The Portland Timbers have signed Kris Boyd to their roster for the 2012 Major League Soccer (MLS) season. Boyd is the all-time leading scorer in the Scottish Premier League, with 164 goals in 296 appearances. Additionally, he has 7 international goals in 18 appearances for the Scottish National Team.
In the 2011 season, the first ever for Portland, the Timbers were one of the lowest scoring teams in the entire MLS. Only New England, Toronto, and Vancouver scored fewer goals. Nevertheless, Portland stayed in the playoff chase until the final week of the regular season.
The Timbers will likely play with two forwards quite often. In addition to Kris Boyd, Jorge Perlaza and Bright Dike are likely to get significant minutes. Perlaza has the speed to outrun nearly all defenders. With his 2011 playing time cut short by nagging leg injuries, the Colombian striker scored 6 goals for the Timbers. Bright Dike is very much the opposite of Jorge Perlaza. At 6’1″ and 220 pounds, Dike is a forward who won’t get knocked down or off the ball easily. Eddie Johnson, Brent Richards, and Darlington Nagbe may be in the mix for playing time at forward as well.
Midfield will likely be the strongest position for the Timbers in 2012, as it was in 2011. When Portland takes to the pitch for their first pre-season game, Tuesday, February 7th, against the LA Galaxy, I’ll be excited to see who the “regulars” might be this year. A threesome of Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, and Darlington Nagbe should be able to deliver plenty of nice crosses for the forwards to turn into goals. If Nagbe spends time at forward, Khalif Alhassan and Sal Zizzo may get significant minutes. With James Marcelin and Freddie Braun deserving as well, if the right opportunity came along I would be surprised to see Portland trade away one of the midfielders during the 2012 season.
Eric Brunner (6’4″, 170 lbs) and “Futty” Danso (6’3″, 185 lbs) return as Portland’s big defenders. With the loss of David Horst to injury, the Timbers need someone else to step up. Steve Purdy (6’4″, 190 lbs) and first round draft pick, Andrew Jean-Baptiste (6’2″, 205 lbs) have the physical size. Hanyer Mosquera (6’1″, 175 lbs), a recent acquisition from Colombia, may have more experience and be ready sooner.
The ultimate “defenders”, of course, are the goalkeepers. Portland has two of the finest in their veteran, Troy Perkins, and young backup Jake Gleeson.
With a few more goals scored than last season, the future looks bright for the Portland Timbers hopes of making the 2012 MLS Playoffs.
Harold Andrews has been following the Portland Timbers since they were awarded a franchise in 2010.