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Timbers land pair of former Akron players in deals with Chivas USA and Whitecaps


The Portland Timbers have been stockpiling former University of Akron players while Chivas USA has spent a chunk of the off-season unloading players without Mexican roots, so it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise when the two teams got together to execute a trade that help both teams continue their trends.

The Timbers have acquired midfielder Ben Zemanski from Chivas USA in exchange for the right of first refusal for former Chivas USA and U.S. Men’s National Team defender Jonathan Bornstein.

The Timbers weren’t finished there. On Wednesday they also finalized the acquisition of the rights to former Akron midfielder Michael Nanchoff from the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2015 (if the 2015 MLS Draft is only two rounds, as it was in 2013, then the pick will be a second-round pick in the 2015 Supplemental Draft).

Nanchoff had been on trial with the Timbers, and made enough of an impression on his former college coach, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, to lead Portland to trade for his rights.

Zemanski not only has experience playing for Porter at Akron. He is also an MLS veteran with 58 career starts under his belt. He is familiar with Porter’s preferred style of play and should help give the Timbers some solid and reasonably-priced depth in midfield.

Both Nanchoff and Zemanski were members of the 2009 Akron team coached by Porter, a team that lost the NCAA Final in penalty kicks to the University of Virginia. Current Timbers forward Darlington Nagbe and rookie goalkeeper David Meves were also members of that 2009 Akron team.

The trade is an interesting one for Chivas USA, which re-acquires the rights to Bornstein, who is currently on the books at Mexican League leaders UANL Tigres, though he is not receiving playing time there. A return to MLS for Bornstein would be a major boost to a Chivas USA defense in dire need of upgrades. Bornstein also fills Chivas USA’s plan of building a team around Mexican and Mexican-American players (Bornstein is half Mexican).

Vancouver had already decided to part ways with Nanchoff early in the pre-season, with his Generation adidas salary being too high for the Whitecaps to keep on their books. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 MLS Draft, Nanchoff never became a factor for the Whitecaps, managing just two starts and 14 total appearances over the course of two seasons.

What do you think of the moves? See Portland making some shrewd moves or think Porter is making a mistake bringing in so many Akron players? Think Bornstein could be an impact player for the Goats?

Share your thoughts below.


    • I like the thought. I’m not against pulling together a team like that. They’re great players and with the right mix of veterans they could go far. They’ve already got the likes of will johnson and a few other veteran players that provide that. I see nothing wrong with gathering players that you already know their qualities and how to develop them further. My only concern is how it is received in the locker room.

  1. Never doubted Porter would make a deal for Nanchoff, the most important player in their 2010 national championship team. You anti-college snobs can scoff all you want but lesser players from that team have already established themselves in MLS.

  2. Lol with every move I find myself hoping more and more that Chivas all Latino experiment fails hard. They are going to be starting talent that wouldn’t make the bench on other teams just because they are Latino.

    • I am rooting for Chivas to succeed. Makes the league way more interesting. And while we’re at it, if they get Bornstein, he is a more valuable piece than Zemanski. A proven MLS left back who can join the attack. And let’s not forget that Bornstein is not only half Mexican, but 100 frickin percent American. That guy left everything on the field for the Nats and i, for one, will always pull for him….

  3. I like the deals in that it gives the players involved better environments to prove themselves in the league. It’s good to be wanted and these deals appear to have been pretty easy for the teams to agree upon.


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