Things will look different for the Timbers up front, as Ryan Johnson--leader in starts, minutes, and goals among the forwards--is out of contract and apparently moving on. The club has not announced what exactly his next move will be, but Caleb Porter has said he is interested in going overseas to play. Valencia will not be with the team either, having been sent on loan to Argentine side Club Olimpo. South American media have reported that the one-year loan includes in option to buy, but the Timbers have not addressed that report. 20-year-old Sebastian Rincon has also left for Argentina to join Club Atletico Tigre.
Arrivals: Gaston Fernandez, Schillo Tshuma, Victor Chavez
Fernandez was one of the Timbers' big off season signings, acquired from Estudiantes in Argentina. Of the Timbers new forwards, Fernandez is the one we'll probably see the most of in 2014. The Timbers acquired Tshuma with their first round Superdraft pick. In mock drafts around the web, the Generation Adidas player was a top ten pick, so the Timbers were excited to see him fall to 17th. This week Caleb Porter told mlssoccer.com he would be surprised if Tschuma wasn't "pushing to play" this season. The Timbers third addition at forward, Victor Chavez, was the 71st overall draft pick and will likely have to work extra hard just to get a roster spot.
Player to Watch: Maximiliano Urruti
Though Urruti played just over 300 minutes in 2013, he has already earned his fair share of both supporters and doubters. With just a handful of appearances, a couple of which were made while he still seemed to be recovering from a hamstring injury, Urruti hasn't had much of a chance to show what he can do. 2014 could be the year he gets to show, and also how well, he fits into the Timbers' system.
Predicted Starter: Gaston Fernandez
Fernandez wasn't brought to Portland to sit on the bench. As others have pointed out in various other articles about him, Fernandez looks to be a false nine or second striker, which raises some questions about what exactly the Timbers' formation will look like this season. Regardless of what shape the line-up takes, Fernandez is expected to earn a spot in it.