We had our first chance yesterday to watch Jerry Akaminko during his trial with Real Salt Lake, and early signs were somewhat positive, if a little sparsely laid out.
Obviously, Akaminko wasn't strongly tested — the Portland lineup after the 60th minute was a gutted one — but we've picked out three moments regardless where he showed something positive.
64' — A long ball from just inside the RSL half could have caught Akaminko out, but he reads the cross perfectly and heads the ball back to Nick Rimando. This isn't rocket science, but it's a good start — and it's something RSL has managed to screw up before.
70' Another long ball, another good recovery from Akaminko. He shows good awareness to turn away from goal first, then adjust to return the ball to Nick Rimando.
82' — Here's our first mistake by Akaminko (who has been in camp for a matter of days), and he recovers from it well. A poor touch is followed up by a quick, smart pass that relieves any pressure and danger he created.
83' — The fact that we're looking at something so shortly after means that something's gone a bit wrong with RSL — in this case, it's that attacking efforts led to a giveaway in relatively short order, and Portland got the ball up-field efficiently and quickly. Akaminko, here, reads the pass well. It's an extremely simple step to get there, but he showed good anticipation. Considering the manner by which RSL conceded the only goal in this match, these are good signs to see from another center back.
So there we have it: Jerry Akaminko's 30-minute Real Salt Lake cameo. We'll be watching with eager eyes on Sunday to see if there's anything more we can learn, supposing he plays.