With the Timbers' pursuit of Mix Diskerud possibly stalled out after an ambiguous tweet from Merritt Paulson, we take a look at a few of the other players that could come through the allocation order this season.
Now that the Timbers are second in the allocation order thanks to last Wednesday's trade with Chivas USA they have clearly signaled their intent to bring in a big name player. Mix Diskerud was first and foremost in people's minds but he has options in Europe and if he ends up back on the continent there are still a number of possibly returning US internationals that the Timbers could bring on board.
Steve Cherundolo: A longtime fixture on the USMNT at right back, 'Dolo would be a big get for the Timbers. A team leader and a consistent defender who can still get forward effectively, Cherundolo also has ties to the area having spent two years at the University of Portland before heading off to Europe. Cherundolo's contract runs out at the end of the European season and would be available on a free transfer.
Frank Simek: Another American right back who has seen less success during him time in Europe than Cherundolo, Simek's contract is also up this summer and could be ready for a return to the states after ten years spent in the lower leagues of England. Simek is only 28 and has been a consistant performer with both Sheffield Wednesday, where he was the team captain, and Carlisle United.
Jonathan Spector: The right back bonanza continues with Spector, a player who has been plying his trade in England for the last nine years, mostly in the Championship but with several stints in the Premier League as well during his time with West Ham (as well as three first team appearance for Manchester United, the team that first brought him to Europe). Spector is a versatile player, having lined up at fullback on both sides of the pitch and in several positions throughout the midfield, and is still in the prime of his career although rumors have been circulating for a long time that Spector could be looking at a move back to the US.
Alejandro Bedoya: Bedoya is in a similar situation to Mix Diskerud: he is a young, attacking midfielder whose contract is up in January. Like Diskerud he has seen some interest from Europe but has yet to decide on his next destination, although according to MLSSoccer.com he has been approached by Elfsborg in Sweden where he currently plays for Helsingborg.
Carlos Bocanegra: One of the most well known faces in US Soccer, Captain America has been rumored to be returning to MLS for a long time now. Unfortunately for those of us eagerly waiting to see him play here, each time the Rumor pops up he goes and catches on with another team in Europe. Currently on loan to Racing Santander in the Spanish second division, Bocanegra is still under contract to financially challenged Scottish side Glasgow Rangers through 2014. Although Rangers could probably be enticed into selling him, it is not looking likely that he will be allowed to go on a free transfer.
Herculez Gomez: A good striker in MLS, Gomez has flourished since heading south of the boarder to Mexico three years ago. In that time he has played for four different teams, scoring thirty one goals in the process. Gomez is on the outside of the starting eleven at Santos Laguna where he has been relegated to a super sub role, and could leave the club if tempted. However, if Gomez were to make the move back to MLS it would likely involve a transfer fee and designated player wages, both things that MLS has been historically unwilling to give up for American players.
Who would you like to see join the Timbers through the allocation rankings this season? Is there someone that we missed? Let us know in the comments.