Who makes the cut?

MLS first kick is only four weeks away and the Timbers roster is far from finalized. Let's take a look at our potentials for the 30 man squad starting with the Timbers' current roster and the roster rules and regulations for 2011. For now  I'm only focusing on salaries, the budget and international slots. (per MLSsoccer.com)

Current information:

 

  • 18 signed players, with 1 Generation Adidas player
  • 7 International slots out of 10 used.

Salary and Budget regulations:

  • Players 1-20 count against the 2011 salary budget.
    • Roster spots 19 and 20 are not required to be filled.
  • Players 21-30 do not count against the salary budget
    • All Generation Adidas players are placed here
    • These spots are commonly referred to as developmental players

Note: Players in 1-24 slots will make at least $42,000 while players in the 25-30 will make at least $32,600.


For the Timbers it boils down to 12 available slots, with the possibility of signing 3 more international players. Also, the Timbers still have 7 more of the higher salary slots available. So with 12 slots available and 15 players in camp yet to be signed, lets look at all those in camp that have yet to sign with the Timbers.

Players Name / (International/Domestic) / Position

Alo Bärengrub (International) Defender
Freddie Braun (Domestic) Midfielder
Josh Cameron (Domestic) Midfielder
Doug Demartin (Domestic) Forward
Jake Gleeson (International) Goalkeeper
Quavas Kirk (Domestic) Defender
Rodrigo Lopez (Domestic) Midfielder
Robby Lynch (Domestic) Midfielder
Taylor Mueller (Domestic) Defender
Tony McManus (Domestic) Midfielder
Jorge Perlaza (International) Forward
Ian Sarachan (Domestic) Midfielder
Chris Taylor (Domestic) Defender
Spencer Thompson (Domestic) Forward
Brain Umony (International) Forward

Let's puts them into three categories - Locks, Maybe, and Maybe not.

Locks:
Jorge Perlaza: He's about as big of a lock as you can get, only if his contract situation is sorted out and he is available for a free transfer.

Tony McManus: Earns the nod by means of his tireless work ethic and ability to be a disruptive force for the opposition's offense.  

Chris Taylor: The Portland Timbers Second round pick and a leftback who likes to go    forward, there not many good left backs in the MLS and he has upside. All this makes him worth signing to a developmental spot.

Jake Gleeson: Conventional wisdom calls for 3 Goalkeepers on the squad, plus Goalkeeper coach Adam Smith is high on his potential to become a great Keeper.

Quavas Kirk: Has MLS experience and is a versatile player, something John Spencer covets, having played both fullback and midfield.

(This means 2 international slots are taken and 5 roster spots total. Bringing the number up to 23)  

Maybe:

Doug Demartin: Towards the end of the season last year he started to show a nose for the goal, however he needs more improvement on his finishing to make the roster.

Rodrigo Lopez: Great at free kicks and corner kicks, fits the Spencer mold as a versatile player who can both play in the middle of the park or on the outside. Lopez does have trouble with the more physical teams and sometimes disappears from games.

Brain Umony: The only reason he is not a lock is the fact that we still have the mystery Colombian floating out there, although it looks less and less likely every day. His stellar pres-season play has raised eyebrows and if he is not picked up by the Portland Timbers another MLS team will nab him.

Freddie Braun: Lead the U-23 Timbers to the PDL championship and scored when it mattered most with 3 of his 5 goals in the postseason. Only knock is he is young and a little undersized, however this can always be overcome by hitting the weightroom and waiting a few years.

(If all of these players do get signed that leaves no international spots and 3 domestic slots)

Maybe Not:

Alo Bärengrub*: Just didn't see a lot from this defender to warrant using the last international slot

Josh Cameron *: His time on the field during training was no the highlight of his career. Spent a lot of time out of position and being yelled at by teammates..

Robby Lynch*: Just did not see a lot of him, just went with the gut on this one.

Ian Sarachan*: Can't say much about him. Only thing is that his dad is an assistant coach with the Galaxy and he had an okay college career. Still not enough to warrant a developmental spot.

*While writing this up I went back to the Timbers website to confirm my roster and noticed the in camp roster was smaller. Those with stars by the names are no longer on that roster.



Having three roster slots open gives the Portland Timbers flexibility and allows for them to look at more domestic or even international players. What I really could see the Timbers doing is signing only one more player and then leaving the final two spots open. By leaving the final two spots open the obtain more money towards allocation, $35,00 for each slot. By doing this the Timbers just add more flexibility and can go out and get a higher profile player.

The Timbers Roster is finally coming together. Look for Geoff, Kenny and I to introduce you to the signed players on our roster in the coming weeks.
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