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Portland Timbers – A deeper look at the Chabala Trade today

Setting the stage:
Lots of activity these last two days by the Timbers front office; many different views by bloggers, pundits, sports editors and front office staff from Montreal, DC United and Portland Timbers.

I will stay away from the rather bold and “strong” muckraking going on for now, about these two trades, and put that down to emotion and the sometimes hard to control adrenaline that comes from the pressure of making decisions or providing comments that reflect personal feelings ahead of rational thinking and how words we use are double edged sometimes.

Instead I will offer that although soccer is a game it is also:

  1. A business where bottom line (costs) come into play with every single transaction and,

  2. A business where bottom line personnel transactions should always include opportunities to “build the bench or make room for those ready to play full time.”

So after that opening here’s my thoughts on the Chabala trade today.

We add a top-flight young defender (Ian Hogg) with no obligation to keep that player at the end of the year and most importantly it also fills a ‘replace the starter’ role that teams strive for in building the bench.

And if he’s really good maybe we have a new starter at the left fullback position as well.

Here’s what Tony Smith from “The Press”, Christchurch, New Zealand had to offer about Ian:

“Hoggy is a specialist left back, who has played in the last two Olympic campaigns and has played at the Club World Cup finals with Auckland City. He received an overdue call-up to the All Whites for their recent friendlies in Texas against El Salvador and Honduras.”

“He scored on debut against El Salvador; Hogg played as a left wing-back against El Salvador.”

“It’s great to hear he’s getting a break with an MLS club.”

In asking Tony a wee bit about the All Whites (nickname for the New Zealand Football Team) this is what was offered about what formation of play Ian should be accustomed to.

“Ricki Herbert (Head Coach for the All Whites) has, since the inter-continental World Cup playoff with Bahrain in 2009, operated a 3-4-3 formation with the All Whites.”

And that the “NZ Olympic team played 4-4-1-1 with Hoggy operating as a conventional left back.”

At first glance it really looks like Ian should blend in well with the most recent Timbers formation of 4-3-3 in attack and 4-5-1 in defense. And further support should no doubt come from Jake Gleeson, and of course, Gavin Wilkinson.

So what else does this trade mean?

Well in getting back to business it means the Timbers shed the salary of a player who was not playing ($83,333K). That frees up future money; more so than the Perkins trade, to bring in more talent.

We also get a natural 1st round 2014 MLS Supplemental Draft pick from DC United as part of this deal. So what that really means with the super draft going to two rounds is that the Timbers will get what used to be called (two third round Super Draft picks); that’s if I understand the MLS draft wording correctly.

I’m not sure how that translates best for an MLS team but would offer it (may?) be like the Trailblazers getting two third round picks as opposed to one. So I guess that means this is another move to “build the bench”.

Personally I like that idea and for me, IMHO, it means we are increasing our chances of getting more young players to develop and make the organization stronger and better.

So in conclusion, I would offer that this trade; like the Perkins trade, that many fans still feel pain about, reduces current or future operating costs while also making room, or adding, new, younger players to make the organization better.

I would not be surprised to see both Jake Gleeson and Ian Hogg start sometime here in the next 5-6 games. We won’t really know how good they are until we give them the chance. We took this same approach with Brent Richards and there’s no reason to expect we won’t continue to do that.

Chris Gluck

Chris Gluck

I have been covering the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer, as a community blogger/analyst for the Columbian Newspaper, since June, 2012. Since then my involvement in soccer analysis has expanded to include participating in the Regional Emmy Award Winning Soccer City PDX TV Show (Comcast Sports Northwest). My unique analytical approach has been published in Europe and presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014. I also appear regularly as a co-host on Rose City Soccer Show and the Yellowcarded Podcast. You can find my work on PossessionwithPurpose.com, PTFC Collective and Prost Amerika.