The Portland Timbers have announced several re-signings of players today, bringing back Ben Zemanski, Nick Besler, and Andy Thoma for the 2016 season.
While the trio did not play a role in the team's MLS Cup winning 2015 season, Zemanski at least is expected by most to be back in the picture for a spot in the 18 next year and should play an important role in the CONCACAF Champions League.
We are just one short week into the Portland Timbers' post season and already things have been shaken up down on Morrison Street. With Jorge Villafana sold to Club Santos Laguna, Maximiliano Urruti taken by FC Dallas in the Re-entry Draft thanks to his (allegedly) byzantine contract, and Will Johnson headed out to Parts Unknown, the Timbers' depth chart is in flux.
After the party is the after party. But, sadly, after the after party comes the morning after.
And in MLS that morning after can be particularly cruel, as some players who won MLS Cup the evening before can suddenly find themselves without a club.
Ultimately, the decision to announce transactions the day after the Cup has nothing to do with the club; the league mandates that clubs announce their first batch of offseason transactions on the Monday after MLS Cup to allow the trade window to open and the re-entry and free-agency process to begin.
In part 8 of our 2015 season preview, we take a look at the midfielders that will wear the Timbers crest this season. While there are some early season injury issues - three players are either out or rehabbing for a return - and two are already dealing with various knocks. That being said, if this group can get healthy, it will help push Portland that much closer to the postseason.
The first stage of the 2015 MLS Super Draft took place as part of the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia, PA with all 20 MLS teams making picks of recently graduated or allocated player from college programs. 42 players were allocated to the various clubs in the first two rounds of four total, and the Portland Timbers picked up four players with varying backgrounds and experience.
I had a chance to attend practice for the Timbers back on January 27 and the experience forced me to try and balance a practical look at the Portland Timbers for 2015 with unbridled optimism. At least for now, I'm excited about the mix of players and hope they can balance the energy and passion from the early portion of the season over the long haul with unexpected challenges looming on the horizon.
The 2015 SuperDraft is posed to be a pretty interesting one. For one thing, the Generation adidas class will be tiny, like maybe four guys once it is all said and done. But the league has done well to lock up several seniors before the Combine even kicks off.
Today the league announced the signing of eight standout seniors that will be in the SuperDraft.