Timbers wrap up busy week of roster moves
The Portland Timbers made a flurry of moves this week as the team prepares for next season under new head coach Caleb Porter.
Heading into its third Major League Soccer season, Portland signed goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, defender Ryan Kawulok and midfielder Rodney Wallace to new contracts. Additionally, the team exercised contract options on eight players from last season's roster, and declined the option for defender Steven Smith.
The moves came in advance of the league's re-entry draft. As expected, Portland passed on its pick in the first stage on Friday, and will have the third pick for the second stage next Friday.
Earlier this week, the Timbers acquired defender Michael Harrington from Sporting KC and midfielder Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake in other moves.
Portland is re-tooling its roster after finishing up the season 8-16-10, ranked second-to-last in Major League Soccer's Western Conference and falling far short of the team's goal to reach the playoffs.
Porter is expected to join the team later this month and his formal introduction should come after the holidays. He has been actively involved in the team's roster moves while he wraps up his tenure at Akron.
The Zips, winner of eight straight Mid-American Conference regular season titles, finished this season 18-1-3 and went to the third round of the NCAA tournament before falling to Creighton on penalty kicks. Porter finishes his career at Akron 123-18-17. He led the Zips to the school's first team national championship in any sport in 2010.
Porter replaces John Spencer, who was fired July 9 and replaced for the remainder of the season with general manager Gavin Wilkinson.
On Thursday, the team announced it had picked up the contract options on goalkeeper Joe Bendik, defenders Futty Danso and Chris Taylor, midfielders Eric Alexander, Kalif Alhassan and Sal Zizzo, and forwards Bright Dike and Brent Richards.
Players still under contract for the 2013 season include captain Jack Jewsbury, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts; defenders David Horst, Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Hanyer Mosquera; midfielders Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo'o; and forwards Kris Boyd and Sebastian Rincon.
Earlier this week the Timbers acquired the MLS Homegrown rights to defender Bryan Gallego from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for defender Kosuke Kimura and a 2013 draft pick.
Portland also sent defender Eric Brunner to Houston in exchange for allocation money.
The Timbers exchanged allocation money for Harrington, who spent six seasons in Kansas City and has 149 career matches, as well as Johnson, a Canadian who played five seasons in Salt Lake City and was an All-Star in 2009.
The team also declined options on midfielder Lovel Palmer and defender Steve Purdy.
The Timbers announced the team had sold out its season ticket allotment for 2013. The Timbers added 500 more season tickets for the coming season, but still have a waiting list of over 6,500 fans.