One of the most reliable center backs in recent MLS history has decided to hang up his boots after 14 seasons in the league. Nat Borchers, who played the last two seasons with the Portland Timbers, announced his retirement on Friday.
“I have given the game everything and will step away extremely grateful to have played 14 professional seasons,” Borchers said. “While this decision was tremendously difficult, I am proud of my contribution to this chapter of Major League Soccer.
“I played for three well-respected MLS clubs, experienced playing abroad, and made some incredible relationships,” Borchers added. “To be a professional athlete is a privilege, but I didn’t get here alone. Thank you to my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and fans for their support throughout my career. I am excited for the future challenges that await.”
Borchers made 340 appearances for the Colorado Rapids, Real Salt Lake and the Timbers during his 14-year career. He started all but one of those matches. He won two MLS Cups during his career, one with RSL in 2009 and the other with the Timbers in 2015.
Toronto FC re-sign Clint Irwin
One of the final key pieces from Toronto FC’s successful 2016 campaign was signed up for 2017 on Friday, as goalkeeper Clint Irwin inked a two-year deal with the Reds.
“Clint was a big part of our success last season,” Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said. “His calming influence helped solidify our defensive group that we built during last year’s offseason. Clint’s reliability is very important to our group and we’re happy to get this deal done.”
Irwin started 19 matches for the Reds in 2016. He recorded six clean sheets and conceded on just 23 occasions in his first season with Toronto.
San Jose bring in another signing to complete busy week
The San Jose Earthquakes have been the busiest team in MLS this week in terms of player signings, and they added another import to their roster on Friday. The Quakes signed 28-year-0ld Albanian midfielder Jahmir Hyka from FC Luzern in the Swiss Super League.
“Hyka brings an element of surprise to any team and to any match,” Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said. “Being a player that is very strong technically, he attacks the defense in one-on-one situations without any indication of which way he will go or the pass that he will be making. This means that our strikers will be well served and the element of surprise will allow us to attack from many fronts.”
Hyka has primarily played in the lower-tier top flights across Europe, and he has a one-year stint at Mainz in the Bundesliga on his resume as well. The addition of Hyka comes a day after the club announced the signings of Florian Jungwirth and Danny Hoesen.
Portland adds defensive depth with trade for Olum
Portland added some necessary depth on Friday, but it came at a cost of $50,000 in general allocation money. The Timbers acquired Lawrence Olum from Sporting Kansas City in order to bolster the back line after the season-ending injury suffered by Gbenga Arokoyo.
“The acquisition of Lawrence Olum gives us a player with significant MLS experience and the ability to play several positions, with no transitional risk,” Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers, said “We are pleased to welcome Lawrence back to the Portland Timbers.”
Olum, who spent six years with Sporting Kansas City, previously played for the USL version of the Timbers in 2007 and 2008. Although this may seem like a straight replacement deal for Arokoyo, it’s worth noting Wilkinson attributed Olum’s versatility, which could also see him earn time in defensive midfield.