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BREAKING-RSL set to bring back Findley after deal with Portland


The Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake may be Western Conference rivals, but that isn’t stopping them from becoming familiar trade partners.

A month after completing the deal to send Will Johnson to Portland, the Timbers and RSL have made another deal, with Real Salt Lake acquiring the rights to forward Robbie Findley from Portland, sources confirmed to SBI on Tuesday.

It is unclear at the moment what RSL traded to Portland for Findley’s rights, though it is likely to be allocation money or a draft pick. Portland acquired Findley’s rights after selecting him in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft.

Findley left Real Salt Lake after the 2010 season and has spent the past two years playing for Nottingham Forest. Injuries and a lack of playing time have turned the move into a disappointing one, but RSL will be banking on Findley returning to the form that helped lead the club to the 2009 MLS Cup title.

Findley scored 29 goals in four seasons with RSL, with the best year being his 12-goal campaign during the team’s 2009 championship season.

Jason Kreis will be banking on Findley forming a good partnership with Alvaro Saborio, who should work well with the speedy Findley.

What do you think of this development? See Findley doing well playing alongside Saborio? Still hoping RSL has more signings up their sleeve?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The biggest difference between Findley and Espindola was timely goals. Both were streaky. Fabian’s work rate is excellent but he let some crucial chances go begging vs. Monterrey, Herediano etc..

    Findley had some playoff goals and the tying goal when they won the cup….

  2. I was never a big fan while Findley played in MLS but I have watched him improve while playing in England and think we will see a much stronger, intelligent player then when he left. Make me a fan Robbie show us you are more then just speed!

  3. We were promised a lot, sort of, with the signing of Findlay… pace being his supposed main asset.

    Unfortunately injury slowed down his initial attempt to get into the team, then after that he found himself playing in a poorer team under McLaren/Cotterill and was not really upto the standard required.

    I believe he suffered off the field with some issues and once we got our new owners in and the money, there was no way back for him. A loan move to Gillingham (League 2) which pretty much was a failure, summed him up in the end.

    However he is young enough to have another crack at it and if you get him fit both physically and mentally, there is no reason why he cant be some sort of asset for a MLS team.. even if its a bit of pace off the bench when you are chasing a game.

  4. Nice move for RSL. They desperately need some pace to open things up for others. Now, they need to bring a true winger into the fold.

  5. For all you Niner’s fans out there (the comment about Robbie being clutch from 5 yards is right on) watching Robbie play his last year with RSL was like watching a guy SF experimented with prior to one Jerry Rice. That guy was Renaldo Nehemiah – former track star and by far the fastest guy on the team (maybe the league). It was a shame he couldn’t catch the ball. But then again, if he could have even a little Rice may have ended up somewhere else. Love RSL – don’t think much of this signing – would have stuck with Fabi, Will and Olave, even without JaviMo over this. Let’s hope Garth and Jason find us a budding Rice eh?

  6. If you look at this as an addition to the team it is a good move….however if you look at it as a replacement for Espindola this is a terrible move. Findley is nowhere near as skilled on the ball nor is he much faster than Espindola (a bit but not much). Espindola missed a few crucial shots but NONE were sitters. Findley has missed numerous sitters and his passing his nowhere near what Espindola provided. Without Espindola creating chances and earning PKs Sabo’s goal total drops by more than half. Sabo received the glory Espy did all the dirty work. Findley will do well coming off the bench at the 60+ min. mark but that is all. His heavy first touch was brutal at times and only when he was given long balls over the top of defenders was he really dangerous. Again good pick up for a super-sub, as a starter to fill the HUGE gap left by trading Espy this is terrible and I pray not what is intended with this move.

  7. To all those complaining about cheap owners and asking why we aren’t spending big money… RSL is one of the smallest markets in the league. Its the salary cap, not the club leadership and organization, that’s limiting spending. Kreis and Lagerway have been CLUTCH with the money we have. If we had the resources of NYRB, we would win the league every year.

    • This is true. RSL is super thrifty and makes very few bad signings and they aren’t big ones (Rafa Marquez anyone). Kreis has been on MLS for a while now about needing to raise the cap.

      Findley has to be brought in for cheap for this to make sense but the question is who else is RSL going to bring in? Last year Lagerway didn’t get fans too excited with Justin Braun and a few defenders. I hope more is on the way.

      As for Findley, it sounds like it didn’t go well in the Championship so I’m sure he’s hungry to prove himself anew. The fear is that MLS has improved enough to the point where he won’t have the same success as before.

    • Those people don’t understand math. Ignore them. Trying to explain the rules of the league to people who don’t care is a waste of time and energy. The league needs good clubs. RSL has proven itself to be a good club. Enough said.

  8. so a team can select a player through the expansion draft even if that player doesn’t enter themselves in that draft?

    has their ever been a more mickey mouse soccer league on the planet?

    • I could name a few starting with China… at least MLS is not outright corrupt and league parody isn’t a bad thing for small market teams like RSL.

    • I guess the NFL and MLB and NBA are all mickey mouse leagues since when they expand teams leave players unprotected for the expansion draft to be picked without the player entering themselves. Stupid comment.

      • NFL,MLB,NBA are not global. They are isolated leagues. It is apples and oranges. They are the only leagues for the top players.

        WHy is this so hard to understand for people?

  9. I think some people are being a little harsh on Findley here. He obviously shouldn’t have been a starter on our World Cup team (or in the squad really), and some are still bitter about that. The guy was, and should still be, a decent MLS forward. He could be a good addition to RSL’s squad.

    • I agree. Findley had his troubles in the past, but he did win an MLS Cup with RSL in ’09, and I think we’ll see an Eddie Johnson-esque career path out of him if he comes back. He has the potential to be good. He’s had a couple of really bad moments on really big stages, but I would be happy if RSL signed him.

  10. Wow people we are bring back an RSL legend and people are bashing on him. Was 2009 really that long ago that people have forgotten who scored crucial goals in the playoffs and the MLS CUP that brought home our only silverware. I have not forgotten and I am well aware of Findley’s lack of success on the international stage as well as in England, but this cat can ball no doubt. Many people have had bad outings over seas, especially when you are trying to recover from injuries in a league that is more talented and cutthroat than mls. Im seeing Findley being very successful back were he should be highly regarded by rsl faithful and RSL continuing to be consistent contenders at MLS cup and supporters shield.

    • Agreed. Let’s let him prove himself on the pitch in the MLS again. Look at EJ. Nothing was a bigger joke coming back to the league and he had a decent season. If EJ can do it, anyone can. That guy is trash. Findley is good guy. He has a lot to prove. I for one, think he can do it.

  11. RSL fan here. At his best, Findley is dangerous as hell and exciting to watch. At his worst, well, much like a hot chick who relied on her looks too much he relied on his speed and failed to develop better ball skills. The thing is, he is best used as a 60th minute sub to come out and run at tired defenders. That was always when he was most effective and a game changer. When Coach Kreis started him, and Bob Bradley followed suit, he was a disappointment. Watching the World Cup in 2010 I was totally frustrated, it was is Bob had never scouted nor watched Robbie. Hope that Robbie is used only for the final 30 mins of games, he’ll be awesome in that role.

    • I agree. But seriously, RSL needs to get a better option to pair with Sabo. I don’t know what they are going to pay this guy, but if they got him for cheap I’m OK with him being a 3rd or 4th FWD option off the bench.

      RSL should have dealt for Kris Boyd instead. He didn’t mesh well with Portland but he offers a deadly strike, and I think a pairing Boyd with Sabo would work wonders for RSL scoring woes.

  12. I just can’t stand reading about MLS crazy rules. Allocation and player rights.? Why would any owner Evan try to be ambitiouswhen they have to deal with this crap.

  13. One of the worst US strikers ever but his bank account got full. Got 100k at RSL and probably half a million a year at Forest. No more US caps

    • I know there are examples both ways but he is definitely an example of someone the siren call of Europe actually hurt. As mediocre as he was, he used to be in the NT conversation but now is not.

      • That was only because our forward pool was so weak after Davies got injured and Ching/Casey got too old. Since then we’ve had the appearance of veterans like Wondo and Gomez, and the emergence of youngsters like Boyd, Agudelo, Wooten, Bruin, Sapong (and even Altidore). So it has nothing to do with being a bust in Europe, even if he had remained in MLS and been a steady 10 goal scorer, he would be out of the national team picture.

      • I think EJ’s second act, the callup of Gordon, Wondo’s repeated chances, and Buddle’s revival, suggest otherwise. II mean, when you think about who was around for Antigua, I think it’s naive to suggest that by that point Findley wouldn’t have been in consideration.

        I akncolwedged he was mediocre, and I’ll admit the pool was shallow when he was swimming well in it, but I’m not so sure he would have been so far down the pecking order Europe is immaterial. The very re-emergence of EJ off a similar trajectory argues otherwise.

        Wooten is a myth until he camps with us, and Sapong, I’m sorry, I’m not sure he’s as good as Findley in form. Findley in form is like EJ, frustrating but somewhat productive. I’m not sure Sapong could score at that level with no defenders.

  14. I feel for Robbie, as a Forest fan we expected big things. Good record, US international. Like a lot of players Forest tend to sign though, he managed to pick up injuries & then suffered a horrendous loss of form, culminating in him going out on loan to Gillingham, where he played a handful of games. The sad news that his father had suffered a heart problem would, in my opinion, have increased his homesickness.
    I’m a little confused by this ‘rights’ to the player though, when he is contracted to Forest until the end of June this year.
    Still good luck, Robbie, it didn’t quite work out, but we wish you well.

  15. Portland also owns Jonathan Bornstein’s right as well. As much of a joke as he is, there will still be owners/front offices in MLS that will pay for his services if Portland doesn’t retain him.

    Shrewd business move on their part that many questioned at the time and appears to be paying off.

    • It all depends how you use the money. Montreal tried the same strategy last spring and draft-and-traded EJ, Ching, and Barbara. Did they really come out ahead playing the asset game or would they have been better served using the players?

      • Agree. The 2011 expansion draft didn’t have many great options with 2 teams picking, but Portland’s moves were head scratchers. Portland had Dax McCarty and used him as purely an asset. Portland could actually use Bornstein given the really porous defense (move Harrington to the right side).

        While I am glad we are getting something for Findley, the choices that day were largely headscratchers and hamstrung the team. Montreal’s Ching saga was also interesting and I don’t think they really got his true value back.

      • Eddie Johnson plus Ching would have been 20-ish goals last year, IMO QED.

        I think trading a productive player for a pick is generally a loser, and for an allocation depends on what you buy.

  16. Not exactly the goal scoring machine RSL were hoping to land in the off season now is it? I hope he can contribute but this in no way helps to fill the void left by Espindola leaving, even with his misses I think I’d rather take Espindola over Findley….

  17. Got to say that reading through some of your posts RE his speed etc. He has never shown an ounce of anything we were promised since he has been here and that is pretty much why he hasnt been in our squad. He also has a loan spell with a team two divisions below Forest and couldnt get in their team either. I think the thing that best sums his time up at Forest is this:

  18. Robbie looked quite exciting in his early appearances for Forest and caused a few teams problems with his pace and directness. He could never get a long run in the team though, due to a series of injuries. Although, the team’s terrible form in 11/12 didn’t really help and more recently I believe his Father has been seriously ill.

    He doesn’t have the technique to make it at a high level, in my opinion. His finishing and his touch were a little too inconsistent and since we signed two new strikers last summer Robbie has barely played. A loan spell at lower division Gillingham didn’t work out, either. However, he seems a nice guy and I wish him all the best if he does go back to the US.

  19. Smart move for Portland. I find it hard to believe that this isn’t the same ol’ Finley we saw in MLS. Every time this guy shot the ball while with RSL it was wide to the left. lol

    • Every time he shot the ball with RSL, it was wide left? This is interesting, I wonder how he managed to score 29 goals in four seasons.

      In all seriousness, those aren’t amazing numbers, but I think people are hating on him excessively.

      • They’re hating on him mainly because he was HORRIBLE with the National team, but his last season with RSL was really really bad and you have to always ask yourself why in the hell did Bob Bradley not just take him to South Africa but STARTED HIM in front of an in form Buddle and kept doing so even tho Findley would always end up being the halftime sub…. 29 goals in 4 years is not something to say “I wonder how he did that”…..especially when he got 12 in 1 year….that leaves 17 for the other 3…. this guy is no bad ass and MLS has gotten better since he left

      • He scored 12 in one season, so that’s 17 between the other 3 seasons. That’s not enough production from a starting forward. Bring him off the bench

  20. Hey, Forest fan here.

    Findley didn’t really get off to a great start, he hasn’t had many chances, but he didn’t really help himself by being pretty poor in front of goal. His pace isn’t what we were told we were getting, and his intelligence on the pitch isn’t brilliant either.

    You can commend his effort though.

    His father recently had a serious illness and whilst I think he’s pulling through, a move back to the MSL will suit us and him I would think. Good luck to him.

  21. As an RSL fan, I like this move for a few reasons – he’s already familiar with the team and system, he’s crazy-fast, and his speed will be a really nice compliment to Sabo up top. I do agree that he has a tendency to be a streaky finisher (and let’s be honest, RSL doesn’t have the money to go sign a perfect forward), but I also think he will partner incredibly well with Sabo in a way that Espindola never did. Espindola, especially last year, always dropped deeper into midfield to get touches on the ball, often isolating Sabo up top and leaving Javi in no-man’s land with little role to play. Findley will play more as a pure striker, partnering with Sabo nicely and opening space for him while leaving more space for Javi to create out of midfield. All this is with the understanding that Javi resigns, which obviously hasn’t been confirmed yet. The problem that RSL had last year with scoring was that the players on the field didn’t always fit the system Kreis was trying to implement. Findley partnering Sabo will help with a lot of that.

  22. Interesting move. Like everyone has said, his finishing is just as streaky as Fabi’s, but he brings speed that few in MLS possess and should help Sabo out a lot. He also already knows the system and is familiar with a number of the players which should help a lot. Overall, I like the move for RSL and for Findley. He was a starter in the ’08 World Cup after all…

    • 2008 WC? No that would be 2010 WC, and he should have never been on the roster as a striker. Maybe as a wide player, but not as a striker.

      • Being a starter in the 10 WC means nothing because he contributed nothing. He was there cause he’s fast, that’s it. RSL hasn’t gained anything by trading Fabi and adding Findley. It’s another guy to play off of Sabo that can’t finish…the difference was we liked Fabi. So Findley better be a bargain and he better be the 3rd or 4th striker. If he’s starting, our attack will be only as good as Sabo’s form, again.

    • the logic of “He was a starter in the ’08 World Cup after all…” is absolutely stupefying…

      he wasn’t a starter because he was that good and certainly didn’t play well enough to keep it-see the number of USMNT appearances post-WC….the reason he made the team and was a starter were 1) an exceptionally thin pool of candidates at Forward (remember?) and 2) CD9 brought a speed element to the attack in 2009 that worked well for the U.S. in the Gold Cup and latter part of the Hex, so BB thought Findley would play the same role-he clearly wasn’t good enough based on his performances…

      so if that is the crutch that your argument rests on, it is very, very, very, weak

      • Well it obviously wasn’t the crux of my argument, seeing as how it was the last sentence, but was merely to prove that he has played to a USMNT quality level at RSL and might have the ability to do so again.

  23. Stupid New England lack of ambition get Ronaldo or Messi, L.A. is the best craps on the other mls teams. New England holds the league back.

  24. Interesting. I am wondering what role he will play and how much he has left in the tank. He is still young, but his time abroad did not inspire confidence. Certainly would be a nice option off the bench if we can land another striker, but he might be earning too large of a paycheck to justify that role.

    • My impression is that European coaches are less tolerant of the sloppiness of some players like EJ, Jozy, and Robbie. I think we let things go here because of the perceived intensity level of MLS. There, you flub a few chances, and it’s, “Next.”

  25. Nice move. Should add a different element to RSL’s attack.

    That said, these allocation moves are incredibly frustrating to follow because there is no way to judge the deals without specific dollar totals. How much did Findley cost vs. the allocation RSL received for Olave/Espindola/Johnson?

    • Findley barely played the spring of 2011 after his transfer because of injury. He played roughly half of the 50+ league and cup games in 2011-12, scoring 6 times in 29 appearances. He has not played for Forest this season, and was instead loaned to Gillingham of League Two (ie, fourth division), where he appeared 7 times and scored nada. Forest called him back from the loan but is apparently canceling his contract. I think they’ve seen enough and Findley probably wants a second chance in the league where he had some success, MLS.

      To the extent people are referring to Findley and Bradley, amnesia there regarding the post-Davies forward pool of the time. It was pretty pitiful other than simply throwing the would-be wings Dempsey and Donovan up top instead…..Jozy would start but do little, and then it was the forward of the month club. Some of the key qualifying goals were by Casey. Much as we complain, and the NT still has holes, the current team is an improvement over 2010 in many ways, forward being one of them.

      • Well, if he got into 29 games then that counts for something. He should at least have his legs under him a little bit.

      • He had 29 games in all competitions in the season 2011-2012. Which ended like 8 months ago. Since then he has played 7 times in all competitions in this season for a team in the lowest League rung of England. Having personally watched a game at that level it struck me as NCAA level. Lot of back to goal striker hoofball….stereotypical English style.

      • His brace and a Landon goal qualified us to the WC. but to be honest those were his only goals after like 30 NT games

      • I think he fooled everyone by playing well in the Australia pre-WC friendly, before sinking down to usual form during South Africa itself.

      • Thanks for telling some of the story… Robbie actually had a nice run of games for Forest and was doing well at the time… there has been several managerial changes at Forest since he arrived and this season he was just never able to turn the heads of the men in charge… I think he has a lot more talent than people want to give him here at SBI… I think he will come back and do quite well for RSL…. I expect a similar to Eddie Johnson type story save the National Team call ups…

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