their stats?

Well, clearly your first choice would be Player E, right? He’s a goal scoring machine! Now, who else?

Well, probably Players A, F, and G, right? They’re all pretty solid at both goals and assists. And they’re all clearly better than Players B, C, and D.

Player D’s the least awful of those three, so maybe he’s the first guy off the bench, then Player C, and then Player B. Though to be honest, why bother with Player B? His numbers are soooo much worse than everyone else’s that we might as well throw a T2 player out there instead of Player B, amiright?

2) So... who’s who?

  • Player A is Jeremy Ebobisse, with 0.38 and 0.32 over 1680 MLS minutes.
  • Player B is Andy Polo, with 0.04 and 0.13 over 2103 MLS minutes.
  • Player C is Dairon Asprilla, with 0.12 and 0.14 over 3735 MLS minutes.
  • Player D is Lucas Melano, with 0.14 and 0.25 over 3238 MLS minutes.
  • Player E is Brian Fernandez, with 1.75 and 0.00 over 205 MLS minutes.
  • Player F is Diego Valeri, with 0.40 and 0.40 over 16,025 MLS minutes.
  • Player G is Sebastian Blanco, with 0.28 and 0.35 over 6442 MLS minutes.

Did any of this surprise you? A few things surprised me.

For one, I was surprised how close Jebo’s numbers are to Valeri’s and Blanco’s. In fact, Jebo’s goal rate is currently ahead of Blanco’s, and his assist rate’s not far behind.

Second surprise, I thought Player B, with those abysmal stats, was going to be Melano. But no, not only was Melano not worst, he wasn’t even second worst. So, you know... good job, Luca! Good job being not quite as bad as those other bad players!

Third surprise, wow, Polo. Your stats are horrendous. And you can’t blame it on a lack of playing time, since you have more minutes than Jebo. After 2103 minutes, I’m thinking maybe you are what your stats say you are. You might be bringing a few things to the table, but goals and assists ain’t among them.

3) The entire reason for the last two degrees is so I can make these next three points.

First point, to all of you saying Jebo’s a disappointment, you’re nuts. He’s not even close to disappointing. His stats aren’t far off Valeri’s and Blanco’s. Are you disappointed with them, too?

Second point, you know who you should be disappointed with? Not Jebo, not Melano, not Asprilla, but Andy Polo. His stats would be just fine for a fullback, but for a winger? They’re atrocious. Atrocious.

Third point, and let me put this in all caps, just to make sure everyone gets it, WE DON’T NEED A NEW STRIKER, WE NEED A NEW RIGHT WINGER. A right winger who can score goals.

4) Okay, one last game. Here’s another couple players. See if you can guess who they are. I don’t have their assist rates, just goals.

  • Player A’s goals/90 is 0.75.
  • Player B’s goals/90 is 0.72.

Those are a couple goal-scoring sonsabitches, aren’t they? Better than Jebo, Seba, and Diego, that’s for sure. They’d both instantly start for the Timbers.

Well, here’s the thing. They’re actually the same player. Those are Brian Fernandez’s stats from France, Chile, and Mexico. Player A is him as a striker (in 1913 minutes), Player B is him as a right winger (in 1374 minutes).

And guess where the Timbers need an upgrade? Right winger.

#PoloOut #FernandezIn #JeboAndFernandezOnTheFieldAtTheSameTime4EvaThankYou #GodI’mSickOfThisArgumentWouldGioJustPlayHimOnTheWingAlready

5) Okay, that got a little serious. A little more serious than I think a bye week should be. So let’s finish with some goofy stuff.

First up, here’s a tweet from way back in March that I haven’t had a chance to post here. It would seem #YouPeople want a soccer bar called “The False Nine.”

Personally, I liked “The Withdrawn Striker” because it makes it sound like a bar you could go to if you’re a little introverted. And is it just me, or does “The Inverted Winger” sound a little kinky? You might get an interesting crowd with that name.

Any other ideas out there? If you were opening a soccer bar, what would you call it?

6) And finally, probably the most important thing we’ll address today: the Timbers have FAR too many players with dyed blond hair. Seriously, I get genuinely confused when Bill Tuiloma, Brian Fernandez, and Sebastian Blanco are on the field at the same time. And if Gio decided to throw Dairon Asprilla and Claude Dielna out there? Five of our 11 players with frosted tips? We’d all be screwed.

Now, as you know, Timbers owner Merritt Paulson makes most of his major decisions based on what I write in this column, so I’m going to fix this problem right now.

Merritt, as I see it, there are three possible solutions here.

First possible solution, make each player dye their hair a different color. And make them bright colors, too. Green, pink, orange, aquamarine, shit like that. And I’m not just talking about the players currently dyed blonde. I mean everyone. No exceptions. If they don’t want to do it, threaten to trade them to Colorado. That’ll change their tune in a hurry.

Second possible solution, make them shave their jersey numbers into their hair. Actually, maybe not. I can already see a few problems. One, if Diego Chara’s got the number 21 shaved into his hair, could we see it from the stands? His hair and his scalp are almost the same color. And if Vytas were still here, with that blonde hair and that pale scalp? No way would we have seen that. Second problem, what about Diego Valeri’s bald spot? That shit’s not getting any smaller, you know. You know what? Fuck this idea. It was a mistake.

Third possible solution, have everyone on the team dye their hair blonde. 11 guys with frosted tips? There’s got to be some kind of competitive advantage there, don’t you think? The other team wouldn’t know who to cover. We’d be setting up for a corner kick and the defenders would be like, “Who you got?” “I got the guy with the frosted tips.” “No, I’ve got the guy with the frosted tips!” “Wait, who’s got that guy?” “Which guy?” “The guy with the frosted tips!” Next thing you know, some guy with frosted tips is putting the ball in the back of the net.

So there are your options, Merritt. I’ll let you make the final decision.