The roster freeze was lifted today and several teams wasted not a second in re-shaping and re-configuring for 2013.
Portland was one of the first to begin moving the pieces as the makeover under new coach Caleb Porter took off like a bullet train. In addition to acquiring Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake, the club is overhauling its back line – something the incoming Porter definitely needed.
Portland’s 56 goals allowed was third from bottom in MLS.
Out goes Eric Brunner (traded to Houston), Kosuke Kimura (traded to New York) and Steve Purdy and Steve Smith (options declined); in comes Michael Harrington (pictured) from Sporting Kansas City.
(The club also declined the option on Lovel Palmer, a midfielder who sometimes played right back at Jeld-Wen.)
The Timbers will apparently build around David Horst, who still needs some consistency but demonstrated enough in 2012 to deserve that “building block” designation.
Harrington’s acquisition could be feast or famine. On the one hand, Harrington was an SKC starter until this year, when he was beaten out by Chance Myers. Harrington is a fantastic one-on-one defender, but his inability to grasp the concept of the consistent, simply pass out of the back drove SKC coaches batty. If he can’t play simple and tidy out of the back for Porter, he probably won’t start at Jeld-Wen, either.
An interesting element of the Kimura trade was what New York sent back to Oregon for the right back and a second-round draft pick: allocation money and the MLS Homegrown rights for defender Bryan Gallego.
So the right of first refusal for Gallego, a 19-year-old former Red Bulls Academy product, not belong to Portland. Gallego just finished his sophomore season at the University of Akron – under Porter. Does Porter perhaps know something about Gallego’s plans?
Among the players released or traded, Smith is the one who actually had starter stuff; but a salary bump in his second year was apparently a little too rich to make sense.