1) Two or three weeks ago, I’d never heard of Polish striker Jaroslaw Niezgoda. Now, it’s looking more and more likely that he’ll be wearing the green and gold in 2020.
According to this, the money’s been worked out and the only thing left is for Niezgoda to pass a physical, and according to this, he’s already going to Blazer games and getting put up on the jumbotron. There have been a couple tiny hints here and there that, with a bit of massaging, he could end up as a TAM signing, but those are just hints. Pretty much everything else I’ve read indicates that he’ll be a DP, so that’s what I’ll assume moving forward.
I have two major concerns regarding Niezgoda.
First concern: I’m worried Niezgoda might bring discord to the team. Why? Because his name literally means “discord.” The Polish word for discord? Niezgoda. And if that ain’t a bad omen, I don’t know what is.
Now, you may think I’m being silly, but how would you feel if we signed some English player named David Mischief? Or Gregory Troublemaker? Or William Myonlyrealskilliscausingriftswithinthelockerroom? You wouldn’t like it so much then, would you?
So all I’m saying is, I’ll be watching you like a hawk, Mr. Niezgoda.
Or should I say, Mr. Discord.
2) My second concern: is the Polish league any good? Will it be a big step up coming to MLS?
But I’m a whole lot less worried about this than I was last week. Why? Because last week I was questioning the Yimmi Chara signing and a key part of my argument was that pretty much everything I’d seen rated the Colombian league lower than MLS.
Well, it turns out there’s a guy in our little community here who goes by the handle SalsaChoque. and after reading my column last week, he started doing some research and dropped an absolute shit ton of great information about the Colombian league in the comments section.
Here’s some of what he wrote, but trust me, it’s only a taste. There’s far more to read, all of it outstanding.
There’s so much I love about this. One, how great is SalsaChoque? So much great information. Well done, sir! Two, how great is this community as a whole? We’re always helping each other out like this, because we’re all on the same team. Three, I feel much better about Yimmi’s DP status after reading all this. And four, I’ve got my fingers crossed that there’s somebody reading this right now who’s gonna drop a shit ton of information about the Polish league and make us all feel much better about Niezgoda.
3) I don’t know if you heard, but MLS just held its annual SuperDraft, or as I like to call it, the VeryRarelyABigDealDraft. Or the BetYouCan’tRememberAnyoneWe’veEverDraftedOtherThanNagbeAndEbobisseDraft.
Actually, let’s play a game. I’m gonna list some names. See if you can guess which ones are actual players that the Timbers actually drafted, and which ones aren’t.
David Zalman, Lennart Hein, Ryan Sierakowski, and Francesco Moore.
So, how many of those names are real people that we really drafted?
Trick question! They all are! And we drafted them last year! Yes, the MLS SuperDraft is so inconsequential that after just 12 months, I had completely forgotten all their names except Sierakowski.
So forgive me if I’m not going to get too excited about the people we draft this year.
4) Who are those people, by the way? Here’s how the draft played out.
1st Round, 16th pick – Aaron Molloy, Penn State
2nd Round, 42nd pick – traded to DC last year
3rd Round, 68th pick – Zac McGraw, West Point. (This is the US military academy, so my immediate question is, does he owe the Army a few years active duty before he can play for us? If so, what a strange draft pick.)
4th Round, 94th pick – Joergen Oland, Fordham
5) Of these three, the only one who’s particularly intriguing is Molloy. He’s Irish, he’s a defensive midfielder, and a few insiders are saying he was a bit of a steal. On Twitter, Ives Galarcep called him “a 10-12 value at 16,” and on the MLS livestream, Matt Doyle said if Molloy was American or Canadian (thereby not using an international spot), he’d be a top 5 pick. So that ain’t bad.
But it’s foolish to get too excited about any of them. Let’s wait and see if we remember their names this time next year.
6) I’ll finish with a quick question... though it’s probably the biggest question I’ll ask today.
Drafting defensive midfielder Aaron Molloy makes me think immediately of the Chara Succession PlanTM. In other words, who’s going to run the defensive midfield when Diego Chara finally runs out of gas two or three years from now.
There’s a slim chance Molloy will be one of our starting defensive midfielders when that happens. It might also be Cristhian Paredes. Or Renzo Zambrano. Or someone we haven’t heard from yet.
Since Chara’s one of the best d-mids in MLS history, I think we should acknowledge that whoever gets the job, they’ll be a step down from Chara. This is pretty much unavoidable.
That being said, if three years from now, we’re starting Paredes and Zambrano, are you okay with that? I kind of think I am. I’m not terrified by the idea, at least. I saw just enough from those two this past season that I think, with a few more years experience, they could be a very solid defensive midfield. Not as good as Chara, sure, but good enough.
What do you think? If our Chara Succession PlanTM ends up being Paredes and Zambrano, are you cool with that?