Trencito, Jose Adolfo Valencia, emerged from an injury-lost first MLS season and was at once compellingly talented and frustratingly raw. Caleb Porter used Trencito often but rarely as a starter, giving a sample size that has some evidence but not quite enough to make a final judgement on the 21-year-old.
2012 Rank: 16
Trencito started five MLS games in 2013 and appeared in sixteen more as a substitute. He scored his first, and to date only MLS goal in a 2-2 draw at Vancouver Whitecaps and contributed assists in games against Chivas USA and Toronto FC. Valencia scored against Norwich City in a friendly, started in ten Reserve League matches, scoring several goals, and was a substitute in two of the Timbers' four playoff games. Most of his playing time came while Ryan Johnson was away with Jamaica and while Frederic Piquionne was out injured. When Maximiliano Urruti arrived via trade, suddenly Valencia was back to being another young back up. He displayed terrific skill and instincts at times, but also a lack of confidence or quality when not stationed as Caleb Porter's no. 9.
The obvious question is whether or not Valencia will even be in Portland in 2014. Trencito, who turns 22 on Wednesday, has long been linked with Argentine side Club Olimpo in Bahia Blanca, with interviews and photographs emerging to suggest a loan move is complete. The Timbers' Twitter account nixed that, at least officially, yet questions remain about Valencia's place in the team going forward. One of us does not believe Trencito will be back with the Timbers next year while the rest are ignoring that possibility and rating his potential growth from 2013 to 2014. Does Vanelcia fit into Porter's plans? Can he play a wide position if and when Porter brings in a high profile striker during the winter transfer window? Most evidence from 2013 says no, but surely his raw talent can be molded at what is still a relatively young age. All of this adds up to make Jose Valencia among the most interesting names still connected with the Timbers in mid-December 2013.