Timbers pick two PAC-10 standouts in A-League draft

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers today selected two Pacific-10 Conference seniors in the 2004 A-League College Draft, held via conference call from the league’s headquarters in Tampa, Fla.

The Timbers chose forward Alan Gordon from Oregon State with their first pick and defender Leonard Griffin from UCLA with their second pick.

Portland had the ninth and 25th picks in this year’s draft, which consisted of two open rounds.

Gordon, who was recently invited to January’s MLS Player Combine in Carson, Calif., was a first-team All-Pac-10 performer as a junior and senior with the Beavers. The Gilbert, Ariz., native ranked third in the Pac-10 during his senior year with 25 regular-season points (11g, 3a) and ranks third on the school’s all-time points list with 59, despite playing just two seasons with the Beavers.

The 22-year-old became the first Oregon State men’s player to be named to an All-America team when he was selected to College Soccer News’ third team in early December. He was also named to the NSCAA All-Far West Region first team this month.

Gordon was a third-team All-Far West selection after his junior campaign.

“Alan is a strong forward, a good target man and a consistent goal-scorer,” said Timbers coach Bobby Howe.

Prior to joining the Division I ranks, Gordon began his collegiate career at Yavapai Junior College, where he was a NSCAA JUCO All-American, compiling 39 goals and 26 assists (tied for school record) over his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Griffin, who was part of UCLA’s back-to-back Pac-10 titles and an NCAA championship, was also a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and was selected to the NSCAA All-America first team this past season, racking up four assists and proving as a vital defender for the Bruins, who allowed the fewest goals in the conference. Griffin helped lead the Bruins to 16 shutouts over the season and a school record-tying 0.52 goals-against average.

Griffin, UCLA’s 21st first-team All-American, was one of two Bruins to start all 23 games in 2003.

“Leonard is a classy left-sided player,” said Howe. “He is a good defender, cool under pressure and has excellent distribution.”

The 21-year-old Palmdale, Calif., native played all four years at UCLA, earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 accolades after his junior season. He was also invited to the upcoming MLS Player Combine and was named to College Soccer News’ All-America third team.

Griffin played in United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League with the Orange County Blue Star.

This year’s draft followed the same format as 2003, with expansion Puerto Rico and Edmonton getting the first two picks. The remaining order was based on reverse order of the final league standings.

At 15-11-2 (47 points), Portland tied Virginia Beach for the league’s ninth-best record in 2003.

Last season, the Timbers drafted forward Ryan Coiner from the University of San Diego with their first pick. With its second-round choice, Portland chose goalkeeper Curtis Spiteri from the University of Portland.

In 2002, the Timbers selected three University of Washington players in the draft; Portland chose Bryn Ritchie, Ben Somoza and Jake Sagare. Just prior to their inaugural 2001 season, the Timbers drafted Vadim Tolstolutsky out of Seattle Pacific.