With all the talk of who the Timbers will select with their pick in the 2013 MLS Allocation Order it is worth looking at just what players came into the league in previous years and what impact they have had in Major League Soccer.
In the Timbers' first year in Major League Soccer, 2011 saw a number of teams use their natural picks in the allocation order. Before the start of the season Vancouver, Portland, and D.C. all used their picks while Philadelphia, New England, and Seattle made picks while the season was in mid swing.
Jay Demerit (Vancouver Whitecaps) - Since joining the Whitecaps, Demerit has appeared in 52 league matches and has been the team's most consistent defender. Despite their struggles in their first season, the Whitecaps gained a captain in Demerit who was charismatic and steady, and whom the club could use as a foundation to build around.
Kenny Cooper (Portland Timbers) - You guys remember KFC, right? Scored eight goals to lead the Timbers in scoring in 2011? Got traded for some money and a draft pick which turned in to Kris Boyd? Scored eighteen goals to lead the New York Red Bulls in 2012? Yeah, him.
Charlie Davies (D.C. United) - Davies was a rare loaned player who went through the allocation order. Davies joined MLS coming off a tragic car crash that killed two people and left him out injured for over a year. In his time with D.C., Davies scored eleven goals in twenty-six games, often coming on as a substitute for Ben Olson's side. We're it not for 2011 MVP Dwayne DeRosario's thirteen goal haul, Davies would have lead the team in scoring. At the end of the season, Davies' loan deal could not be extended and he returned to Europe to look for a new opportunity and is now playing for Danish side Randers FC.
Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution) - The Revs have boasted a stacked central midfield for the last two years and with Feilhaber lining up alongside Shalrie Joseph that looked to continue. However, with the other deficiencies in the New England roster, Joseph was traded away and Feilhaber became the most consistent starter in the center of the pitch, providing five goals and nine assists in his fifty-two starts since joining the league. This offseason Feilhaber was traded to Sporting Kansas City.
Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union) - Still only twenty-two years old when he returned to the league in August of 2011, Aduhas made thirty-five appearances for the Union, tallying seven goals and two assists along the way. Under head coach Piotr Nowak, Adu featured regularly but late in 2012 as John Hackworth took over the reigns Adu saw less and less playing time, leading to speculation that he will be moved during this offseason.
Sammy Ochoa (Seattle Sounders) - Seattle traded up to pick up Ochoa late in the season, sending a third round pick in the Superdraft (the equivalent of a first round pick in the supplemental draft this year) to Chicago for their pick. Since his arrival with the Sounders, Ochoa has been a consistent presence on the bench but has only made thirteen appearances for the first team, scoring three goals in the process.
With six players coming through the allocation order again in 2012, there was more trading for spots that in 2011. KamaniHill, Bakary Soumare, and Eddie Johnson all arrived close to the beginning of the season, while Juan Toja, Luis Robles, and Marcus. Hahnemann all arrives close to the roster freeze date at the end of the summer transfer window.
Kamani Hill (Colorado Rapids) - After several unsuccessful years abroad and a single national team cap, Hill returned toMLS and was picked up by the Rapids who used him primarily as a late game sub. Hill made nineteen appearances for Colorado in 2012, scoring five goals and providing two assists, although he did so on only fifteen shots.
Bakary Soumare (Philadelphia Union) - The Union sent a reported $100k in allocation dollars to Vancouver to secure the second spot in the allocation order and snatch up Soumare. Unfortunately for them, Soumare only played one game on the season before going down with a knee injury that would take surgeries in April and September to fix. The Union are expecting Soumare to be a big part of their revamped back line next year.
Eddie Johnson (Montreal Impact) - The Impact picked Johnson with their first pick in the allocation order and immediately put him on the trading block for other teams to bid on. In a move that was unpopular with the fans at the time, Seattle secured the services of the Grown Ass Man in exchange for Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito. Johnson went on to become a force up top for the Sounders and score 14 goals in 28 games.
Juan Toja (New England Revolution) - A player that Timbers fans were interested in, Toja joined the already crowded midfield in New England and saw little playing time for them as he only got on the field for five substitute appearances on the season. Toja's time in 2012 was limited by injuries, but he looks to play a larger role in 2013 with Benny Feilhabermoving to Kansas City.
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls) - The Red Bulls have lacked an every game starter at keeper for years now, so it was no surprise that they picked up Robles when he fell to them in the allocation order. Although he only started the last four games of the season for New York, Robles's late season arrival gave him little time to make his mark in 2012. However, he is poised to continue as New York's number one keeper next year and, at only 28, he should be able to provide some continuity for a team that has not had a keeper start back to back seasons since Bouna Coundoul.
Marcus Hanhemann (Seattle Sounders) - The Sounders traded a conditional draft pick to Toronto FC in exchange for their top spot in the allocation order to pick up Hahnemann. The move came as the roster freeze deadline was going into effect and is mostly a victory lap for Hahnemann who will be backing up Seattle number one Michael Gspurning.
Of the players to join the league through the allocation order in 2011 only three are still with the teams that picked them and another, Adu, is consistently rumored to on the trading block. The allocation order class of 2011 contributed significantly to their teams but has had trouble settling in since then, generally making less of an impact in 2012 than they did last year. Jay Demerit and Kenny Cooper are the obvious exceptions here, with Demerit anchoring an improving Vancouver defense and Cooper more than doubling the number of goals that he scored with the Timbers after moving to New York.
2012 saw a number of players coming into the league only to be limited by injury. Of those who were healthy, Eddie Johnson is the only clear-cut success. Kamani Hill could be a successful role player for Colorado and will likely play a larger part with the team as they rebuild their attack post-Conor Casey and Luis Robles will likely start in New York, but neither was a difference maker this year.