Steve Cronin, Bright Dike, Eddie Johnson, Ryan Pore initial signings as Timbers begin crafting roster for inaugural MLS season in 2011.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Timbers Technical Director Gavin Wilkinsontodayintroduced goalkeeper Steve Cronin, forward Bright Dike, forward Eddie Johnson and midfielder Ryan Pore as the first four player signings in the club’s MLS history. The players were formally introduced during a press conference this morning as the Timbers continue preparations for their inaugural Major League Soccer season in 2011. Three of the four signings turned in standout performances with the USSF Division-2 Pro League Timbers this past season, while Johnson ranked second in the league in goals and points with the Austin Aztex in 2010. “Each one of these individuals has earned the right to join the Timbers in Major League Soccer and possess qualities we are looking for from players in building the 2011 MLS team,” Wilkinson said. “We are very excited to continue to build a competitive MLS squad in the coming weeks and months and believe these players represent a solid foundation.” Selected 10th overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, Cronin, 27, played five seasons in MLS before joining the Timbers in 2009. After winning 2009 USL First Division Goalkeeper of the Year honors with Portland, Cronin was loaned to D.C. United through the end of the 2009 MLS season. He played in 30 games with the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2005-08. Cronin played in 28 matches for the Timbers in 2010 and anchored one of the top defenses in the USSF Division-2 Pro League. He ranked among league leaders in several goalkeeping categories, including third in goals-against average (0.79), tied for first in fewest goals allowed (22) among goalkeepers with 25 or more appearances and fourth in minutes played (2,509). A native of Sacramento, Calif., Cronin finished the season with an 11-7-10 record, 109 saves and 12 shutouts. Dike appeared in 23 games during his rookie season with the Timbers in 2010. He scored 10 goals during the regular season and ranked tied for fourth among the league’s goal-scoring leaders. Dike, 23, recorded 15 goals across all competition for the Timbers, finishing the campaign as the Timbers second-leading scorer in 2010. He recorded four goals during the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including a goal against Seattle Sounders FC and a hat trick against the Kitsap Pumas. Prior to beginning his professional career, Dike, a native of Edmond, Okla., had a standout collegiate career at the University of Notre Dame. A native of Chester, England, Johnson, 25, started his professional career with Manchester United at the age of 17, and has played for Belgium’s Royal Antwerp (2004) and English sides Coventry City (2004-05), Crewe Alexandria (2005-06), Bradford City (2006-08) and Chester City (2008-09). In total, he scored 23 goals in 133 league games during his time in Europe before joining the Austin Aztex in 2009. A USL First Division All-League selection in 2009, Johnson ranked second among league leaders in goals (14) and points (32) over 26 games for Austin in 2010. A veteran of four MLS seasons with the Kansas City Wizards, Pore, 27, won the USSF D-2 Pro League Golden Boot award with the Timbers in 2010, finishing the season with a league-best 15 goals. He also ranked among league leaders with five assists and won the league’s scoring title with 35 points during the campaign. A native of Mansfield, Ohio, Pore started 28 of his 29 appearances in his second season with the Timbers, taking a league-high 84 shots. He was named the USSF D-2 Pro League April Player of the Month after scoring six goals in the opening month of the season. With Kansas City from 2005-08, Pore appeared in 58 MLS games, tallying three goals and two assists; he was the 16th overall pick of the Wizards in the 2005 SuperDraft. Steve Cronin (CROW-nin) Position: Goalkeeper Height: 6-3 Weight: 200 Born: May 28, 1983, in Sacramento, Calif. Hometown: Fair Oaks, Calif. Last Club: Portland Timbers (USSF D-2) College: Santa Clara Citizenship: United States Bright Dike (DEE-kay) Position: Forward Height: 6-1 Weight: 220 Born: Feb. 2, 1987, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Hometown: Edmond, Okla. Last Club: Portland Timbers (USSF D-2) College: Notre Dame Citizenship: United States Eddie Johnson Position: Forward Height: 5-11 Weight: 185 Born: Sept. 20, 1984, in Chester, England Hometown: Chester, England Last Club: Austin Aztex (USSF D-2) College: N/A Citizenship: England Ryan Pore Position: Midfielder Height: 5-11 Weight: 165 Born: Sept. 23, 1983, in Mansfield, Ohio Hometown: Mansfield, Ohio Last Club: Portland Timbers (USSF D-2) College: Tulsa Citizenship: United States About MLS Portland Timbers On March 20, 2009, Major League Soccer (MLS) awarded Portland the league’s 18th franchise to begin play in the top-flight professional soccer league starting in 2011. The Portland Timbers will mark their debut MLS season in 2011 in a significantly renovated PGE Park that will create one of the most unique and authentic soccer environments in the country. New stadium amenities will include better sightlines closer to the action, new premium seating on the east side of the field, a new club lounge and a new entry plaza and team store. The Timbers have been a beloved part of the Portland sports landscape since their early beginnings in the North American Soccer League in 1975, launching the era of “Soccer City USA” in the Rose City. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer