The Portland Timbers' Lost Boys

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As 2013 ends and 2014 begins, the Timbers still have several players unaccounted for.

As the Portland Timbers continue to refine their roster ahead of the 2014 season, changes continue to be made. Recent speculation about the potential signing of Gaston Fernandez and tweets from Merritt Paulson on the team's upcoming moves have glossed over the fact that the fate of several players from last season's Western Conference winning side has still not been decided.

Ryan Johnson, Milos Kocic, Frederic Piquionne, Brad Ring, and Sebastian Rincon have all either been extended offers by the club or are currently in contract negotiations, according to a Timbers' press release at the beginning of the month. Here are our best guesses at their current statuses.

Ryan Johnson

Status: Out of Contract

One of the players extended a "bona fide" offer by the Timbers, Johnson is rumored to be looking to try his luck overseas. A tweet from a local youth player seemed to confirm this. Johnson has been at least a part-time starter on every team that he has played for in his career and could certainly catch on in the Scandinavian leagues, if not necessarily on the continent. It seems unlikely that the Timbers would be willing to offer Johnson much of a raise over the $144k that he made in 2013, so he may see this as his final opportunity to go abroad in search of a potential payday before he is out of his prime.

Milos Kocic

Status: Out of Contract

The Timbers' back-up goalkeeper, and presumed heir to Donovan Rickett's starting spot when the Iron Lion of Zion stops putting in Goalkeeper of the Year-class performances, has been on a contract just over the senior minimum (about $10k less than 3rd keeper Jake Gleeson) since joining the league in 2009. In that time he has proven himself to be a starting-caliber keeper in MLS.

The minimum salary that the Timbers could offer Kocic while still retaining his rights would not be a significant improvement for the keeper, so there is a good chance that he is holding out for either a better offer or a trade to another team that would be willing to give him the raise that he probably deserves.

Frederic Piquionne

Status: Negotiating

Piquonne missed out on a good chunk of the 2013 season thanks to an ankle injury that just would not heal, only to go down with another injury in just his fourth game back from injury. After getting under 800 minutes from the injury prone striker, the Timbers are likely trying to negotiate down Piquionne's deal, rather than picking up the option on a contract that paid $150k last year. This situation will remind Timbers fans of Rodney Wallace's resigning last season although since Piquionne has only been in the league for one year he was not eligible for the Re-Entry Draft.

Brad Ring

Status: Out of Contract

The Timbers' minute man (Ring played one minute for the Timbers in 2013) does not seem likely to come back to the team on any sort of increased deal. With 37 appearances in four years for the San Jose Earthquakes before being traded to the Timbers as a stopgap solution, Ring never really established himself as a player with the potential to break into a starting lineup in MLS. Ring could have a successful career in the lower leagues, and is likely weighing his options there against a return to the Timbers' reserves.

Sebastian Rincon

Status: Negotiating

With Jose Adolfo Valencia likely on his way out of town for a loan to Club Olimpo, Sebastian Rincon could be joining his compatriot. Rincon has gone on several training stints in Argentina, most recently with Tigres, and the Timbers have said that they are looking to put at least one of their young players on loan for the year.

The questions surrounding Rincon's current situation likely stem from his somewhat ambiguous contract situation. When Rincon signed with the Timbers in 2012, he was reportedly on a two year loan with an option to buy after that period. The Timbers could be trying to negotiate a new loan or renegotiate the terms of the option to buy, but as with all MLS transfer deals, the details are murky at best.

And one more in an even weirder situation...

David Meves

Status: Unsigned

One year after being selected by the Timbers in the Superdraft, David Meves still seems to be kicking around Portland. He is likely the team's insurance policy if Milos Kocic does not return to Portland next year, but in the mean time there seems to be a constant question as to how he is supporting himself and how the Timbers are keeping him around.

Meves has trained with the Timbers for the better part of the last year and played on the Portland Timbers U-23s over the summer, where he was the top keeper in the PDL. If the Timbers' rumored link with Sacremento Republic FC goes through, Meves could easily end up there.

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