Before September 8, Jeremy Ebobisse had one appearance for the Portland Timbers this season. It was an eight-minute cameo off the bench. But between Fanendo Adi’s departure and Samuel Armenteros’ downturn in form, he was finally given a shot against the Colorado Rapids. He scored on his first start of the season, and he’s appeared in every Timbers game since. He just might have saved Portland’s season.
The Timbers are still not really a “good” team. Their shot numbers haven’t improved much with Ebobisse up top. But he’s made the most of his minimal touches near the box, setting up and scoring goals. He found the back of the net in the Timbers’ 2-1 playoff win over the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, taking him up to three goals and three assists in just 609 minutes of play.
A lot of Ebobisse’s contributions have come on back-to-goal layoffs and tap-ins off rebounds or defensive errors, but Sunday’s goal was his best yet. He perfectly times a run to just barely beat the offside trap by an inch, then places a perfect finish past Stefan Frei while running at full speed.
Ebobisse, who has put up average numbers in USL since he turned pro in 2016, was probably written off by a lot of fans. But he scored 10 goals in 17 USMNT Under-20 appearances, and he’s still just 21 years old. It’s pretty clear that he’s good enough to start in MLS. And if he keeps getting chances, who knows how good he can get.