Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A Squirrel Out West

Casting our minds back to pre-season, there were a few posts here on GGOA covering attempts by former Squirrel Takuro Nishimura to get hooked up with a new club, having been released by Omiya at the end of 2008. Taking the bull by the horns and travelling round the US in order to undergo trials with pretty much anyone who would have him, Takuro eventually signed for USL1 side Portland Timbers, who it's already been confirmed will be moving up into MLS in 2011. Here Timbers fan Michael Pearson kindly writes with an update on Nishimura and his new team:

"It looks like the Timbers are going to win the league - we're top of the table at the moment and are now on a 23-game unbeaten streak (we only lost our first game). Should we make it through a match this Friday in Charleston, South Carolina, our last games are against lower table teams, so we could go the rest of the season without a loss! It's been a pretty amazing season so far, especially considering last year we were dead last.

"Regarding Takuro, it looks like he is finally feeling better after the back injury that's kept him out most of the season. I've talked to some of the other players, and it sounded like a really unlucky injury that just took a long time to heal. However, in our last game against Miami, Nishimura came on as a second half sub and looked amazing. He had great shot on goal that the goalie had to tip over and in the next sequence, absolutely nutmegs about four Miami players before getting in a good pass.

"He has come on in several of the last matches as a sub and played well: lots of offense going forward and some really amazing crosses. No goals or assists that I remember, and the right back position he mainly plays (also had some time at midfield) is held by Scot Thompson, who this year is now record holder for most minutes played by a Timbers player. Not a lot of time has been available, unfortunately - but he's been looking even more dangerous since he has been getting back to match fitness.

"I'm really hoping to see more of him as we run into the play-offs. I don't know if he is going to necessarily start in front of Thompson, but Cameron Knowles - our starting central defender - is out for the season as of about a week ago with a badly broken leg. Scot has played central defender in a pinch before, so I think we'll start seeing Nishimura get some more time going forward, especially on the run-up to the play-offs.

"It's sorta interesting, because last year - with the talent he has - he would have been a starter probably no questions asked, especially in the midfield. But we had over seventeen new players and all of them have probably for the most part exceeded expectations. Of our current line-up, only two or three players were here last year: Scot Thompson, Cameron Knowles and sometime starter Takayuki Suzuki. Its definitely been a different/exciting year!"

There is good, free online coverage of Portland games via Thanks to Michael for the update and best of luck to Takuro and the Timbers for the rest of 2009.



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