First, the good. There were times when the tall Bermudan would race down the left like a thoroughbred, knocking over defenders and innocent teammates alike when cutting inside. He'd a whip a hard shot right on goal once every thirty times, or something like that. And when he was accurate - the oooooh's spewed out in tidal waves. It was a glimmer of what Steve Nicol hoped for when he originally scouted the lanky left mid during a preseason trip to the island nearly years ago.
But for all the promise he showed, there was the bad. For stretches longer than Amy Winehouse's rehab stints, he looked confused. Awkward. Like a man-child playing a game of kickabout for the first time. The crosses ended up in the stands. Shots landed somewhere in Attleboro or Norton, depending upon which end of the pitch the club was attacking. He was solved by a salient Los Angeles defense. Defenders half his size poached the ball away from him like Winona Ryder. And for all his efforts, you wished that the poor guy, who often looked like a giant kid lost at Six Flags, could just figure it out. He was Britney Spears-inconsistent.*
(*Has there been a more inconistent 365 days than Brit's? Wasn't it like earlier this year that she appeared to have a one-way ticket to the trailer park on the Bayou? Cigarette in one hand, a toddler in the other. Then, this video for "Womanizer" comes out, and she's hot again. Seriously Brit...WTF?)
Then, of course, there was the comedy of errors that often trailed the man whom I eventually came to call Krazy Khano. Who could forget that loopy free kick he took against Kansas City back in May 2007? I think he channeled Adam Vinatieri circa 2001 and booted a ball that reportedly clipped the tail rudder of a passing commercial flight.* Seriously. I think three home matches passed before that ball crashed down to earth.
(*Sadly, the video of this ROTFLOL moment was removed by YouTube shortly after the match.)
Lastly, there's a play that, in my mind, best sums up Khano's tenure in Foxboro. It was a late-September match vs. FC Dallas. The Revs, already up 3-2 late, penetrated the Dallas end, when, like blur, Khano came through and rifled a shot past Dario Sala. Caught up in the heat of celebration, he jumped the endline signage and nearly took out a warming-up Jay Heaps before leaping into the Fort. It was classic Khano in a ten-second nutshell.*
(*That match also happened to be one of his best matches in navy and red. Not only did he score the insurance goal, but suddenly seemed to morph into Steve Ralston with a PAIR of assists on Pat Noonan goals earlier.)
Despite the valleys and peaks, Khano Smith must be appreciated for the player he was: a playfully unpredictable performer who occasionally teased you with glimpses of his full potential.