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Timbers add four from USSF-2 club



The Portland Timbers must have really thought highly of their lower-division version. 

Portland announced the signing of four players Wednesday, all who were members of the USSF-2 Timbers that made the playoffs. The Timbers added defenders Mamadou "Futty" Danso and Kevin Goldthwaite and midfielders James Marcelin and Khalif Alhassan. 

The four join three USSF-2 teammates who earlier signed with the MLS Timbers — goalkeeper Steve Cronin, forward Bright Dike and midfielder Ryan Pore. 

"The four players we’ve added [Wednesday] can play at the next level in Major League Soccer,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said in a statement from the team. "It doesn’t matter which division you’ve played in previously, if you’re good enough, you’re good enough. I think these guys have the ability to make an impact at the next level."

Technical director Gavin Wilkinson had earlier hinted that more USSF-2 Timbers would be added to the roster after the original group was signed and the week of the expansion draft. Only Danso was with the team the past two seasons, as Goldthwaite came over from the New York Red Bulls late last season, Alhassan joined the team from his native Ghana midway through the season and also played in the postseason and Marcelin, from Haiti, played in 27 games in his only season with the Timbers last year.

Danso made his rookie debut for the USL Timbers in 2009 and went on to play in 40 games over that season and the next for the Timbers. He also earned a callup to his native Gambia's senior national team earlier this year.

Alhassan is 20 years old and played for Ghana's U-17 and U-20 national teams. Marcelin, previously with the Puerto Rico Islanders, was capped for Haiti in the 2007 and 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cups. Goldthwaite, the Red Bulls' Defender of the Year in 2008, won an MLS Cup with the Houston Dynamo in 2006, his second season in MLS. 

Danso and Goldthwaite helped Portland’s backline rank among second-division leaders in fewest goals allowed and shutouts last season.

Goldthwaite and Spencer go back to their days together when Spencer was a Dynamo assistant coach.

"He brings us great leadership qualities in the back," Spencer said of Goldthwaite, a Sacramento, Calif., native.

Seven of the 15 players on the Timbers' current roster are defenders. Another defender, Jonathan Bornstein, is not listed on the roster but his MLS rights are controlled by Portland.


  1. The difference between 2011 and 2009, is that in 2011 teams will have larger rosters to support the reserve league. No reserve league in 2009 (or 2010).

  2. I think these are all really good signings by the Timbers. Not saying any of these will be starters. I also believe Khalif Alhassan is one of the more underrated players in America. He’s young and will make his team proud.

  3. I think the number is way too high.

    I predict more like 7-9 max Div 2 players for the Whitecaps and Timbers. A couple being from some former rival Div 2 teams.

  4. Umm, not exactly. Lots of differences. “White eddie johnson” is not as fast as EJ, but has pretty good touch on the ball, more creative, can play with his back to goal, and isn’t gun shy at all to shoot on goal.

    i am interested to see what he can do in MLS. I think he will do well in Portland.

  5. Nice guy, and good striker. I live in an Austin and was an Aztex season ticket holder until they recently moved to Orlando. Eddie is a handful. he keeps a good high line without getting caught offsides. crafty, and very physical. Saw him lose his temper and give up on plays a few times, and could improve defensive output a little more. I think he physically is a great forward. Mentally, if he improved a little, I could see him playing a similar type game to Rooney. Not saying he would ever be as good as Rooney, just similar type player if he had more work rate on defense.

  6. I disagree about MLS needing more Hatian players (or any other nationality or ethnicity, in particular).

    What I can say is that after following Marcelin for two big years with my beloved Puerto Rico Islanders and one with Portland Timbers and his Gold Cup games with the Hatian National team–this move doesn’t surprise me one bit.

    A key factr is James making the move from Puerto Rico to Portland was in order to get up into the moving on up to MLS mix.

    The guy had a lot really big games while he was down in PR-yeah, he had a couple bad ones, too like in the CONCACAF Champions’s League–but he a lot more strong performances than bad ones.

    He works hard, has a good attitude and for whatever it is worth, he is an easy guy for me to cheer for as a supporter.

    He is a quiet guy, who lets his play do most of the talking. Most of the Puerto Rico Islanders’ fans that i know wish him all the best and we appreciate his contributions when he wore our jersey.

  7. “Dipshit”?!?!? Whoh…

    Just a little harsh. Just what are they spiking the Rose City drinking water with these days?

    You dropped some nice knowledge on him.

    A huge part of the US soccer landscape has been sleeping on Portland; they simply just don’t know. They are now about to meet the phenom that come along with Portland Timbers.

    Some of yall are crazy, obnoxious, overly hyped looking to compensate for an inefriority complex of being overlooked.

    MLS is about experience what I would say is arguable the best supporters group in North America North of the Rio Grande.

    TA & the other Timbers fans are the best assest the best thing about Portland.

    Like TO (“Terell Ownens”, not “Toronto, Ontario”) says: Better get your popcorn ready.

    Good luck to y’all in the top flight. It was nice “hating” you so many years while you were a dominant force in the second division. So glad that I have a local MLS club so that I can continue “hating” the TA.

    I can’t imagine any possible way that second is ever really going to be able to replace the loss Cascadia 3. That’s how big that 3 headed, rivalry monster is…

  8. Lassidawg: Not trying to embarrass you just shed a little light-

    1) Portland has historically been second division powerside.

    2) over the years, they would gotten good results against MLS clubs in USOC (and international matches–even being to arrange those, I consider to be a bit of an achievment of note))

    3) They carried U-23 side when most MLS clubs didn’t have much of the way of a youth side or academy.

    I’m not saying that they are going to light MLS ablaze. Of course, they are going to have a learning curve. They have a good organization and have been preparing for this move for years.

    Of the guys moving up with them, my guess is that about 6 might stick and play mostly reserve roles.

    Your point about Seattle is well noted. Alonso was a filfty pick up. Even after having followed him with Charleston and the Cuban National team I didn’t realize just how good he was until last season.

  9. Too many expansion teams try to use the expansion draft to acquire starters–big mistake. It’s evident that Vancouver and Portland haven’t tried to go that route. They’ve figured out that most of the expansion draft options (most–not all) will be as worthy as starters as a bunch of their USL talent (except the USL talent will be cheaper and more cohesive and already acclimated to the area).

  10. Both the Whitecaps and Timbers made a large number of changes in 2010, including during the summer. They used last year to acquire as much MLS talent as possible. It did hurt their chemistry and thus both teams didn’t go far. I see both teams bringing in 12-14 Div 2 players into the MLS.

  11. Dipshit, we won the league in 2009 (bombed out in playoffs), assembling a 24 game unbeaten streak, one of the longest in US soccer history. Last year we pretty easily made the playoffs but had a poor outing vs Vancouver and got knocked out. We’ve easily been one of the best teams in the past two 2nd division regular seasons.

    These signings also have a lot to do with developmental slots. I very much doubt any are making much more than league minimum. Alhassan is a player to watch, the kid has speed, a really quick burst out of his dribble, and is great taking players on 1vs1.

  12. Maybe it will work out in the mls, but I am pretty sure that there usl 2 side never did anything. Hopefully they will sign more. Even seattle only bought a few with them , their best move was taking Alonso from charleston.


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