By Ben Golliver
After the bright lights and excitement of last week's announcement of four player signings, the Portland Timbers offseason has slowed down a bit, at least for the time being. Nevertheless there is some award talk, a date to circle on your calendar and some shocking demands from a local player worth taking a look at this week.
First things first: The USSF Division 2 handed out its "Best XI", soccer's version of an end-of-the-season all-league team. Two Timbers made the list. Midfielder Ryan Pore, who led Portland in scoring on the season, was the only 2010 Timber so honored. But Attacker Eddie Johnson, who played for the Austin Aztex in 2010 and was signed to play for the Timbers in the MLS next season, also made the cut. It's often said that you build a quality soccer team from the back. The Timbers appear to be taking a different approach, locking down two productive attacking pieces early, which could make for an exciting season next year.
The next major date on the Timbers calendar is Nov. 24, when the club will have first pick in this year's Major League Soccer expansion draft. An expansion draft forces each current MLS club to determine which of its players are essential and which are non-essential. Each team can protect 11 of its players, the rest are open for selection by both the Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are also joining the MLS as an expansion team next year. While an expansion draft won't net you any stars, it's an important way to build out your roster depth. The draft is set to go 10 rounds, so the team will add 10 new players after the night is over.
Finally, the most shocking news of the week came when Timbers winger, and Benson high alum, Alex Nimo went all Rudy Fernandez in an interview with The Oregonian's Geoffrey C. Arnold, declaring that playing for his hometown Portland Timbers is the sole path to his personal happiness next season. “Portland is the only MLS team I want to play with. I can't really play with another team in MLS,” Nimo told The Oregonian. “I'm young and I'd rather stay in Portland and play. This is where I'm from and I'd enjoy my career. If I go play in another city, I won't want to play and I'd quit.” If it sounds like Nimo is griping, that's because it's his only real recourse. Much like Fernandez, his only hope is for the organization that holds his rights, Real Salt Lake, to agree to trade him to Portland. As Arnold writes, a trade that benefits both sides isn't necessarily easy to achieve.
————-Related Portland Timbers Tuesday Posts——-
- Timbers Tuesdays: Portland Timbers Announce 4 Player Signings ForÃƒâ€š MLS
- Timbers Tuesday: The 2010 Season Ends For The Portland Timbers, Despite AÃƒâ€š Win
Ben Golliver is a freelance writer, native Oregonian and avid follower of the Timbers.Ãƒâ€š He edits Blazersedge, co-hostsÃƒâ€š The Dontonio Wingcast and regularly contributes toÃƒâ€š SB Nation. Follow him onTwitter.