Timbers2 sign five players ahead of 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season

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T2 opens 2024 season at Real Monarchs on March 15, hosts The Town FC in regular-season home opener on March 22

PORTLAND, Ore. – Timbers2 have signed five players ahead of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season, the club announced today. Mataeo Bunbury, Malcolm Johnston, Kyle Linhares, Braxton Najib and Kaveh Rad will all join T2 for the 2024 campaign.

Bunbury, 18, joins T2 from MLS NEXT Pro side Columbus Crew 2, where he tallied four goals and three assists in 22 appearances (14 starts) in the 2023 campaign. The forward played for Sporting KC II in the inaugural 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season, making his debut at 16 years old and recording four goals and an assist in 10 appearances (6 starts). A dual citizen, Bunbury has one cap for the Canadian U-20 National Team.

Johnston, 23, played for Whitecaps FC 2 during the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro campaign, registering two goals in 17 appearances (12 starts). Prior to that, the midfielder was selected 26th overall by New York City FC in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft. Johnston finished his NCAA career at the University of Maryland with 61 appearances (58 starts), recording 14 goals and 13 assists. In his final season, the team captain was named to the First Team All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Tournament teams.

Linhares, 21, was drafted by the Timbers 40th overall in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft. The winger joined the first team roster in preseason, making one appearance in the Coachella Valley Invitational against the San Jose Earthquakes on Feb. 14. Linhares made 76 appearances (53 starts) in his four-year career at Georgetown University (2020-2023), tallying seven goals and 18 assists for the Hoyas.

Najib, 21, joins T2 after spending three seasons with Inter Miami II. From 2021 through 2023, Najib recorded 53 appearances for Miami II across USL League One and MLS NEXT Pro competitions. In 2020, the midfielder debuted for Birmingham Legion FC of the USL Championship, appearing in six matches that season.

Kaveh Rad, 22, played for Hartford Athletic of the USL Championship in 2023, recording 17 appearances and one goal. Prior to that, the defender signed with MLS-side Sporting Kansas City as a Homegrown player in April of 2021 and went on to play in seven matches across all competitions for the first team. While with Sporting KC II, Rad logged 36 matches played from 2019-2020 in USL Championship play.

T2 will kick off their third MLS NEXT Pro season on the road against Real Monarchs on Friday, March 15 at 6pm PT. Facing a quick turnaround, they will then host El Farolito SC in the First Round of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Providence Park on March 19 with a 7:30pm PT kickoff. Tickets to the Open Cup match are $10 and general admission only, on sale here. T2 will host their regular season home opener against The Town FC on Friday, March 22 at 7:30pm PT at Providence Park. Tickets to all T2 regular season matches at home are free of charge and available for redemption on Timbers2.com.

T2 Roster (as of Mar. 14)

Goalkeepers (2): Ryan Bilichuk, Carver Miller
Defenders (6): Tyler Clegg, Keesean Ferdinand, Jaden Jones-Riley, Sawyer Jura, Blake Pope, Kevah Rad
Midfielders (5): Adolfo Enriquez, Malcolm Johnston, Kyle Linhares, Alex Moreno, Braxton Najib
Forwards (3): Mataeo Bunbury, Noah Santos, Josh Penn