Does the TA like Fucito? Circle one: yes / no

It had to happen at some point. In fact, it’s happened before. A one-time Sounders player is suddenly found wearing a Timbers uniform. And vice-versa. While the United States is quite large compared to other soccer-playing nations, when it comes to the number of soccer players actively playing here per capita, it’s a pretty small talent pool to select from. So it was only a matter of time when someone would make the jump between the rival Cascadian cities. If you had money on the Timbers announcing the signing of former Sounders forward Mike Fucito on Friday, April 20, 2012 (via Montreal), congratulations, you’re a confirmed liar!

Reactions on my Twitter timeline ran the gamut: angered, excited, but most of all, confused. Don’t the Timbers already have enough forwards? (Obviously, this question was quickly answered by the soon-after announcement of Eddie Johnson’s retirement…the good one, but that’s another blog entry altogether.) Don’t the Timbers need more help on the back end? For a few hours on a Friday afternoon, Portland’s work production rate plummeted as they scratched their heads, completely distracted from the next day’s match against Sporting Kansas City. (Looking back, the distraction wasn’t completely unwelcomed.)

All of the sudden, both Timbers and Sounders fans found themselves dealing with the way-too-sudden reality of players playing on both teams during their MLS careers. This was one of the few times when both sets of fans were on mostly common ground with respect to dealing with such an ordeal.

NOTE: to the outsiders who might be reading this and thinking it’s completely ridiculous to make such a big deal about players moving between Portland and Seattle, I’d like to introduce you to something called sports. Some of them are even on TV, which you probably don’t even have. Go back to your scholarly journals and let us air this one out!

In order to come to grips with this, we should examine the individual player’s career performance, not just for the opposing team in question, but more specifically, their performance against our own team. Since I’m not the type to spend my free time sifting through sports statistics, I requested the help of local Timbers writer / podcaster Mike Donovan. Here’s what he found:

# of minutes played in MLS competitions: 1,071 (not including 129 playoff minutes)
# of goals scored in MLS competitions: 4

# of minutes played in Open Cup competitions: 193
# of goals scored in Open Cup competitions: 2

# of minutes played in CONCACAF competitions: 397
# of goals scored in CONCACAF competitions: 5

# of minutes played against the Timbers (regardless of MLS / USL / Open Cup, etc.): 0
# of goals scored against the Timbers: 0
# of fouls committed against the Timbers: 0
# of jerkwad goal celebrations in front of / toward the TA: 0

According to Donovan, “Fucito has never played against the Timbers in any official match. He did, however, play 73 minutes last year for the Sounder Reserves vs. the Timbers Reserves at Starfire. He also played 10 minutes in last year’s 2-0 Timbers win during the Cascadia Summit. He didn’t score or get a card in either appearance.”

Not bad on the stats, if I do say so myself. Looks to me like nothing but positives for the Timbers that could also help create negatives for the Sounders down the road. Let’s also examine a few other items of note:

Fucito was a fan favorite in Seattle. They were pissed when Montreal acquired Fucito and Lamar Neagle in exchange for Eddie Johnson (the bad one). Both were considered fan favorites before being shipped off. If Seattle fans were pissed then, they were irate on Friday afternoon when news of Fucito wearing a better shade of green hit the newswire. Seattle’s misery is Portland’s joy.

Also, as if the two Timbers-Sounders derby matches taking place at JELD-WEN Field in 2012 needed more heat this year, well…they got it. Can you imagine the scene if Fucito scores against his old team? Think about that for a second. Twitter timelines across Portland could be jammed for seconds…nay, dare I say, MINUTES!!

Fucito also attended Harvard University. We like smart people here in Portland (contrary to my statement above about scholarly journals. Apologies.).

Finally, reports came out over the weekend that Seattle couldn’t reach a deal to get Fucito back from Montreal. The way I understand it, the Timbers got Fucito in exchange for either the Timbers’ highest 2nd round draft pick in 2013, or a 2013 international roster spot, depending on his 2012 performance. Call me crazy, but that looks to me like the Timbers got Fucito on the cheap. Am I to believe that Seattle couldn’t give up at least that much to acquire a fan favorite that would require next to zero time for re-acclimation to the city and the team’s playing style? If I were a Seattle fan (which, according to some people, I am), I would be furious about this part most of all.

This scenario reminds a bit of The Mighty Ducks, where the star player for the evil team of rich kids suddenly found himself playing for the good guys through no fault of his own. Over time, he triumphed over adversity and found his way into hearts of teammates and fans alike.

OK, so it might not be as dramatic as a Disney movie, but I think you see what I’m getting at here. Fucito’s a good player, and is clearly more than able to make solid contributions toward the Timbers’ overall aspirations. I see no valid reason for us to be questioning where his loyalties may lie, especially when his old team didn’t pony up for him. He’s now a Timber, and he should be respected and treated as one. Let’s put on the daddy pants and be a big boy about this, mmm-kay?

Now if Levesque ever becomes a Timber (again), all bets are off. Cuz seriously, screw that guy!

Mike Donovan writes for OregonSports.com, and co-hosts No Pity City. He’s also pretty good on Twitter.

This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the 107ist or the TA.

This entry was posted in Official News, TA Blogs, Timbers Army and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Does the TA like Fucito? Circle one: yes / no

  1. Ed Hurtley says:

    Do I *LIKE* him? No, not yet. Just as I didn’t like Boyd until I saw him play. I think part of the “pushback” some TA are giving isn’t directed at Fucito for being a former Flounder (although some are so rabidly anti-Flounder that they will rail against any former Flounder, forgetting such former Flounders-turned-Timbers-regulars as Andrew Gregor or Stephen Keel! (Even John Bain played for the Flounders for a while between the NASL and WSL/APSL days.) Most of the pushback is against the Timbers themselves, not for Fucito being a Flounder, but for Fucito being a forward, when most supporters believe that we need defense.

    Personally, I’ll save judgment for how he performs on the pitch. If he spends 90% of his time on the bench, or worse, on the reserve squad, then it seems like a pointless move. If he becomes a core part of our front line, feeding Boyd and scoring goals of his own like mad, then I won’t care that he came from S–ttle.

    It’s only former Flounders who taunted the TA on a regular basis that I would *NEVER* accept. (See LeFeck.)

  2. Adam Evang says:

    Wait, was I supposed to figuratively or literally circle my choice? This post misled me from the get go.

  3. Nate says:

    As a proud member of the Army and a 107ist, I say this…
    Who really cares where he came from before, unless he’s been a confirmed jerk before (especially here or otherwise vs. Timbers).
    The fact that a lot of people have to look up anything about him, or are spouting off unsubstantiated/untrue crap before looking anything up should say this: We don’t know him, and even if we do, he hasn’t done anything bad…
    So, if the front office thinks he can help us win, what’s the problem? Cheer him on with the rest of our guys. He’s one of us now!
    (By the way, maybe he hated Seattle? Maybe he’ll like it here better? C’mon people be creative in the right direction…)

    RCTID!

  4. DJ Moxley says:

    He’s a badass, and he’ll be a huge asset for us.

  5. Jake Mareneck says:

    New phrasing:
    Does the TA like Fucito? Please put exactly seven checkmarks by your choice:
    Yes
    No

    I think it’s a solid move for forward depth having just lost (there’s only one) Eddie Johnson to retirement. I think I’m with a lot of people when I say that if Fucito goes out and a) creates goals, b) scores goals and c) generally helps the team out in a positive light, I won’t care one bit if he played for the enemy before. As previously stated, he’s never played against us and has never been a complete douchenozzle about the TA. I just don’t have that same dislike of the guy as, say, No Means No or LeFeck. I say welcome him to the Timbers with open arms, it makes it that much better knowing up north they’re sh*tting bricks because he signed with us.

  6. I’d like to submit a claim on the scratched circle where I circled “Yes”… who do I talk to about reimbursement?

    lol

  7. Kurt Kemmerer says:

    “Like/Dislike” are a loaded terms. He’s a Timber now, so I support him.

  8. Ryan says:

    More of the same. I don’t dislike him, and I certainly don’t blame him for playing hard for any team. Any beef I’ve ever had with players has always been about personality, work ethic, and/or sportsmanship. I’d happily take most MLS players, flounder-scented or not, if it would help my team.

    Please don’t boo this guy. He was shafted by Seattle, apparently didn’t fit in at Montreal, and now we’ve got a shot to show how we’re a better SG and a better city overall.

    Bottom line: If he bleeds for us, that’s good enough for me.

  9. Jeff Adams says:

    I wish Mike well. Not interested in the ‘crossover’ discussion because it will all be set in stone after his first match in green. We will probably claim his as our own simply because the flouders now hate him.

    My ire is reserved for the front office for going after depth at one position while injuries decimate another. Mr Fiddlybits (Spencer) has shown no ability to manage his own third of the field. I said at the beginning of this year that our club’s fate ultimately rests with Spencer’s ability to learn and grow into his job (remember, he was a rookie head coach just last year) and so far, I’m not really seeing it. A lot of the same problems, a lot of the same mistakes. No image brought that more into focus than a graphic Root sports put on during the KC game Saturday: Purdy was down injured and the TV crew put up a run-down of our bench: 2 forwards, 3 midfielders and one defender, Braun, – and he later made his MLS debut for the injured Purdy. With the current setup, you’re going to sit Perlaza, Dike AND Fucito while Nagbe teams with Boyd? All the while rotating midfielders into defense and vice-versa? This is madness.

    Fact is, John Spencer is a tremendous asset for MLS. But he would be better utilized with an expansion team such as the rumored NY Cosmos who will need goals to attract customers. But in Portland, there’s no ticket issue. We’ve never had an empty seat for the MLS Timbers. What we need is trophies and we need a COMPLETE coach to win them.

  10. Sean Moran says:

    FU-Cito. Not because he’s an ex Sounder but because we need to stop picking up other teams rejects. If he scores 10-15 goals a season for our first team then great but Not gonna happen. Is Fucito better than Dike? I don’t think so. A goal scorer job is to get goals. I don’t care where they came from or who they have played for. Not sit on a bench of play in a reserve league.

  11. Derp Longjohnson says:

    Who gives a sh*t? These guys are just doing their job. A team pays them to play a sport, they play as well as they can for the team that is currently paying them. Do you really expect a professional athlete to intentionally play worse against certain teams, in the fear that he may one day be on that team and he wouldn’t want the fans to hate him? Give me a break. Unless there’s some indication that Fucito won’t be playing at 100% for the Timbers, then this whole discussion is ridiculous.

  12. Chris says:

    I support him because he’s a Timber, but like all players, he must keep in mind that respect needs to be earned.

  13. John says:

    His name isn’t Freddie Montero or Roger Levesque. We’ll learn to like him. It’s not as bad because of his time in Montreal too. If it was directly from the Sounders it would be really weird. If he scores some goals for us and plays his heart out he’ll be fine.

  14. Jimmy Mack says:

    I think it’s a good get. Hard working and smart. Let’s get him to grow a beard…

  15. Bradley Wright says:

    I say welcome to Portland. My gut feeling is that even without our EJ, one of our remaining forwards is tradebait now.

  16. Mark Teipe says:

    I think the Timbers FO could have handled this a lot better than “whelp.. Eddie’s officially gone and here’s a new forward that if you google is dawning a highlighter kit too painful to look at. Done. Cue the next marketing tidbit.” Eddie Johnson news is just tragic and we needed more than a few seconds absorb that in its finality. My heart goes out to EJ and his family.
    Also the thing we least expected (or I expected) was another forward when we were on a losing streak knowing our biggest pain was in rear wings/defense and MF service to forwards. It was all just thrown at us and we’re expected to trust that the FO man behind the curtain has it all under control.
    That said, screw me. What do I know? I’m just a fan who really loves my city, club, and the game. Welcome to Portland Mr. Fucito and if you want to give me a swift free kick to my arse AIK FC training-style go for it… I probably deserve it.

  17. Todd Hodges says:

    “Hate the jersey, not the player.” Pro players have to be a bit mercenary in their attitudes regarding the teams who own their right to play. We fans need a bit of the same. I’m a Sounder and a Cascadia guy, and I miss Mike, to be sure. He may not have been the most valuable MLS asset, but you see what he was able to do outside MLS for us. If you value these contests, you will value him. If you don’t, then you wont. Either way, and despite the pedigree, the “Love the jersey, players are interchangeable.” attitude may suck, but would you rather your team succeed without your favorite players, or fail with them? Still, I imagine he is there to sweeten a trade for some defense.

  18. Chris says:

    He scores vs Sh*ttle all is surely forgiven (not that there is too much to forgive anyway)…

  19. douglas gaines says:

    a goal is a goal is a goal, and i could care less where a player comes from if he can put it in the back of the onion bag and get these matches exciting!

  20. Vanessa Chiong says:

    Fucito sounds very earnest and eager to play for us. If he is out on the field, I will root for him- he’s a Timber, plain and simple. I hope he ends up giving Boyd stellar service and making quite a few goals of his own. It’s not like we aquired Levesque or Montero and he’s played 10 mins against us in a game we won. While we do need our defense to improve, which they’ve been working on; Boyd needs service to get those goals he’s made a name for himself with.

  21. Victor Zorich says:

    Did he help “chop” down Levesque during the goal celebration mocking the Timberrrrrs? Can’t find that video on youtube for some reason…hmmm.

  22. locustdawn says:

    lol at

    # of jerkwad goal celebrations in front of / toward the TA: 0

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