Vancouver, Portland build through expansion draft
The Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps started dealing after taking the first step toward building their inaugural rosters in Major League Soccer's expansion draft on Wednesday.
Both teams pulled off several trades, including Portland's deal with D.C. United that sent top expansion draft pick Dax McCarty east in exchange for defender/midfielder Rodney Wallace.
The 16 existing teams were allowed to protect 11 players from their rosters. Portland and Vancouver, which begin play next season, chose among the remaining players.
The Whitecaps used two of their first three selections to take players from the Seattle Sounders, midfielder Sanna Nyassi of Gambia and defender/midfielder Nathan Sturgis. Vancouver then dealt Nyassi to the Colorado Rapids for an international player spot.
The Timbers attracted attention for taking two members of the U.S. national team, forward Robbie Findley and defender Jonathan Bornstein. But both players have said they don't intend to play in MLS next season, instead opting to go to foreign clubs.
Findley, who was left unprotected by Real Salt Lake, is a local favorite because he played for the Oregon State Beavers.
Each team selected 10 players. Major League Soccer on Monday announced the list of players who were available, giving the Timbers and Whitecaps 48 hours to devise a strategy.
With the first overall selection, the Timbers took McCarty of FC Dallas, whom many were surprised was unprotected. McCarty was considered one of the best players in the draft.
But later in the day the Timbers dealt McCarty and allocation money to D.C. United for Wallace and a fourth-round draft pick in January.
After acquiring Anthony Wallace of the Rapids in the expansion draft, the Timbers dealt him back to Colorado for allocation money, which can be traded among teams and does not count against a team's salary budget.
The Timbers also sent veteran MLS midfielder Arturo Alvarez, Portland's 10th pick Wednesday, to Real Salt Lake for a pair of second-round draft picks.
Earlier this week the Timbers acquired defender/midfielder Jeremy Hall, the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, from the New York Red Bulls for a third-round draft pick.
Portland general manager Gavin Wilkinson said in a conference call with reporters that the Timbers got the five players they had targeted when they got the list of available players.
''We are over the moon,'' he said.
As for Findley and Bornstein, Wilkinson said both players have value because the team now controls their rights. But he'd like to see them both play in Portland.
''Most MLS players who go overseas finish their careers in MLS,'' Wilkinson said.
The Whitecaps added veteran goaltender Joe Cannon of the San Jose Earthquakes, but dealt striker Alan Gordon to Chivas USA for an international player spot. The team also sent striker Alejandro Moreno to Chivas USA for allocation money. O'Brian White, left unprotected by Toronto, was traded to the Sounders for allocation money.
Last week the Whitecaps signed free agent defender Jay DeMerit, a 30-year-old from Wisconsin who started all four games for the United State at the World Cup. DeMerit's contract with English club Watford expired before the World Cup.
Midfielder Peter Lowry of the Chicago Fire went to Twitter after he was selected by the Timbers with the 13th overall pick.
''Portland! Very excited for the new challenge,'' he posted.
The MLS SuperDraft will be held on Jan. 12. The league's teams can sign free agents and select from available college players.
The 2011 MLS season starts next March.