Fatawu, Rose, Winchester, vs. UP, 3.22.15
Craig Mitchelldyer

T2 announce additional signings ahead of inaugural USL season

PORTLAND, Ore. – T2 today announced the signing of eight additional players in advance of their inaugural USL season opener against Real Monarchs SLC on Sunday, March 29. The club has announced the signings of forwards Fatawu Safiu and Rundell Winchester; midfielders Seth Casiple, Blair Gavin and Tim Payne; defender Matt Rose; and goalkeepers Justin Luthy and Daniel Withrow. Per league and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“With these additional signings leading up to our season opener, I’m excited about the core group we have in place,” said T2 head coach Jay Vidovich. “With a great mix of talent and experience, we have players who have played in MLS, players that have just come out of college with high ambitions and a strong group of young players with international experience. We also have attacking pieces that have some special qualities that we hope to further develop in our team system.”

Safiu, 20, a Ghanaian youth international who has gained experience with the Ghana Under-20 National Team, joins T2 from Ghanaian Premier League side Inter Allies FC. The leading goal scorer in all competitions for Inter Allies FC last season, Safiu tallied seven goals and four assists in 2014. He appeared in 14 matches for the club, scoring a goal in the semifinal of the Ghanaian FA Cup and propelling Inter Allies FC to their first Ghanaian FA Cup final. Safiu spent the first six months of the 2013-2014 season on loan at Vimmerby IF of Sweden’s Division 2 Södra Svealand, scoring seven goals in 20 league appearances for the club from April-October 2013.

Winchester, 21, a member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Team, joins Portland from Central FC of the TT Pro League (formerly known as the Professional Football League), the top-flight division of soccer in Trinidad and Tobago. Winchester notched 19 goals in 34 matches (26 starts) in all competitions for Central FC, leading his team to a Lucozade Sport Goal Shield in 2014 and taking both the tournament MVP and Golden Boot honors. Winchester also led his team to a second-place finish in the TT Pro League and was awarded Young Footballer of the Year, Goal of the Season and Supporters Goal of the Season by his own club in 2014. Winchester first appeared for the Trinidad and Tobago National Team as a 19-year-old and has four total caps after making his senior team debut on Oct. 16, 2013, as a substitute against New Zealand.

Both Safiu and Winchester join T2 on loan with transfer options from their respective clubs, Inter Allies FC (Ghana) and Central FC (Trinidad and Tobago).

Casiple, 22, was acquired by the Portland Timbers in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft after being invited to participate in the 2015 adidas MLS Player Combine. A Rocklin, Calif., native, Casiple played four years for the University of California-Berkeley, scoring six goals and providing 27 assists in 75 matches (74 starts). As co-captain his senior year, he scored one goal and provided seven assists in 19 games played in 2014. He was selected to the NSCAA All-Far West region second team, as well as the All-Pac-12 first team, while his 27 career assists rank fourth all-time in Cal men’s soccer history. Casiple has also been called up twice to train with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team in 2012 and helped the Austin Aztex earn a 2013 USL PDL championship.

Gavin, 26, joins T2 with four years of MLS experience after playing for Chivas USA, the New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders FC from 2010-13. Gavin most recently played for the Atlanta Silverbacks during the 2014 North American Soccer League (NASL) season, scoring one goal and providing four assists in 23 appearances. He helped lead Atlanta to the quarterfinals of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, starting all four matches in the competition as the Silverbacks defeated MLS sides Real Salt Lake and Colorado. A Scottsdale, Ariz., native, Gavin was the 10th overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft by Chivas USA and established career-highs in starts (16), minutes (1,369) and goals (3) during his rookie season, also helping Chivas USA reach the semifinals of the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Hailing from New Zealand, Payne, 21, spent 2014 with Auckland City FC and scored two goals in 18 total appearances en route to winning the 2014 OFC President’s Cup with the club. He helped Auckland City FC win a Bronze Medal in the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco as the club became the only Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) team to ever reach the semifinals of the tournament. Payne has also featured 14 times for the New Zealand National Team, scoring two goals for the All Whites. He was a member of the 2012 New Zealand Olympic team and scored four goals in nine appearances for the U-17 National Team in 2011. Impressed by his production at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, he trialed with Blackburn Rovers and signed a two-and-half year contract with the English Premier League side before rejoining Auckland City FC in 2014.

Rose, 23, made 11 appearances for the Timbers U-23s during the 2014 season, recording three assists. He also featured in the 2014 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game during AT&T MLS All-Star Week in Portland as the Timbers U-23s played the MLS Homegrown Team to a scoreless draw. Rose began his college career with the University of North Carolina, recording one goal and one assist in 19 games (17 starts) in 2010. Transferring to Point Loma Nazarene University, Rose recorded a team-high five goals and three assists during his senior season in 2014 for the Sea Lions. Rose earned All-Pacific West Conference honors while finishing among the conference leaders in both shots and shots on goal.

Luthy, 23, played eight games for the Timbers U-23s in 2014, posting a record of 2-3-3 with a 1.42 goals-against average and recording 23 saves in 630 minutes played. A standout goalkeeper during his collegiate career at Boston College, Luthy, who also has trained regularly with the Timbers first-team during the last two years, finished his college career as the all-time leader in wins (43) and minutes played (7,401). He ranks second all-time in shutouts (25) and fourth in saves (351) for the Eagles.

A native of Rochester Hills, Mich., Withrow, 24, spent the 2013 MLS season with Columbus Crew SC after being selected by the club in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft. An MLS pool goalkeeper in 2014, Withrow spent time in Portland during the early part of the 2014 season, helping provide depth at the position. Withrow played collegiately at Marshall University from 2009-12, where he was a four-time, All-Conference USA selection, including first-team honors in each of his final three seasons. He was named the C-USA Defender of the Year as a sophomore in 2010 and garnered Co-C-USA Player of the Year honors following his senior season in 2012. Withrow made 67 career appearances for Marshall, registering 21 shutouts.

Kicking off a 28-game regular-season schedule, T2 will play host to fellow USL expansion side Real Monarchs SLC in the team’s inaugural season opener of the 2015 USL season at Merlo Field on Sunday, March 29, at 6 p.m. (Pacific).

Season tickets, starting at $8 per game, for T2 home matches are on sale at www.timbers2.com or by calling (503) 553-5555. Single-game tickets, starting at $10, for the team’s regular-season home matches are available by calling (888) 736-6849, online here and at the Providence Park box office. The Providence Park box office is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fatawu Safiu
Position: Forward
Height: 5-9
Weight: 168
Born: July 16, 1994
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Last Club: Inter Allies FC (Ghana)
Citizenship: Ghana
Acquired: Signed on loan with a transfer option from Inter Allies FC on March 26, 2015

Rundell Winchester
Position: Forward
Height: 6-2
Weight: 175
Born: Dec.16, 1993
Hometown: Plymouth, Trinidad and Tobago
Last Club: Central FC (Trinidad and Tobago)
Citizenship: Trinidad and Tobago
Acquired: Signed on loan with a transfer option from Central FC on March 26, 2015

Seth Casiple
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-8
Weight: 155
Born: Aug. 23, 1993
Hometown: Rocklin, Calif.
Last Club: University of California-Berkeley
College: University of California-Berkeley
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed on March 26, 2015

Blair Gavin
Position: Midfielder
Height: 6-0
Weight: 165
Born: Jan. 8, 1989
Hometown: Scottsdale, Ariz. 
Last Club: Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) 
College: University of Akron 
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed on March 26, 2015

Tim Payne
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-11
Weight: 176
Born: Jan. 10, 1994
Hometown: Papakura, New Zealand
Last Club: Auckland City FC (New Zealand) 
Citizenship: New Zealand
Acquired: Signed on March 26, 2015

Matt Rose
Position: Defender
Height: 5-11
Weight: 165
Born: May 9, 1991
Hometown: High Point, N.C.
Last Club: Timbers U-23s (PDL)
College: Point Loma Nazarene University
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed on March 26, 2015

Justin Luthy
Position: Goalkeeper
Height: 6-0
Weight: 165
Born: April 16, 1991
Hometown: Dublin, Ohio
Last Club: Timbers U-23s (PDL)
College: Boston College
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed on March 26, 2015

Daniel Withrow
Position: Goalkeeper
Height: 6-1
Weight: 180
Born: May 24, 1990
Hometown: Rochester Hills, Mich.
Last Club: MLS League Pool goalkeeper
College: Marshall University
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed on March 26, 2015

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