PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the club signed midfielder Sebastián Blanco as a Designated Player through the 2023 season.
“I’m coming home, Portland. This has been my home for the past five years, and my family and I are extremely excited to be back. I’m hungry to win, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than this club with my teammates,” said Blanco. “I believe in my team and the leadership of this club, and I can’t wait to achieve great things together.”
Blanco, 33, is set to begin his sixth season with the Timbers. The Argentine has started in 109 of 127 regular season appearances for the Timbers, scoring 33 goals and tallying 42 assists since joining the club in 2017. Across all competitions, Blanco has logged 130 starts in 149 appearances including stellar performances at the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020 when he earned MVP honors after logging two goals and two assists in four appearances.
“We are delighted to welcome back Sebastian, his wife Natali and their two children. We appreciate his desire to return to this Club and the personal sacrifices he made for this to happen. His leadership, passion and winning mentality are qualities that are vital to our locker room and directly influence the Club’s success,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “We are looking forward to seeing his abilities showcased with the Timbers for several more years.”
After coming back from a season-ending injury last season, Blanco started in 12 of 24 regular season games for the Timbers, tallying seven goals and seven assists. Blanco made his return to the field on June 19 against Sporting Kansas City in a 2-1 victory at Providence Park. The midfielder made his first start on Aug. 15 against Seattle Sounders scoring his first goal of the season and tallied a goal and an assist on Aug. 29 in a 2-0 victory against Seattle at Lumen Field about one year after suffering his injury. In 2021, Blanco made three Team of the Week appearances (Weeks 24, 25 & 34). Blanco scored two goals against Real Salt Lake on Nov. 3 that helped the Timbers clinch the playoffs before also logging a brace against Minnesota United in the first round of playoffs on Nov. 21.
“Having Seba on the team is extremely important for us,” said Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese. “His ceaseless passion keeps the team motivated and his quality as a player makes us stronger on the field. His return to Portland is significant for the club.”
Throughout his career in Portland, Blanco has helped the Timbers earn two Western Conference Championship titles (2018, 2021) taking the Timbers to two MLS Cup appearances and winning the MLS is Back Tournament (2020).
Transaction: Portland Timbers re-sign midfielder Sebastián Blanco to a two-year contract.
Portland Timbers 2022 Roster
as of Feb. 11
Goalkeepers: David Bingham, Aljaz Ivacic, Hunter Sulte, Justin Vom Steeg
Defenders: Pablo Bonilla, Claudio Bravo, Larrys Mabiala, Zac McGraw, Bill Tuiloma, Josecarlos Van Rankin, Dario Zuparic
Midfielders: David Ayala, Sebastián Blanco, Blake Bodily, Diego Chara, Yimmi Chara, George Fochive, Marvin Loría, Santiago Moreno, Cristhian Paredes, Eryk Williamson
Forwards: Dairon Asprilla, Tega Ikoba, Felipe Mora, Jaroslaw Niezgoda