BALTIMORE — Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft was a bit reminiscent of Wall Street – minus the bell.
In the most interesting trade of the night – a three-way exchange between Seattle, Portland and Houston – the Timbers got exactly what they wanted.
First, the Timbers sent some allocation money and their 20th pick to Seattle in exchange for the Sounders' 11th pick and an international player slot for just one year (2011). Then, they turned around and traded the 11th pick to the Dynamo for allocation money.
“We get the international slot for a year and ultimately, through the deals, we’re banking some allocation money,” said Portland general manager and technical director Gavin Wilkinson. “So, the way we walk out of it, at the end of that, we’re lucky to get the player we absolutely loved [Darlington Nagbe, chosen 2nd overall by Portland] and an international spot, which is needed in the way that we’re trying to build this squad. … We think it was a win-win.”
[inline_node:326561]The international player slot (which goes back to Seattle in 2012) along with the international player slot that the Timbers purchased from the LA Galaxy back in November (which go back to LA in 2013), will give Portland a total of 11 international slots in 2011.
That should give the expansion club the ability to bring in a young player or two to evaluate, and also enough time for some players currently on the squad to get green cards.
“What we’re looking at is how we can put it together, the best team,” Wilkinson said. “And with what we have on the horizon, there’s a few more international players we were meant to have. I think it’ll start to make sense soon when you see who we’ve signed and who we’ve gone after.”
When pressed as to who exactly the Timbers may be targeting to fill that newly acquired international slot, Wilkinson wouldn’t divulge much. However, reports have suggested that former Dallas star Kenny Cooper is close to joining the expansion club.
“We have one that’s a forward and we have one that – that’s enough for you, how’s that?" Wilkinson said.