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Timbers centerback search goes global, with Aussie defender in range

MichaelThwaite (Reuters)


The Portland Timbers are thin at centerback, and they are working hard to rectify that weakness in their roster.

The Timbers have closed in on a pair of centerback targets, with sources telling SBI that the Timbers are in talks with Australian defender Michael Thwaite and Gambian-born former Norwegian national team defender Pa Modou Kah.

Sources tell SBI that Kah was Portland’s original target, but it appears that deal has soured and appears unlikely to be completed. That leaves Thwaite, a defender with Australian A-League side Perth Glory, as Portland’s lead target if the deal with Kah cannot be salvaged.

Thwaite, 29, is a 6-foot-3 central defender with 11 Australian national team caps to his name. Kah, 32, currently plays for Saudi Arabian club Al-Wehda. Here are some highlights of Kah, who is probably best remembered for scoring this goal with Dutch side Roda JC.

The Timbers lost starter David Horst to a knee injury after parting ways with Colombian defender Hanyer Mosquera. Horst’s injury opened the door for Mamadou Danso to step in and start alongside Mikael Silvestre, but the team is looking for some more cover to work alongside young centerbacks Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes.

What do you think of this development? Think the Timbers need another centerback, or do you think Danso has done well since joining the starting lineup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I got a better idea. Timbers should fire the clueless New Zealand GM Gavin Wilkinson who can’t find a player in Europe or Central/South America unless Wilkinson has been literally beaten over the head with them by the player’s agent. I bet $10 the first time Gavin Wilkinson talked to Silvestre’s agent, Wilkinson had to ask Silvestre’s agent what position Silvestre played, and who he had played for.

    Let Wilkinson’s replacement find that defender.

    • Wilkinson brought in Valeri, Chara, Mosquera, Valencia, and Rincon. If you don’t think he’s doing adequate searching in Central America, you’re blind.

      • Most of the foreign players signed by the Timbers were getting heavy pushes by those players agents. There’s little actual scouting going on & what little is getting done is within driving distance or at combines.

  2. With some two-match weeks coming up in the schedule, and USOC dates later in the summer, we’re going to need more than what we currently have, esp. if more injuries come along.

  3. A CB/MF with a good passing game would be great, although it’s ice to see Futty getting playing time and doing well.

  4. “Think the Timbers need another centerback, or do you think Danso has done well since joining the starting lineup?” — These things are mutually exclusive and I’d answer yes to both.

    Anyway, without knowing anything about him, the listing of Thwaite as CB/Def Mid on wikipedia has me intrigued. That would imply he’s more than your standard 6’3″ centerback.

      • Agreed.

        Danso and Silvestre are the only backs with any significant experience.
        Horst is down for the year after a tibial plateau fracture a couple weeks ago.
        Mosquera has been mysteriously back in Colombia. No announcement has been made about his future but clearly the team has had no mention of him coming back nor cutting ties and moving on which only says to me that he isn’t being counted on in any way.
        JeanBaptiste will be good one day but he is still young, second year and gets caught ball watching a lot.
        TuckerGagnes also with a lot of potential, but he is a rookie.

        Even with Futty playing well right now, that is a thin center back corps.

    • I do think those leagues would be an interesting place to go shopping. Unlike Europe, you’re not trying to talk someone way down on salary, or catching them at the end of their career.

      A-League in particular has cap rules so the salary would be similar and they’d understand working within an overall number. They have some pretty good players like Shane Smeltz and Marcos Flores that I think could be productive, and Fred was OK back in the day. They also have more players like delPiero coming in as marquee cap players, which might squeeze out domestics, who would then go looking themselves. The merry go round effect might help us.

      Now, signing this guy in particular, I dunno.

      Pa Modou Kah’s CV screams mercenary. Hasn’t played for a team outside the middle east since 2011. He’s looking for a paycheck and based on minimal caps for Norway might not be worth it. We’re better off missing that opportunity.

      • Have you watched much A-League soccer? FSC covers some games, and wow it was bad. Game I saw looked to be a significant drop off from MLS in quality.

      • Yes, I don’t think it’s as steep a drop off as you suggest, but my real theory is go after their better players anyway. I don’t want Tony Lochhead back, I want their talented players like Smeltz, Flores, et al. Their cap rules create cap constraints and player movement, and many of their stars are routinely looking for offseason loans or chances to play someplace else for a while. Why go to Qatar or China if you can come here and play in a real league for a decent paycheck.

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