Twitter has been buzzing with anticipation for days and right at the stroke of noon, the Portland Timbers made their first official MLS offseason announcement. Here’s a rundown of the transactions:
* Timbers acquire allocation money (what jersey # will allocation money wear?) and the rights to homegrown player and current Akron Zips defender, Bryan Gallego, from the New York Bulls in exchange for Kosuke Kimura and a 2013 2nd round draft pick.
Rumors of Kimura being sent to the Red Bulls came to light on Sunday afternoon. The rest of this deal though didn’t become clear until the Timbers dropped the press release. Word is the Timbers received over $100,000 in allocation money (not confirmed) along with a promising defender who is very familiar with incoming coach Caleb Porter. It remains to be seen whether Gallego, who will turn 20 in March, will forego returning to Zips for his junior year. To get anything promising in return for Kimura who, despite his love for the badge, really struggled from day one with Portland, is a positive takeaway as far as I’m concerned.
* Timbers acquire defender Michael Harrington from Sporting KC in exchange for allocation money.
In a league not known for strong fullbacks, Harrington had the unfortunate luck to try and crack a starting lineup with two of the better performers in the league: Seth Sinovic and Chance Myers. Harrington carries a steeper price tag than I would like ($125,000), but if he can solidify a position that’s been weak for the Timbers since coming to MLS, it just might be worth it.
* Timbers acquire allocation money from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for defender Eric Brunner
This one stings a bit. If there was a guy you could count on to bring it in every match he played it was Eric Brunner. It was a difficult 2012 campaign for Brunner has he spent over three months out of the lineup while recovering from a concussion he suffered in a May match against Vancouver. General Manager Gavin Wilkinson, not always known for his appropriate goodbyes to players, had nothing but praise for Brunner:
“Eric is a great person and quality player, and these types of decisions are never easy. We very much appreciate his service to the club over the past two seasons, both on and off the field. The opportunity in Houston for Eric is one that he is excited about. He is well-liked and will be missed”
* Timbers acquire Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake in exchange for allocation money
The news of this move was broken on Sunday as well, and even with the other news today, this is by far the most exciting of the transactions.
Johnson is one of those players you love to hate — as long as he’s on the other team. Johnson will provide some much-needed tenacity as well as some outstanding skill on the ball. This is clearly a move orchestrated by Caleb Porter, who likely sees Johnson playing a huge role as a winger or attacking center midfielder in his possession-based attack.
While he is a Canadian international, Johnson does not occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.
* Finally, in other moves
The Timbers declined the options on defenders Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy. Both will be eligible to participate in the MLS Re-Entry Draft this coming Friday.
It also appears that left back Steven Smith will not be rejoining the team in 2013. Nothing has been announced by the team, but Smith did post this on Twitter:
We’ll have more about the Steven Smith move once it’s officially announced by the Timbers.