24 Under 24: #10 Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers
|Tale of the Tape|
|Matches played: 23|
|Matches started: 16|
#10. Darlington Nagbe
Pos: M | Portland Timbers | Age: 21
He was the undisputed best player in the college ranks and Timbers manager John Spencer stopped short of doing cartwheels when Darlington Nagbe fell to the No. 2 pick in the SuperDraft. But it’s proven to be slow going in MLS for the Akron product, who admits he’s still learning the subtleties and dealing with the demands of the pro game. He may not have left his stamp on many matches for Portland, but he did leave us with a goal for the ages already. His wonder strike against Sporting KC in July is merely a glimpse of the talent that everyone is convinced will eventually flourish.
What the TDs and coaches say: “Love Darlington Nagbe … To me he has can’t miss talent. Technically and athletically he has all the tools … Don’t think he’s shown what he can do so far in his rookie year … They’re still trying to find the best spot for him. For me should be played as an out-and-out striker … Doesn’t know how good he is at this level and needs more self-belief and killer instinct … He has moments of brilliance when he makes it look easy but he’s too inconsistent. It comes with being young … He needs to learn to defend and the work ethic associated with game at the highest level.”