Wilkinson explains busy Monday for the Timbers
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers took a couple significant steps forward on Monday even as the expansion team’s leadership pored over the list of available players in Wednesday’s 2010 MLS Expansion Draft.
First, Portland acquired defender/midfielder Jeremy Hall from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
“Between (head coach) John (Spencer), myself, and the coaching staff, we asked ourselves, ‘With a third round pick could we find any pick as good, or with the potential, of Jeremy Hall?’” Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson said. “We think the answer is no. John found him to be an extremely interesting player and I happened to agree.”
Wilkinson said the 22-year-old, drafted by the Red Bulls in the first round (11th overall) in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, filled an immediate need.
The former All-American out of the University of Maryland played 37 regular-season games as a defender and midfielder and made 31 starts over his two years with New York.
In 2010, Hall appeared in 13 matches, making nine starts before having his time limited due to a quadriceps injury. He picked up his first career assist on a game-winning goal against the Philadelphia Union on April 24 and later scored his first goal as a Red Bull in a 3-1 friendly victory over Italy’s Juventus on May 23.
Hall led Maryland to the 2008 NCAA championship with 14 goals, seven assists and 35 points during the season. In three years at Maryland, Hall tallied 26 goals and 14 assists.
Hall was also a member of the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., where he earned 22 caps with the U.S. U-17 National Team. In 2005, he started 12 games, including six starts at the U-17 World Championships in Peru.
Wilkinson said he didn’t know whether the Red Bulls would have protected Hall, but securing him through a trade was worth the gamble.
“We expect him to contribute,” Wilkinson said. “He’s a player that fills a position of need. Now we can focus our energy in the expansion draft on filling other spots on the field.”
Later that same Monday, the Timbers traded an undisclosed sum of allocation money to the LA Galaxy for an international roster slot.
“The purchase of a foreign roster spot was a good investment that we hope will repay over time in the long term development of the club,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said he has a player in mind for the ninth international roster spot and hopes to announce the addition of that player in early December.
The roster spot will revert back to the Galaxy after the 2012 season.
Meanwhile, Wilkinson and the rest of the Timbers brain trust worked into the night Monday sorting through the names on the expansion draft’s available player list, released Monday afternoon.
“There were not very many surprises,” Wilkinson said. “It is what it is. If we can gain three or four quality players out of the expansion draft then we’ve done well. It’s a decent list, but no one jumps off the page as an easy choice for the No. 1 pick.”