Timbers' draft picks chosen in MLS SuperDraft

PORTLAND, Ore. - Both of the Portland Timbers’ recent A-League Draft picks were selected in Major League Soccer's SuperDraft, held in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday.

Defender Leonard Griffin, the Timbers’ second-round pick in the 2004 A-League Draft, was chosen with the first selection in the second round (11th overall) by the Chicago Fire. The Fire, the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open champions which lost to San Jose in the MLS title match this past season, was granted the top selection in the second round on Wednesday (one of a league-high 11 selections) to complete a compensation package from the MetroStars as the result of their hiring of former Chicago coach Bob Bradley in 2002.

Forward Alan Gordon, Portland’s top choice in December’s draft, went to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the sixth round (53rd overall).

“The risk you run by drafting such high-caliber players is that there is always a high degree of certainty that they will garner such interest in the SuperDraft,” said Timbers general manager Jim Taylor. “While we wish them well in their MLS pursuits, we will certainly welcome their services with the Timbers this season, as they are obviously both players of considerable quality.”

Both players participated in the recent MLS Player Combine, held in Carson, Calif.

In 2002, Timbers’ first-round selection Bryn Ritchie was a third-round selection (28th overall) of the Colorado Rapids before going on to play for the Timbers during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Griffin, who was part of UCLA’s back-to-back Pac-10 titles and an NCAA championship, was 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 and was one of five Bruins selected in Friday’s MLS draft.

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 named to College Soccer News’ All-America third team.

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

Gordon was a first-team All-Pac-10 performer as a junior and senior at Oregon State. 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 last month.

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

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.

To little surprise, DC United chose 14-year-old Freddy Adu, a Nike Project-40 player, with the top overall pick in Friday’s SuperDraft.