The USL Championship stretch run is coming up which means that it’s time to check back in on some of the players to see who is on their way to the first team and who still has some work to do.
It has been a few weeks since the last rendition of this column was released, and in that time, T2 has struggled. The team now sits in 10th place in the Western Conference standings and with this current run of form could be out of the conversation entirely in a few weeks.
Despite a rough few months, but there have still been plenty of positives to take away. The team has some developing players with great potential, and they are all getting plenty of run. While results are significant, development-- at least for an MLS feeder team-- might be considered even more vital. In the Timbers organization, that trend of growth is continuing to go up and up.
So without further ado, it’s time to dive in and take a look at some of those players in this week’s Stock Up/Stock Down Report.
Since the last Stock Up/Stock Down Report, a lot of the T2 players got called up to the first-team due to a congested schedule. One player who took advantage of his increased playing time has been Carlos Anguiano, the 19-year-old homegrown player from Salem.
Anguiano filled in for Eryk Williamson and played in a creative box-to-box role. The role could be considered the most important in coach Cameron Knowles system as it helps connect the defense to attack without having to be forced out wide constantly.
Anguiano has played the role admirably so far and has showcased his ability to maintain possession in a congested midfield while also shuttling the ball from point A to B. Alongside shuttling the ball, he’s been used to link-up play with the wide players which he has also done relatively effectively. Shown below is Anguiano’s distribution chart from a recent game against Sacramento Republic FC, which paints the picture of just how good he is at helping maintain possession and unlock the opposing defense.
Anguiano has done a great job of filling in for Williamson and has shown flashes of potential already. With a year or two more of development, he could potentially be a first-team prospect. Only time will tell.
When it comes to a hard-working forward that has the IQ to find open space and take advantage, Sierakowski is that guy. He has scored a few goals, but has been vital in the attacking third for T2 with all of his other skills.
What stands out most about Sierakowski is that he knows when to make his runs and when to pull wide in order to open up space for his teammates. An example of this came when T2 took on Fresno FC. As soon as a direct ball from the back was brought down and settled by Foster Langsdorf, Sierakowski made a deep run into the box--bypassing several markers in the process-- and made himself available in the box. It was a relatively simple goal, but that long run shows off what makes him so talented and how he is always alert on the field.
Shown below is Sierakowski’s distribution and shot chart, and it too shows how well he does at maintaining possession in the attacking third.
While what Sierakowski does off the bench is often not groundbreaking, he is a hard worker and always finds himself in the right place at the right time. That’s a testament to talent.
Roy Miller is an example of an experienced player who is always stable and reliable. He does an excellent job of controlling the backline and has plenty of first-team experience himself.
He is second on the team in clearances with 47 and is near the top of the list in every defensive category. In attack, he does pretty well with his distribution. As shown below, he likes to play the occasional long ball from the back mixed in with safer passes, which helps the team in possession.
At 34 years old, the Costa Rican is the oldest player on T2’s roster (by nine years), but he is also very experienced and is a good leader for a young backline that has plenty of potential to move up in the system. Despite his age, he is playing as well as ever and is definitely the rock in T2’s backline.
Sure it’s only been a few games, and sure you can attach it to a lack of training with the USL side, but Williamson has not been as productive as fans are used to seeing him in the past few weeks.
Williamson still leads the team with seven assists but hasn’t had a single one in over a month. In a recent game against Fresno FC, he was not able to make an imprint like he usually does.
While he has by no means been terrible, he is still not back at the level that he started the season with and if T2 want to start climbing the table again, then they will need the young midfielder playing at his best to help them.
It’s been a couple of weeks since Langsdorf was last discussed, and the T2 goalscorer still hasn’t managed to find the back of the net. He last scored on May 12, and while Langsdorf still provides value in other areas, such as holding up play, he is mostly anonymous in games.
Below is Langsdorf’s distribution map from the Fresno game. As you can see, it’s pretty abysmal in the attacking third where he turns the ball over most of the time, and most of his completed passes aren’t exactly line-breaking.
Langsdorf can still turn it around for the season’s stretch run, but right now he is a below-average USL striker with his form being a far cry from where it was a season ago when he was near the top of the team in scoring. Either way, unless Langsdorf picks up his play, his chances to make the first-team roster will continue to get slimmer and slimmer by the moment.