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MLS Draft Team Recap: Portland Timbers

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By MIKE NASTRI

The first draft in Portland Timbers MLS team history saw the Timbers drafted the most exciting player in the draft in Akron star Darlington Nagbe.

The Hermann Award winner is a dynamic attacker with a nose for goal. He will team with newly acquired Kenny Cooper to have a nice mix of speed and power up front. 

Portland traded for Seattle's eleventh overall pick, giving up allocation and one of its second round picks for the No. 11 pick and an international roster spot. The Timbers then turned and traded that pick to Houston for allocation money.

Portland took Tulsa defender Chris Taylor with its one pick remaining. Taylor showed well in the MLS Combine, impressing coaches with his tenacious defense at left back. He provides some depth in the back to a Timbers team starting from scratch.

SBI caught up with Timbers head coach John Spencer after the second round. Our video interview is after the jump:

John Spencer Draft from Soccer By Ives on Vimeo.

36 comments
  • Justin

    Got the trade wrong with Seattle. We GOT an international spot and sent them allocation money, which we got back plus some with the trade to Houston.

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  • Ed

    So what does anyone think will happen to Bright Dike? He had an outstanding close to the season for Portland, ended up finishing with 10 goals or so for the season. He was also a suprise draft pick this time last year.

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  • Hincha Tim

    I think the Timbers made a mistake dealing the 11th pick. There were plenty of good quality players in the draft left that Portland needs to build quality and depth as an expansion team. They shouldn’t need allocation money so the move doesn’t make much sense to me.

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  • soccerroo

    Well Cooper has had some injury problems even dating back to his days in Dallas. So maybe with three strikes you cover for injuries and drop in form.

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  • John

    The Timbers had their eye on somebody as soon as the Nagbe pick was finished but that player was selected in the top 10, so they dealt the pick to Houston. They ultimately received an extra int’l spot and money for a second-round draft pick which is good. Outside the box a little bit.

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  • John

    I don’t think Dike would have done well last year in MLS as he really came on strong toward the end of the USL season. You could see him develop the whole time. He may have a little ways to go developmentally but I think he is going to turn out to be a decent player.

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  • b

    I understand what you’re saying in theory but presumably their front office has a better grasp on what they do and don’t need than you do.

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  • jonk

    Unless you work in the FO, it’s a bit strange to say they shouldn’t need allocation money. Especially since the SuperDraft is hardly the only means of acquiring quality and depth.

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  • jts

    Feel bad for Eddie Johnson (Portland/Aztex Eddie, not Fulham. He has to be looking for a job today.

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  • jonk

    I would be more concerned if I was American EJ. Timbers EJ is probably getting ready for camp so he can battle for a spot. And even if he doesn’t crack the starting 11, it’s a long season and opportunities will arise for him to prove his worth.

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  • Ed

    I agree. Very strong, physical player but touch needs some work. Wouldn’t be surprised if he causes MLS defenses problems with his strength.

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  • hincha tim

    By your suspect logic why would anyone ever comment about ANY move that the front office does since presumably by your account the front office knows best.

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  • b

    Because we can comment on things like talent but we know next to nothing about allocation money and who may need it.

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  • Hincha Tim

    If they HAD needed allocation money, they never would have GIVEN Seattle allocation money for the 11th pick in the first place. Obviously, they were planning to use it, but when the player they wanted was not available they traded the pick to Houston (unless to subscribe to the very unlikely theory that they knew they could get the pick from Seattle and immediately sell it to Houston before Houston got it directly from Seattle). Therefore, my point is valid. They obviously did not trade the pick away because they needed allocation money, they just didn’t see any draft pick worth it. I disagree with that decision (a talent assessment per you)as I believe there were players left on the board that could provide quality and depth that at this time Portland still needs.

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  • jonk

    They also got an international spot from Seattle. Anyway, the point is exactly that we don’t know whether they truly need or don’t need allocation money. However, an international spot and some extra allocation money are just as viable as means to acquire the depth they need.

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  • Coug1990

    I know. They are ugly and embarrassing. Although I like the colors, I will not be buying a jersey with them looking like that.

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  • Hincha Tim

    They obviously DIDN’T need allocation money because they wouldn’t have SPENT allocation money to get the 11th pick. Get it????

    The decision was based on what they assessed as the worth of the players still on the board. MY assessment, which is as valid as anyone else’s is that there were players on the board (especially quality GA players who are basically free) who could have filled needs for Portland.

    Since by your logic none of know the resoures of any front office, how can we comment about any player acquisition, since we don’t know what they could or could not get by other means.

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  • Tom

    Agree with this thread. Its important to remember too that the reserve division is back so he’ll have something resembling a chance to prove himself.

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  • JoeW

    It was a good draft for Portland. Assuming no injuries (which is a big assumption), they got their starting frontline: Nagbe and Cooper. That’s probably the best frontline any expansion team in MLS has had since Chicago (Kosecki and Podbrozny–two Eastern European internationals–yikes!).

    I don’t have a problem with Portland’s decision on selling of the #11 pick. They had someone in mind, that player was taken. While there was talent, they probably felt that the talent remaining wasn’t a good fit for the system unless they took someone who wasn’t first round quality (in which case you sell off the #11 and draft later). MoJo when he was with TFC was all about stockpiling talent–regardless of whether or not it fit. Every chance he got to swap a player or pick to “upgrade” he did but it produced a revolving door of pieces that didn’t fit–an incoherent team. Far better to have a system in mind and pick players that fit or that will grow well into it.

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  • ERic

    Was thinking the same thing myself. Dike, Cooper, Nagbe, and Pore. Five forwards is quite a few, and I’m sure there are more that I don’t even know about. He’s going to have his work cut out for him. But, hey, I’m sure that he’d be welcome in Orlando. Not that that’s the path he wants to be on.

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  • ERic

    Oops. I picked the wrong ‘reply’ link. This was in response to the Eddie Johnson post.

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  • scott723

    5 forwards is the perfect amount to have on a team. You want 2 to start, 2 on the bench, one in reserve. There are always injuries, suspensions and out of form players to deal with…Johnson, Pore and Dike will have plenty of chances to prove their worth. There’s no guarantee that Dagbe, as a rookie, will come in and set the world on fire. Even Mwanga, an even more highly touted rookie for the Union last year, took a half a dozen games to get going or so.

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  • D5ve

    He’s a guy who was limited by some stamina problems trying to play the full 90 and still has a ways to go in learning the game. A season in the reserves could do wonders for him, and maybe he pops in with a 20-minute cameo here and there in league games and bullies some defenders a bit too. At the D2 level, he was excellent in using just enough of his body to push defenders away without it being called against him. Let’s see if he can continue that progression.

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  • D5ve

    4 of the next 5 picks were big and/or target forwards. With Dike and Cooper on the roster, there weren’t needs there. Balchan, Warshaw, and Ababio weren’t worth the #11 pick and apparently Tetteh slipped to the 2nd round for a reason.

    I might have liked Bruin or Hertzog there but obviously they see more potential in Dike.

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  • D5ve

    It seemed to happen as Philly took MacMath. My bet is that they thought either Anibaba, Soares or Sarkodie would end up falling to them and punted when the defenders were taken off the board. Anibaba or Soares would have made a better partner for Eric Brunner than anyone the Timbers have now and Kerrea Gilbert is the only right back on the books at the moment.

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  • jonk

    Alright, pally. I understand your point. You think there were guys (GA in particular) that the Timber’s could use. My point is that allocation money + international spot = GA player in terms of cost to the team and prospective talent. It’s a wash and therefore I defer to the FO in terms of their vision for building the team. Clearly they had a guy in mind for the 11 pick, but aside from that one guy, they thought they could do better somewhere else. It’s not about best player on the board and stockpiling depth so much as its about finding the right pieces to the puzzle. I’m not saying I’ll never criticize or question the FO, but at this point we don’t have enough info to question their decision.

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  • Hincha Tim

    And Jonk, your point about the difficulty of assessing deals with allocation money involved because of the lack of transparency by the league is valid. My point, I guess is that Tetteh (at a free price and no international slot) would have been better than the probable allocation money they got (probably around 100k based on what RSL got for the 14th pick- a little more than the minimum 75k.

    I think, overall, that Timbers management has done very well so far. There are only 2 transactions that I really have questions about (bearing in mind I don’t know all the ramifications of allocation money involved):

    1) Trading Dax MacCarthy AND allocation money for Rodney Wallace. MacCarthy is young a someone you could build around (a bigger version of Will Johnson, who’s box to box motor, defensive tenacity and ability to get forward too has been instrumental in RSL’s success.

    2) Trading Anthony Wallace back to Colorado for allocation money. WALLACE a good young left back (called up to the USMNT). In all, they could have kept Anthony WALLACE at left back instead of Rodney WALLACE and retained MacCarthy.

    Anyways, cheers, I’m going up for some night skiing for some nice Utah snow powder for my Friday night.

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  • yabollox@gmail.com

    trading the #11 pick was more to get the international spot for Nagbe. Acording to Merritt Spencer is high on Bright Dike and thinks he could be in the EPL. I dont know about that but he will get a chance to prove his worth on the field.

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  • jonk

    Fair enough, but I’d argue Rodney is just as good if not better than Anthony. Rodney was in consideration for ROY a couple years ago, and his 2010 was derailed by injury. If not for that, I bet we would already be hoping for him to don the US colors over Costa Rica.

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  • John

    I believe Pore is going to be in more of an attacking midfielder role. He’s listed on the official site as a mid.

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  • West of the Cascades

    Dagbe made an interesting comment on ESPN right after the draft that he might “play behind the front line” or something to that effect. A quartet with Cooper and Dike up top and Pore and Dagbe attacking out of the midfield might be a powerful offense.

    Like

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