A look through the Portland Timbers' 2013 player additions and their impact on the season

Myriad new faces merged with core to create depth throughout 2013 season

Team huddle, Timbers @ SKC, 4.27.13

Photo Credit: 
(USA Today Sports Images)

Now that the Portland Timbers have made the MLS playoffs for the first time, Caleb Porter can reflect on the impact made by this season’s new arrivals.

The Timbers brought 18 players to JELD-WEN Field over the course of the season and their contributions have been vital in helping the team to finish on 57 points in the Western Conference. Their arrival merged with an established Timbers core consisting of Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Jack Jewsbury, Donovan Ricketts, Rodney Wallace, David Horst, Sal Zizzo, Futty Danso, Kalif Alhassan and others to create a unified and deep squad.

While they will still be needed for the playoffs as Porter’s team set their sights on the MLS Cup, here is a breakdown of how the new recruits fared during the regular season and the impact they made in helping create the largest season-to-season goal differential swing (+43) in MLS history.

MICHAEL HARRINGTON
Consistency was Harrington’s greatest asset this term after joining from Sporting Kansas City. While he played most of his soccer at left back, the tough-tackling defender also filled in on the right side while leading the team in minutes played and was regularly spotted roaming forward on overlapping and support runs.

Games Played: 33
Assists: 1
Best Performance: Sporting Kansas City 2-3 Portland Timbers

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RYAN JOHNSON
The Oregon State graduate has enjoyed his finest season in MLS since making the move from Toronto FC, where his running up front and finishing in front of goal has allowed the Timbers to march on. He does a lot of his best work off the ball, but Johnson can also make great use of it when streaming forward.

Games Played: 29
Assists: 4
Goals: 9
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 2-0 Houston Dynamo

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WILL JOHNSON
Led by example from the very moment he signed for the club, the Canadian midfielder took the captain’s armband and brought all of the energy, passion and commitment that made him such a big hit at Real Salt Lake. Excellent in both defense and attack, Johnson has been one of the players of the season.

Games Played: 28
Assists: 5
Goals: 9
Best Performance: Colorado Rapids 2-2 Portland Timbers

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PA MODOU KAH
A powerful presence in the heart of the defense, Kah has linked up well with various center back partners and become a huge influence in the squad. When needed to step up, he has done so with outstanding last-ditch tackles, booming headers and the kind of organization that solidifies a backline.

Games Played: 20
Best Performance: Philadelphia Union 0-0 Portland Timbers

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MILOS KOSIC
This Serbian shot-stopper watched Donovan Ricketts produce huge performances, again and again, throughout the season. But when he was brought in for the games against Chicago Fire and his former team Toronto FC, he played brilliantly and recorded a deserved clean sheet in the latter.

Games Played: 2
Clean Sheets: 1
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 4-0 Toronto FC

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RAUWSHAN McKENZIE
Brought in as a free agent, McKenzie knows this league and the 6ft 1in defender was able to provide cover when injuries ravaged the Timbers defense. He may have been forced to wait for his chance, but he made a number of important plays in his one start and didn’t look out of place in the team.

Games Played: 1
Best Performance: Real Salt Lake 4-2 Portland Timbers

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RYAN MILLER
Injuries disrupted his first season in the Pacific Northwest, but this 28-year-old, who previously played in Sweden with Halmstads BK, still performed well when called upon. An experienced player, he is cool in possession of the ball and knows exactly what is expected from an outside back.

Games Played: 7
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 3-0 Colorado Rapids

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MICHAEL NANCHOFF
Though limited to only a few minutes in MLS play, this attacking midfielder was a key contributor in the club’s run to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. He scored a beautiful goal against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and contributed 4 assists and an assist in Reserve League play. Loaned to Jönköpings Södra IF in the latter half of the season for more playing time, this young player remains one to watch.

Games Played: 1
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 2-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies (U.S. Open Cup 4th Round)

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FREDERIC PIQUIONNE
Having played in the English Premier League, Piquionne brought his experience to the Timbers line-up as he constantly lured opposition defenders out of position, created space for his teammates, and provided an aerial threat on offense. He also impressed in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup games.

Games Played: 21
Assists: 5
Goals: 1
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 3-0 Colorado Rapids

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ALVAS POWELL
Snapped up on loan from Portmore United in the Jamaican league, this talented teenager proved to be an instant hit with the Timbers Army. Showing great athleticism, he was able to surge up and down the right flank from outside back and provided an extra threat when width was needed most.

Games Played: 5
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 2-1 FC Dallas

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MIKAEL SILVESTRE
This French defender has been there and won that in Europe, so tapping into his vast experience was something that the Timbers were keen to do. He started the opening three games, then missed one and played five more before the 17-year veteran suffered a cruel season-ending injury.

Games Played: 8
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 2-0 Houston Dynamo

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JOSE VALENCIA

Technically this striker arrived from Colombia a year ago but injuries prevented his MLS debut until 2013. Now an important forward in Porter’s attacking arsenal, Valencia scored a clutch equalizer—his first in MLS—in a Cascadia Cup rivalry match against Vancouver. Not afraid to take on players one-on-one with his blazing speed, Valencia gives opposing defenses fits.

Games Played: 21
Assists:  3
Goals:  1
Best Performance: Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 Portland Timbers

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DIEGO VALERI
He has been called The Matador, The Conductor, The Puppeteer and The Lion from Lanus, but the Timbers supporters will settle with The Star of 2013. Simply outstanding, the Argentine playmaker has brought the best out of the players around him, while also being hugely important in the biggest games.

Games Played: 31
Assists: 13
Goals: 10
Best Performance: Chivas USA 0-5 Portland Timbers

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MAXIMILIANO URRUTI
The last player to be recruited, following a trade with Toronto FC, this Argentine striker has quickly adapted to Porter’s system and offers something a little different to the other attacking players. He is excellent at playing on the shoulder of the last defender and can be truly lethal inside the penalty area.

Games Played: 5
Goals: 1
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 1-0 LA Galaxy

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BEN ZEMANSKI
Not always a starter, but someone who can be relied upon to step in and deliver big performances. The former Akron Zip can play in a variety of positions, but he is at his best when linking play and sweeping in front of his own backline as a defensive midfielder, as well as get up the pitch with his well-timed runs.

Games Played: 25
Assists: 2
Goals: 1
Best Performance: Portland Timbers 2-1 FC Dallas

Notes
Steven Evans, Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, and Brad Ring were also brought in, but none started a regular season MLS game. Each though have made appearances on the gameday 18 and in Reserve League matches throughout the year.

Gareth Maher is a contributing writer to PortlandTimbers.com. He is a frequent writer about soccer for the Irish Daily Mail in Dublin as well as ESPNFC.com.