The MLS season may be shut down and there may not be any real Timbers news to talk about, but I’m still gonna be putting out my column each week, so get ready. There’s gonna be a whole lot of silly, fun, pointless, just-trying-to-keep-us-entertained-until-the-games-start-up-again columns coming your way each Tuesday afternoon.
6) Let’s start with another Five Favorites column. If you want to go back and look at my previous Top 5’s, here are links to my favorite strikers, my favorite wingers, my favorite attacking midfielders, and my favorite defensive midfielders.
Today, we focus on my Five Favorite fullbacks. And, as always, this is not a list of who’s best. It’s a list of who I like. You don’t have to be good to make this Top 5, I just have to like you.
5) My fifth favorite fullback is Michael Harrington.
Harrington was part of the 2013 team, which was one of the most entertaining groups we’ve ever had. He had that long blond hair, which made him easy to spot on the field, he was pretty decent both on defense and in the attack, and he had one of the great nicknames of all-time: Mikey Mo’ Money.
4) My fourth favorite fullback is Vytautas Andriuškevičius.
And you’re damn right I spelled it correctly without having to look it up. I can’t always remember my ZIP code, but for some reason, I’ve got Vytas’s name locked right the fuck down.
Everyone’s favorite Lithuanian was pretty solid on the field, but his main appeal was his personality. From the moment he arrived in Portland, he seemed like the kind of guy you’d want to hang out with. He learned English like it was no big deal, he spent the off-season driving around the country in a van, and he earned a place in the Postgame Interview Hall of Fame with this beauty. (sound on for Vytas’s potty mouth)
3) My third favorite fullback is Jorge Villafaña.
If you’re only familiar with the Jorge from the last couple years, then you don’t know what a complete badass he was back in the day. In 2015, the year we won the Cup, Jorge was absolutely shutting down opposing wingers. In our MLS Cup victory, he put poor Ethan Finlay into his pocket at the start of the game and didn’t let the poor bastard out until the ref blew the final whistle. He then spent a few years getting a big paycheck down in Liga MX, became a regular starter for the US national team, then returned to the city he loved, Portland. Sure, he’s not the player he once was, but he’s still number three on my list.
2) My second favorite fullback is Alvas Powell.
Alvas grew up in a tiny little town in Jamaica, played as a teenager for some club called Portmore United, and arrived in Portland when he was 19 years old. During his six years here, we literally got to watch him turn from a boy into a man. That alone is enough to make him my second favorite fullback, but he also had the single best Timbers Army chant of any player ever. I can’t find audio of it, so here’s the Wu Tang Clan original. Just replace “Wu Tang Clan” with “Alvas Powell.” (And it’s embarrassing how much time I spent working on this gif, so please watch it with the sound up. My OCD ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.)
1) My favorite fullback is Zarek Valentin.
In all honesty, Zarek may be the single most likeable person to ever wear the green and gold. Yes, he played a valuable role on the field, especially in 2018, when he bounced back and forth from left back to right, depending on who was injured that week, but that’s not what got him to the top of this list. He made it to number one for his world-class TV interviews, for his podcast with Jeff Attinella, for his RibbonZ fundraiser with Hayley Raso, for defending Diego Chara, for mocking Nicolas Lodeiro, and for making us mourn his departure to Houston and pray that he’ll end up back here as a coach or a broadcaster or something, anything, when he retires. If there’s ever been a more charming, likeable Timber, I can’t think who it is.
And that’s it. Those are my five favorite fullbacks. Got someone else who you’d put on your list? They don’t have to be good, you just have to like them. Any Kosuke Kimura fans out there? How about Chris Klute and his short little socks? Tell me your favorite fullbacks down in the comments.