Brunner & Moffat Share Columbus Roots, Portland Excitement
The 2011 edition of the Portland Timbers is bringing numerous new players together but two of the newest recruits should shape up well on the field. Adam Moffat and Eric Brunner, both 24, played together for two seasons at the Columbus Crew, and even roomed together on the road – by choice.
“It’s a good feeling, we know each other’s game,” said Moffat. “On the field we have a good chemistry. Eric’s a really good athlete, he won’t get outrun by anyone.” Brunner stands out at 6-foot-4. “Big long legs, great defending, but he can really play for a big guy.”
Can he dribble? “Hopefully not too much,” Moffat says with a laugh though he does say Brunner is strong in the air. Moffat hesitates to compare him to any famous player, but he concedes that in style, his colleague is more like Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidić than John Terry. “Eric does the job of defending but can distribute the ball really well.”
They’re good friends off the pitch as well. Brunner plays video games, Moffat sees them as a waste of time but does like a game of pool. They’ve had some fiercely competitive pool sessions together, particularly in Dallas at a place called Dave & Buster’s.
Moffat’s parents live in his native Scotland and his sister in Australia. So he and his Californian wife Jennifer will be looking for somewhere, likely in the Portland suburbs, with space enough to accommodate visitors. For now he’s returning to California with her and her family until Portland’s preseason training begins.
“I’ve heard Voodoo Doughnuts is good, but I’m not allowed to eat many of them,” Moffat jokes. “I’m looking forward to the restaurants here, and visiting the coast.”
Brunner says on the field he looks for Moffat to be “a hard-nosed player. Adam goes in hard for the ball and he puts his body on the line.” In training, he says, “You know when Moff’s coming, but it’s training, so he has to hold back from the tackle, because we don’t want to get injured.” He also rates Moffat’s hard shot, and his skill. “I’m comfortable playing the ball to him in any situation.”
As for the shift from Columbus to the Pacific Northwest, Brunner is eager to experience the Timbers-Sounders derby.
“I’m really looking forward to playing Seattle, for the rivalry,” he said. "You always want to play in those types of games, with the pressure and all the attention.” The equivalent in Columbus was playing Toronto or Chicago, but this will be an entirely different experience.
“Portland’s a new adventure,” said Brunner. “I’ve lived in New York and Miami, I’ve never visited the West Coast before so I’m excited for it.”
Brunner hopes to complete his degree in communication technology, perhaps at Portland State, as he heard Trail Blazer Greg Oden also took some classes there. As for moving to Portland, Brunner has walked around, looked at the Pearl District and Goose Hollow, and on Craigslist at likely places to live.
The two players are genuinely excited to be teammates again and exploring the new city. "I get on well with Adam," Brunner said. "So he'll probably give me a ring."