George Fochive and Aaron Long have been officially signed by the Portland Timbers, the team announced this morning ahead of the day's practice session. The two central midfielders have impressed in the team's preseason camp and will likely feature in the center of the pitch for the Timbers' second team tomorrow in their Rose City Invitational match against Portmore United.
By adding the two rookies to the roster, the Timbers bring their total number of players up to 30. However, with Jose Adolfo Valnecia on loan to Club Olimpo in Argentina for the season, as well as Jake Gleeson and Bryan Gallego going on loan to Sacramento Republic FC, the Timber could have between one and three open roster spots for the season.
Long and Fochive will provide depth in the center of the field for the Timbers this year, although neither seems to be in real danger of cracking the first team. Of the two, Fochive seems to be the more settled in his defensive midfield role and could potentially be loaned out later this year. Long, although he seems to have a more diverse skill set than Fochive, will likely be kept with the Timbers for the near future to determine how best to use his talents on the pitch and to help him grow into Caleb Porter's preferred method of play.
The Timbers' press release:
TIMBERS SIGN DRAFT PICKS GEORGE FOCHIVE, AARON LONG
Midfielders to join Portland for rookie campaigns in 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has signed midfielders George Fochive and Aaron Long, both selected by Portland in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Per MLS and club policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Long, 21, registered 13 goals and five assists as a four-year starter at the University of California-Riverside from 2010-13. The midfielder was selected by Portland with the No. 36 overall pick in the second round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. A two-time Big West All-Conference selection, Long finished as the Highlanders’ leading scorer as a junior in 2012 with 13 points (6g, 1a) and ended his senior season tied for the team lead in goals scored in 2013. A native of Oak Hills, Calif., Long played in 71 career matches (66 starts) for UC-Riverside. Long recorded an assist in his first preseason action for the Timbers in a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City on Feb. 1, in Tucson, Ariz.
Fochive, 21, was selected by Portland with the first pick of the third round, No. 39 overall. The midfielder played his final two collegiate seasons at the University of Connecticut, starting 45 games and recording two goals and two assists for the Huskies. He started all 23 games as a senior in 2013, recording two goals and one assist. Fochive received American Athletic Conference second-team and NSCAA All-Northeast first-team honors following his senior season and helped guide the Huskies to a quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Tournament. He transferred to UConn from Hawaii Pacific University, where he was a two-time, All-PacWest selection from 2010-11.
Born: Oct. 12, 1992
Hometown: Oak Hills, Calif.
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Selected in the second round (No. 36 overall) in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft
Born: March 24, 1992
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
College: University of Connecticut
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Selected in the third round (No. 39 overall) in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft