Nat Borchers, Timbers vs. Fire, 2.27.16
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Know Your Portland Timbers: The 2016 Defenders

The Portland Timbers return with a strong defensive squad ahead of Sunday's MLS regular season opener against Columbus Crew SC (1:30pm PT, ESPN). Find out more about the Timbers' backline.

#7 - Nat Borchers
-- A veteran of over 300 MLS games Borchers has played with the Colorado Rapids, Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers. He also played two seasons with Odd Grenland (now known as Odds BK) in the Norwegian Tippeligaen.
-- Borchers led the league in blocks in 2015 with 31.
-- A two-time MLS Cup winner, Borchers won league championships with RSL in 2009 and, most recently, with the Timbers in 2015.

#15 - Chris Klute
-- The defender was acquired via trade on Dec. 11, 2015 from Columbus Crew SC.
-- Klute was the 2013 Colorado Rapids Defender of the Year after making 31 appearances and contributing seven assists.
-- He was a member of the U.S. national team at the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea and has made appearances for the U.S. U-20 team as well as being part of the senior national team call up in January of 2014.

#35 - Anthony Manning
-- Started 15 games for T2 in 2015 season, logging 1,045 minutes of action.
-- Tallied a goal in a 4-3 win over Newcastle United of the English Premier League in an international friendly on July 21, 2015.
-- Was a two-time Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, at St. Louis University before being drafted by Portland in the third round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

#20 - Taylor Peay
-- Taylor appeared in five Timbers games in 2015 (three starts) and was part of the team's 5-2 victory over the LA Galaxy on Oct. 18, 2015.
-- A University of Washington alum, Taylor was Husky teammates there with current Timbers defender Andy Thoma and T2 midfielder Brent Richards.
-- While on loan with T2, Peay appeared in 14 games in 2015 and earned USL Team of the Week honors in Week 6.

#2 - Alvas Powell
-- Powell played every minute of the club's Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs run (570).
-- A member of the Jamaica Men's National Team (16 caps), Powell is joined by fellow Jamaicans on the roster in Jermaine Taylor, Michael Seaton and Neco Brett.
-- Powell started in 31 of the team's 34 regular season games in 2015 contributing one assist and led all MLS defenders in tackles won (117) and dribbles completed (62).

#24 - Liam Ridgewell
-- Ridgewell played over 11 seasons in the English Premier League with Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion.
-- Appeared in 32 regular games in 2015 (all starts) contributing one assist. He also scored in the Timbers 3-1 win over FC Dallas in the first leg of the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Western Conference Finals.
-- His signature goal celebration is known as "The Ridgy Roll" and was inspired in part by his brother's Sunday league team in England.

#4 - Jermaine Taylor
-- New to the Timbers in 2016, Taylor has 106 career appearances with the Houston Dynamo.
-- Taylor helped lead the Dynamo to back-to-back MLS Eastern Conference Championships in 2011 and 2012.
-- A Reggae Boyz teammate of Alvas Powell and Michael Seaton, Taylor has 83 caps for the Jamaican Men's National Team.

#28 - Andy Thoma
-- A stalwart while on loan to USL side T2, Thoma appeared in 26 matches (25 starts) in 2015 contributing three assists.
-- Thoma was selected in the second round (No. 24 overall) from the University of Washington in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
-- Was voted by fans as the Fan Favorite Player for USL's T2 in 2015.

#16 - Zarek Valentin
-- Valentin made 55 league appearances with Norwegian side Bodø/Glimt across parts of three seasons from 2013-15, helping the side gain promotion to the Tippeligaen following the 2013 season.
-- Was college teammates with Darlington Nagbe and Ben Zemanski at the University of Akron. Valentin and Nagbe were part of the 2010 NCAA National Championship-winning Zips squad under the direction of then-head coach Caleb Porter.
-- Valentin was a member of the U.S. U-20 and U-23 national teams.