UPDATE: The Timbers have made the trade official and confirmed that it is Bright Dike, the Timbers' last first round pick in the 2015 Superdraft, and allocation money for Maxi Urruti and an international slot through the end of 2013.
According to a number of Toronto based journalists and confirmed by the Oregonian's Geoffrey C. Arnold, the Portland Timbers have traded forward Bright Dike to Toronto FC in exchange for Argentine striker Maximiliano Urruti. Urruti was signed just under a month ago and looks to be the first casualty of the annual TFC housecleaning after Kevin Payne's dismissal as general manager.
Urruti, a 22 year old, was speculated to be a designated player during TFC's long persuit of his signature, but was confirmed not to be taking up a DP slot for the Reds, although his signing came too late for his salary to be released by the MLS Players Union. The Timbers, however, have been stockpiling allocation money for the last year and have the ability to pay down his salary if necessary, which just might be the case given the rumors that his contract will necessitate a DP slot next year.
Having scored 14 goals in 56 appearances for Newell's Old Boys, his club in Argentina, Urruti has only made two appearances for Toronto since his arrival in North America.
Making way for Urruti will be fan favorite Bright Dike, one of only three Timbers remaining from the team's USL era. Despite coming on strong at the end of last season with five goals in the final eleven games of the season, Dike was sidelined in the preseason with a torn ACL and has just recently returned to full health. Dike will be the third former Timbers on the TFC roster, including Joe Bendik and Jeremy Hall.
This move makes the Timbers even more young up top while bringing in another player who could do some damage in a run to the playoffs. Urruti's aquisition will give the Timbers a natural goal scorer who is inclined to stay at the top of the formation. Like the Timbers' other Argentine acquisition, Diego Valeri, Urruti looks to be very skilled on the ball as well, bringing a level of technical ability to the top of the Timbers' formation that few can match.
Bright Dike's bull-in-a-china-shop routine, which he showed off in 46 games for the Timbers in both the USL and MLS, will be missed by the fans here, but with Ryan Johnson, Frederic Piquionne, and Jose Adolfo Valencia all holding similar skill sets, Dike was the odd man out.
Here is his goodbye to the city:
Thanks to all the tremendous people that watched me grow as a person and a player in Portland. I will miss the city. Thanks 4 everything— Bright Dike (@bbright19) September 9, 2013
Check out some of Max Urruti's highlights here:
The Timbers' press release:
TIMBERS ACQUIRE FORWARD MAXIMILIANO URRUTI FROM TORONTO FC IN EXCHANGE FOR FORWARD BRIGHT DIKE AS PART OF TRADE BETWEEN CLUBS
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have acquired Argentine forward Maximiliano Urruti and an international roster slot from Toronto FC in exchange for forward Bright Dike, a first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money, it was announced today. Urruti will be added to the club’s roster upon the receipt of a P-1 visa.
Toronto FC will receive the Timbers’ lowest first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, should the Timbers acquire a second first-round pick in that draft. The international roster slot acquired by the Timbers from Toronto FC runs through the 2013 MLS season and expires Dec. 31, 2013.
Urruti, 22, was acquired by Toronto FC on Aug. 16, after playing his first three professional seasons with top-flight Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys from 2010-13. He made 56 appearances and scored 12 goals with Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina’s Primera División, and also made six appearances for the club in Copa Libertadores play. With Toronto FC, Urruti played in two matches, making his MLS debut Aug. 17.
“Maximiliano is a player we know well, one we feel will be a great fit in our system and scouted extensively prior to him signing with Toronto,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “He is a quality, young player who has cut his teeth with one of the top clubs in the Argentine first division. Urruti will complement the depth we have in the striker position, and once he is acclimated and match fit, will bring a dimension to the number nine role that we’ve been looking for.”
Born in Rosario, Argentina, Urruti played in 28 matches for Newell’s Old Boys during the 2012-13 campaign in Argentina’s Primera División, scoring five goals and helping the club win the Torneo Final championship. Urruti scored in three straight league appearances May 26-June 16, aiding in victories over Boca Juniors, Unión and Atlético Rafaela. He also appeared in six games in the 2013 Copa Libertadores, aiding in the club’s run to the semifinal of the prestigious South American tournament.
Urruti made 24 starts during his second professional season during the 2011-12 Primera División campaign, recording seven goals.
Dike, 26, played in 23 matches (9 starts) over three MLS seasons with the Timbers, scoring six goals. He missed significant time during the 2011 and 2013 campaigns due to injury, but finished the 2012 season as one of the club’s leading goal-scorers with five goals in 12 appearances. Dike was signed Oct. 19, 2010, after playing his rookie season with the second-division Timbers in 2010.
“We truly appreciate all that Bright has given to the club and this community in his four years in Portland,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager. “Bright is a tremendous professional and, as one of the club’s first MLS signings, has been a great ambassador for the Timbers. We sincerely wish him all the best and he will be missed.”
“Anytime you trade a player that is of the character and ability as Bright Dike, it's not an easy decision,” said Porter. “But, we felt this was the right move for our club, short- and long-term. This will be a great opportunity for him to contribute immediately to Toronto FC, and we know he is looking forward to the next chapter in his career.”
Pronunciation: “Max-a-mill-ee-ano Urr-oo-tee”
Born: Feb. 22, 1991, in Rosario, Argentina
Hometown: Rosario, Argentina
Last Club: Toronto FC
Acquired: Via trade from Toronto FC along with an international slot through the 2013 MLS season in exchange for forward Bright Dike, Portland’s lowest first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and allocation.