A new year is here, and as the Trail Blazers flirt with their worst season since 2012-13, many Portland sports fans can’t wait for the start of Timbers season on March 1st. While the Timbers are still without a new Designated Player striker, they have made a few interesting roster moves.
Here’s a quick rundown on what roster moves have transpired since the season’s end back on October 19th, 2019:
- Defender Dario Zuparic was signed using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).
- Jorge Moreira‘s loan from River Plate was extended by six months.
- The Timbers expressed interest in extending Cristhian Paredes‘ loan, and it appears they have, with announcements like this coming after the loan’s expiration date on the new year.
- Sidenote on Paredes: there is another Cristhian Paredes playing in a club in Paraguay, leading some sources to falsely say our Paredes had been transferred there. The more you know.
- Claude Dielna, Kendall McIntosh, Modou Jadama, and Foster Langsdorf were all let go.
- Steve Clark was re-signed to a new contract.
- Diego Valeri was re-signed using TAM.
- Yimmi Chará (Diego’s brother) was signed as a Designated Player from Colombian side Atlético Mineiro.
- Zarek Valentin was selected by Nashville SC in the Expansion Draft.
- Portland drafted Aaron Molloy, Zac McGraw, and Joergen Oland out of the SuperDraft. These guys aren’t expected to see first team minutes, though.
- Brian Fernández was signed by Colon de Santa Fe on a free transfer. The Timbers already terminated his contract last calendar year.
- Midfielder Blake Bodily was signed as a Home Grown Player from the University of Washington.
Of course, you may have heard that the Timbers are probably going to sign Polish striker Jaroslaw Niezgoda from Legia Warsaw. Reports indicate that he was in Portland and getting a physical while the Timbers finalize things.
Finally, it looks like Portland might not be done quite yet during the transfer window:
This leaves the current roster as follows:
- Forwards: Jeremy Ebobisse
- Midfielders: Dairon Asprilla, Sebástian Blanco, Diego Chará, Yimmi Chará, Tomás Conechny, Andres Flores, Marvin Loría, Andy Polo, Diego Valeri, Eryk Williamson, Renzo Zambrano
- Defenders: Julio Cascante, Marco Farfan, Larrys Mabiala, Jorge Moreira, Bill Tuiloma, Jorge Villafaña, Dario Zuparic
- Goalkeepers: Jeff Attinella, Steve Clark, Aljaz Ivacic
Assuming Niezgoda is added, there’s a pretty solid picture of how the Timbers will line up for the season opener on March 1st.
It’ll be interesting to see who wins out the starting spots on the back line. Hopefully having a new defender around will push Cascante, Mabiala, and Tuiloma to their best.
Ebobisse as a backup left winger or center forward sounds about his speed. Knowing our injury history and the rigors of MLS, I’m sure he’ll get plenty of reps as the season wears on.
All things considered, this looks like a great starting XI, but it’s not as good as it could be. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s a very Portland Timbers XI in that there’s not a ton of big names (outside the Diegos, to an extent) like you might see elsewhere in MLS, but plenty of potential for the new guys to become big names.
At the end of the day, it’s all about how this unit can work together to get consistent results—something we never really saw from the Timbers in 2019. I think one big lesson we can take from last year is that early-season games still very much matter, so it’d be nice to have a thorough season from start to finish.