Well we all knew this day would come, and it's almost here. Make no doubt about it, the Timbers will relish stealing at least one player from Seattle's midst. The only question is who?
Well if we refer to WVHooligan again (great blog, by the way) then we can get a pretty decent list of people that will probably get protected. Now, I say probably because these aren't actually official. They're merely an educated guess. Aside from 1 or 2 of them I'd largely agree, so we'll just use this list as the possible candidates for the Timbers expansion picks.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
The only choice I really don't agree with on this list is Keller. I believe Seattle will absolutely want to protect him. Sure, he has a high salary, but he's also worth it. After all, there's a reason why Seattle's paying him.
Regardless, from this list of unprotected I see three possible candidates for the Timbers:
- Nate Jaqua
- Miguel Montano
- Sanna Nyassi
A lot of hoopla has been made recently about Jaqua moving to Portland given that he is an Oregonian. Personally, I don't really see how he would fit with our current squad. At least not the squad I'm envisioning. We obviously already have Dike as our strong striker up front and the Timbers will want to build him up accordingly. Jaqua would probably play a backseat in this respect, therefor I see him as a wasted pick for Portland.
Miguel Montano, on the other hand, has proven to be a small but noticeable bright spot amongst Seattle's current line up. If you'll recall, upon entering the game against the thrashing LA gave Seattle earlier this year, Montano was really the lone bright spot. He came out with determination and conviction. While it certainly wasn't enough, this young player can certainly be seen as a future prospect for any team he moves to.
Finally, there's Sanna Nyassi. This is probably the most popular pick I've seen from sports pundits around the web so long as he is left unprotected (which he probably will). Nyassi has grown significantly this season and played a prime role in Seattle's historic US Open Cup win this year. For those that don't recall, Nyassi scored both of the goals against Columbus earlier last month to win it all. That's not something you can ignore.
Given these three choices I'd have to say: Sanna Nyassi would be the best pick for the Timbers. He looks to be a young solid attacking midfielder and since Spencer has gone on record as saying he is aiming to be an attacking force in MLS next season I'd say, given his availability, Nyassi will most certainly be joining the team next year.
So, thus far, that makes Hejduk, Gabavoy, and Nyassi as my possible picks from Columbus, Salt Lake, and Seatlle respectively.