With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Portland Timbers and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…
The Portland Timbers enjoyed a successful 2017 campaign as they made a strong charge to finish top of the Western Conference at the end of the season. However, they were left stunned as Houston knocked them out of the Conference Semifinals on home soil. That shock was followed by the departure of head coach Caleb Porter, who was loved by everyone associated with the club. He has been replaced with Giovanni Savarese and so how the former New York Cosmos coach handles the transition will be key to how successful Portland are in 2018. Some key offseason moves have been made to try and ensure they remain at the top end of the standings.
Andy Polo: Portland have added another dangerous weapon to their attacking arsenal ahead of the new season as Andy Polo joins from Mexico’s CA Monarcas Morelia. The 23-year-old winger has signed on loan with the option to buy at the end of the season. He is a versatile and speedy winger, who has represented Peru 15 times already, scoring once. The Timbers will hope his addition can fill the void left by Darlington Nagbe’s departure (more on that below).
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) January 17, 2018
Julio Cascante: Young defender Cascante joined the Timbers at the start of January in exchange for Targeted Allocation Money. At 24 years old he has already played international football for Costa Rica and has 100 professional matches under his belt. As with Roy Miller and David Guzman, Cascante has joined from Saprissa in his native Costa Rica. He will hope to impress and force his way into the starting XI on a regular basis.
Cristhian Paredes: Paraguayan prodigy Parades has joined on loan from Club America in Liga MX. Yet to play for Club America, Parades started his young career at Sol de America in Paraguay. Similar to Cascante, Parades has already made an appearance for his country. At 19, he has a long career in front of him and a point to prove as Portland will hope he can come in and add a new dimension to their attack.
Samuel Armenteros: Swedish striker Armenteros has joined on loan from Benevento in Serie A. He is yet another international signing, as he has played twice for Sweden. The question that will be posed is can he either partner or dislodge star striker Fanendo Adi in the Timbers strikeforce?
Darren Mattocks: Mattocks was the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft but his career has yet to live up to the potential that was assumed of the pacey striker. After spending the past six seasons in the Pacific Northwest with Vancouver and Portland, he is now on his way to DC United. He scored just five goals in 43 appearances for Portland.
Ben Zemanski: Zemanski joined Portland after three seasons with Chivas USA where he was a regular. Life at the Timbers was frustrating to say the least as injuries plagued his time in Portland. With only 15 starts over the last two years, Portland let his contract run out after five seasons and an MLS Cup.
Darlington Nagbe: Nagbe’s move to Atlanta was one of the major shocks of the offseason. Arguably one of the best players in the league on his day, his versatility and creative abilities would be an asset to any team. He was a huge fan favourite in Portland after joining in 2011 via the MLS SuperDraft. He joins Atlanta, with a huge $1.65 million in allocation money going the other way. Nagbe played 214 games, scored 27 goals and won one MLS Cup. Portland have lost one of their biggest stars, so it will be intriguing to see how they cope without him.
U.S. & The A.
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) December 13, 2017