Welcome! Login | Register
 

Sunday Political Brunch: Is this a Franken-Stein Strategy?—December 10, 2017—Sunday Political Brunch: Is this a Franken-Stein Strategy?…

Running Down The LA Rams – Can The Seahawks Catch Cinderella?—Running Down The LA Rams – Can The…

Weiss: Medicare Takes a Blow Under GOP’s Major Tax Plan Fix—Weiss: Medicare Takes a Blow Under GOP’s Major…

Della Volpe Unveils Insights on “Morning Joe”—“Most Millennials Fearful of Future”—Della Volpe Unveils Insights on "Morning Joe" --…

Traumatic Brain Injury – The Impact Of Football-Related Concussions—Traumatic Brain Injury – The Impact Of Football-Related…

Assuming Willie Taggart Leaves For FSU, Who Should Be Oregon’s Next Coach?—Assuming Willie Taggart Leaves For FSU, Who Should…

Columbia Sportswear & Star Wars Unveil Jackets Based on “The Empire Strikes Back”—Columbia Sportswear & Star Wars Unveil Jackets Based…

Glass Nabs Top Award In The CHL, Portland Winterhawks Gets Bladed—Glass Nabs Top Award In The CHL, Portland…

Sunday Politcal Brunch: A Taxing Problem on Capitol Hill - December 3, 2017—Sunday Politcal Brunch: A Taxing Problem on Capitol…

Abdominal Fat – Health Risks And What Can Be Done—Abdominal Fat – Health Risks And What Can…

 
 

Portland Timbers Already Reshaping Roster for 2016

Friday, January 08, 2016

 

While it seems like just yesterday that we were all watching the Portland Timbers celebrate their first MLS Cup, the Timbers brain trust of owner Merritt Paulson, General Manager Gavin Wilkinson, and Head Coach Caleb Porter have been hard at work re-shaping the roster in anticipation of the 2016 season.

The team has already made a number of personnel moves in the past three weeks, including saying goodbye to three players who were regular fixtures for the Timbers over the past two seasons. Gone are midfielder Will Johnson (Toronto FC), defender Jorge Villafana (Mexican club Santos Laguna), and striker Maximiliano Urruti (FC Dallas). While Johnson had recently fallen out of favor with Porter due to the change in formation and Johnson’s recent health issues, both Villafana and Urruti played major roles in the Timbers’ drive to MLS Cup. Practically, the realities of life in a salary cap league necessitated the moves to give Portland needed flexibility with the rest of the roster.

Portland did trade for defender Chris Klute from Columbus Crew, ostensibly with an eye toward filling the void left by Villafana. Prior to joining Columbus, Klute was a member of the Colorado Rapids where he was voted the team’s defender of the year in 2013.

Portland also acquired veteran defender Jermaine Taylor through the re-entry draft, who previously was a starter for Houston Dynamo before an injury forced him out of the lineup. Taylor is another veteran presence on the backline and provides experience and skill behind starters Liam Ridgewell and Nat Borchers, who are both expected to return. Taylor also serves as insurance for Portland should they be unable to come to terms with defender Norberto Paparatto, who is currently a free agent.

The offseason transfer window for MLS does not officially open until February 18th, which would be the first date that Portland could go out and purchase the rights to non-MLS players. Portland is currently sitting on a fairly large amount of Targeted Allocation Money (briefly explained here) which could be used to bring in another top-tier talent. Portland could buy down the salary cap hit of Diego Valeri or even possibly Liam Ridgewell and use that Designated Player slot to insert another difference maker into the lineup.

Based on recent history however, don’t expect Portland to make any large, splashy moves this year.  Recently Portland has eschewed the high-priced international veteran model (Steven Gerrard, Didier Drogba, Kaka, etc.) for a more pragmatic, fit-oriented approach to player acquisitions. Particularly with their large signings, Portland seems to look for younger players that will fit in well in the Portland culture and could be a part of the team for years to come, such as Lucas Melano (22 years old), Fanendo Adi (25 years old), or Diego Valeri (acquired at 27 years old). Additionally, Portland is bringing back at least nine of their eleven starters from a team that won the title, so there is little pressure to make a large splash with a signing.

In the coming months, look for Portland to attempt to restock their depth, particularly behind Adi with Urruti now in Dallas. Porter and Wilkinson are probably also shopping for second-team midfielders who are comfortable box-to-box, with Nagbe now a strong candidate for national team duty and Valeri’s injury history.

Amazingly, we are already less than two months away from the beginning of the 2016 MLS season. While the core of the Portland Timbers will remain largely unchanged from the championship-winning squad we saw a month ago, the financial realities of MLS and the price of success mean that Paulson, Porter, and Wilkinson have their work cut out for them to craft a team with the skill and depth to challenge for a repeat championship, particularly with a target now squarely placed on their backs.

 

Related Slideshow: 10 Vines Celebrating the Portland Timbers Season

Prev Next

The Portland Timbers took a 1-0 lead in the MLS Cup final on this error by the Columbus Crew goaltender Steve Clark and a goal by Diego Valeri The goal took 28 seconds to score and is the fastest in MLS Cup history.

Prev Next

Timbers go up 2-0 on what proves to be the MLS Cup winner.

Prev Next

The Portland Timbers win the MLS Cup. The first championship in team history.

Prev Next

Let the celebration begin.

Prev Next

Drinking from the cup.

Prev Next

Timbers advance to MLS Cup Finals.

Prev Next

Lucas Melano helps seal a western conference championship over FC Dallas. The Timbers advance to the MLS Cup Final.

Prev Next

Fanendo Adi gets Portland on the board in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Prev Next

Timber Joey has had a lot to celebrate this season.

Prev Next

Fans pour in to Providence Park

 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 

X

Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email