Welcome! Login | Register
 

Alex and Ani Announces Charity by Design Collection By Celebrities Cuoco, Moore & Olsen—Alex and Ani Announces Charity by Design Collection…

Sunday Political Brunch: Is this a Franken-Stein Strategy?—December 10, 2017—Sunday Political Brunch: Is this a Franken-Stein Strategy?…

Running Down The LA Rams – Can The Seahawks Catch Cinderella?—Running Down The LA Rams – Can The…

Weiss: Medicare Takes a Blow Under GOP’s Major Tax Plan Fix—Weiss: Medicare Takes a Blow Under GOP’s Major…

Della Volpe Unveils Insights on “Morning Joe”—“Most Millennials Fearful of Future”—Della Volpe Unveils Insights on "Morning Joe" --…

Traumatic Brain Injury – The Impact Of Football-Related Concussions—Traumatic Brain Injury – The Impact Of Football-Related…

Assuming Willie Taggart Leaves For FSU, Who Should Be Oregon’s Next Coach?—Assuming Willie Taggart Leaves For FSU, Who Should…

Columbia Sportswear & Star Wars Unveil Jackets Based on “The Empire Strikes Back”—Columbia Sportswear & Star Wars Unveil Jackets Based…

Glass Nabs Top Award In The CHL, Portland Winterhawks Gets Bladed—Glass Nabs Top Award In The CHL, Portland…

Sunday Politcal Brunch: A Taxing Problem on Capitol Hill - December 3, 2017—Sunday Politcal Brunch: A Taxing Problem on Capitol…

 
 

What Does Signing Lucas Melano Mean for the Portland Timbers?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

 

Lucas Melano

It isn’t often that a Cascadia derby match is relegated to the 2nd biggest story for the Portland Timbers, but that is exactly what happened this week when the team finally announced the long-rumored acquisition of (another) Argentine Designated Player in 22-year old Lucas Melano on Friday, just a day before Portland played to a 1-1 draw with northern rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Melano joins the Timbers as their third Designated Player, filling the recently opened slot Portland created by utilizing the new “Targeted Allocation Money” provided by MLS to pay down the salary cap charge of striker Fanendo Adi below the Designated Player threshold. Timbers owner Merritt Paulson opened up the checkbook for this signing, as Portland paid the entirety of Melano’s reported $5,000,000 transfer fee. Melano is also expected to earn a salary near $1,000,000 annually, making him the second-highest paid Timber behind center back Liam Ridgewell.

The 6-foot-1 Melano most recently played with Club Atlético Lanús, part of the Argentine top division. Interestingly, Lanús is the same club that current Timber Diego Valeri played for before joining Portland in 2013. Timbers General Manager Gavin Wilkinson admitted that the club had been following Melano for “several years,” and had to fend off interest from “several European and Mexican clubs” to earn his signature.

Melano played mainly the target forward position while at Lanus, scoring eight goals in 42 league appearances. But one of the most appealing aspects of Melano for the Timbers was his potential adaptability. According to Timbers coach Caleb Porter, “(Melano’s) versatility to be able to play any of the front four positions in our system also gives us flexibility to mesh him with our other quality pieces.” Multiple scouting reports cite Melano’s speed and height combination as his greatest asset, so he could fit in nicely as the type of speedy, skilled wing player that Caleb Porter seems to favor.

Based on Porter’s comments and Melano’s profile, it would seem likely that the new acquisition will slide into the left wing slot currently occupied by Dairon Asprilla and Rodney Wallace, leaving Adi and Maximiliano Urruti to continue manning the target striker position. While some Timbers fans would like to have seen a replacement striker brought in, adding a top-tier talent on the wing will open more space for all, particularly playmakers Valeri and Darlington Nagbe.

As the match against Vancouver Saturday night made clear, the defensive strategy against Portland is to pressure Valeri and Nagbe with double-and-triple teams, and make someone else on the field beat them. While Asprilla has the speed, his technical ability and finishing are not elite and teams are willing to let him go 1-on-1. If Melano is as good as advertised, he will punish teams that focus too heavily on Valeri and Nagbe.

Even more interesting than what this signing means for the Timbers tactically is what this signing represents philosophically for the Timbers and Coach Porter, GM Gavin Wilkinson, and Merritt Paulson. Melano is 22-years old and is, while undeniably talented and skilled, probably somewhere between two and four years from reaching the true prime of his career.

For a five million dollar transfer fee and a one million dollar annual salary, the Timbers probably could have landed a player closer to the prime (or just beyond) of his career that could have a greater immediate impact on this season’s fortunes. For example, 31-year old Brazillian international Robinho just signed with a Chinese team on a free transfer, NYCFC just signed 37-year old Italian legend Andrea Pirlo, and 35-year old Steven Gerrard had an immediate impact in his first game for Los Angeles Galaxy Friday night. The Timbers themselves had previously expressed interest in 37-year old Ivorian striker Didier Drogba. All are legendary players long past their best years, but all are primed to help their respective teams for a year or two.

In signing a 22-year old, no matter his potential, over a past-his-prime legend, the Timbers are demonstrating they want to build a team to compete for the next five years, not just today. Consider the ages of Portland’s other main players: Nagbe is 25, Adi is 24, Valeri is 29, Will Johnson is 28, Urruti is 24, Ridgewell is 30, and Alvas Powell is 21. Only 34-year old center back Nat Borchers is probably close to the end of his prime, and even he has two-to-three more solid years as a center back. Should this team gel the way the Portland braintrust hopes, the core of this group could be together for years to come, only getting better as these young players enter their best years.

In the meantime, Portland still has a pretty good team that just added another weapon. Porter and Wilkinson were unable to say when Melano would actually join the team, but it would be a surprise if we did not see him in Timbers uniform by the next home match on August 7th against Chicago. In the meantime, Portland has two critical away games coming up against Western Conference leaders FC Dallas and San Jose Earthquakes, who trail Portland in the playoff chase by six points with 13 games left to play.

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Most Devastating Sports Injuries

Here is GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's most devastating injuries that have occured within the past 10 years.

Prev Next

Greg Oden

Sept. 2007 — Micro fracture surgery on right knee

Dec. 2009 — Fractured left patella 

Nov. 2010 — Micro fracture surgery on left knee

Dec. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on right knee

Unfortunately, Trail Blazer fans everywhere already know how drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant worked out for their team. After being be the #1 selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden was never able to play a full season due to ongoing knee injuries. The team eventually waived him in March of 2012.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Dennis Dixon

Nov. 2007 — Torn left ACL

During the 2007 season Dixon had the Oregon Ducks as the #2 team in the country. That was until he suffered a torn ACL against Arizona State and attempted to play on it the following week against Arizona. After Dixon went down for the season the Ducks lost their remaining two regular season games. Fortunately, they were able to end their season on a high note with a victory over South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Brandon Roy

Sept. 2008 — Cartilage removed from left knee

April 2010 — Meniscus tear in right knee

Jan. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on both knees

Brandon Roy is perhaps one of the most beloved Trail Blazers in the history of the franchise. After being drafted in 2006, and leading the team out of the "Jail-Blazer" era, he had to make the tough decision to retire at the young age of 28. His degenerative knees prevented Rip City from seeing their superstar ever play to his full potential.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Jacquizz Rodgers

Nov. 2008 — Grade II separation of the acromioclavicular joint

During the second to last game in 2008 Jacquizz Rodgers suffered a separated shoulder that ended his season. Unfortunately, this meant that he wasn't able to play in the Civil War, which was perhaps the biggest game of the year for the Beavers. If the Beavers had been able to defeat the Ducks they would've been able to book their tickets to play in the Rose Bowl. Instead, they went to the Sun Bowl where they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

James Rodgers

Oct. 2009 — Torn left ACL

After participating in only 4 games during the 2009 season Rodgers went down with a torn ACL while playing against #9 Arizona. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Rodgers considering he was expected to have a breakout season. Rodgers, who was a senior at the time, was able to end his career at Oregon State as the career leader in all-purpose yards.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Joel Pryzbilla

Dec. 2009 — Ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella

In December of 2009 the Trail Blazers' backup center, Joel Pryzbilla, was lost for the season with a ruptured and dislocated patella. This was a huge blow to the Trailblazers' frontcourt because they had already lost Oden for the season a few weeks before. Pryzbilla was also the team's defensive anchor who provided an inside presence. "The Vanilla Gorilla" was sorely missed for the rest of the year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropepd)
Prev Next

LaMichael James

Oct. 2011 — Dislocated right elbow

The 2011 season couldn't have started any better for LaMichael James. After the first game James became Oregon's career rushing leader, surpassing Derek Loville. During the second game he rushed for over 200 yards against Missouri State. Unfortunately, James' year was slowed by a dislocated elbow suffered against Cal. Luckily for Duck fans he was able to return to end the season.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
Prev Next

Nate Costa

Nov. 2010 —Torn Right ACL

After suffering a multitude of knee injuries throughout his career at Oregon Costa was forced to officially retire from football after tearing his ACL for the third time in agame against Washington. Although Costa's career was hobbled by injuries many of his teammates looked to him as their leader. Oregon's coaching staff referred to Costa as the "heart and soul" of the 2010 team that won the Rose Bowl.

Photo via Addictedtoquack (image cropped)
Prev Next

Sean Mannion

Oct. 2012 — Torn Left Meniscus

During the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Sean Mannion was enjoying one of his best as a Beaver. Unfortunately, he tore his left meniscus against Washington State that resulted in him missing around half the season. With Mannion leading the way the Beavers had the Pac-12's fourth rated offense, averaging 459.5 yeards per game. With Mannion sidelined Cody Vaz became the starting quarterback

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Marcus Mariota

Oct. 2013 — Partial MCL Tear

Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as one of the greatest Oregon Duck quarterbacks to ever play at Autzen. Unfortunately a knee injury hobbled his sophomore season. After Mariota suffered a partial MCL tear against UCLA he conintued to play the remainder of the season. With Mariota's knee not allowing him to be as mobile as he was accustomed to teams were able to take advantage. In the weeks following the injury the Ducks suffered losses to Stanford and Arizona. Duck fans everywhere would like to know what that season woud've loked like if Mariota had stayed healthy.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

CJ McCollum

Oct. 2013 — Broken fifth Metatarsal In Left Foot

After being taken 10th overall during the 2013 NBA Draft the shooting guard out of Lehigh wasn't able to start his career the way many had hoped. After breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot the rookie wasn't able to take the court until January of 2014. Before the injury McCollum was in consideration for playing time behind Lillard. 

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Alex Morgan

Oct. 2013 — Stress reaction in talus bone

During the 2013 season Morgan suffered an injury that doctors misdiagnosed as a mildly sprained ankle. After a few additional tests were performed it turned out that Morgan had suffered a far more serious injury. She actually suffered a stress reaction in the talus bone that put her immediate future with Team USA in question. After rehabbing for 7 months Morgan was able to make a full recovery.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Bralon Addison

April 2014 — Torn left ACL

After exceeding expectations as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Oregon Addison was expecting big things from his junior year. Unfortunately, Addison suffered a torn ACL during last year's spring practice that kept him sidelined the entire year. Without Addison in the lineup the receiving core never lived up to their full potential. If he had been able to play this season the National Championship may have wielded a different outcome.

Photo via Facebook (image cropped)
Prev Next

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Dec. 2014 — Torn ACL

In preparation for the first ever college football playoffs Ekpre-Olomu ended up tearing his ACL during a routine practice. This was a huge blow to the Ducks considering Ekpre-Olomu was one of the team's better defenders. He was also one of the best corners in the country who many analysists expected to be selected as high as the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
Prev Next

Wesley Matthews

March 2015 — Torn left achilles

Just 2 months before Matthews suffered a torn achilles he had become the Trailblazers' all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. It looked as though the Trailblazers were poised to make a deep playoff run. Things took a drastic turn when Matthews was lost for the season. With the team in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies it doesn't look as though they will be making it to the second round of the playoffs this year.

Photo via Wikipedia (image cropped)
 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 
Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox