Finally under a month to go until the Timbers kick off the 2012 season! Currently Portland has 8 players who are not signed to contracts that are fighting for 4 spots. The break down of the 26 (27 with Valencia) spots is as follows:
Keepers: 2 - Troy Perkins and Jake Gleeson
Defenders: 10 - Eric Brunner, Futty Danso, Lovel Palmer, Mike Chabala, David Horst, Rodney Wallace, Steve Purdy, Chris Taylor, Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Hanyer Mosquera.
Midfielders: 9 - Eric Alexander, Kalif Alhassan, Freddie Braun, Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, James Marcelin, Darlington Nagbe, Charles Renken, and Sal Zizzo.
Fowards: 5 (6) -Brent Richards, Jorge Perlaza, Eddie Johnson, Bright Dike, Jose Adolfo Valencia, and Kris Boyd.
More on the 8 after the jump.
I divided the 8 into 3 categories: Locks, Definitely Maybe, and Longshots.
Joe Bendik: The only lock out of the 8. Gleeson may miss 2 months at the least due to Olympic qualifying and the Olympics and unless Portland wants to use MLS' stash of goalies.
Franck Songo'o: It is pretty worrisome that Portland has not yet signed him even though they stated they are in contract negotiations. Which is the only reason he is in this category but he could be as big of a lock as you can get but the biggest issue is the fact that he won't come cheap.
Ryan Kawulok: Should he could play a little bit of Right Back and can play at CB. With deep bench players versatility is always a plus.
Lance Davids: Another player who can play on the wings but brings a little bit more experience to the Timbers compared to the other wing players. If Songo'o doesn't get signed I think he would be the a good replacement.
Brendan King: A young player, which could work in his favor, but plays a position where there are a lot of players a head of him. A lot of praise has been sent his way from some of the veterans but nothing from the coaching staff.
Miguel Ibarra: Another young player who plays in the midfield and at some point Portland has to get an older player to play there :)
Sebastian Rincon: Portland is taking a look at him for a possible future buy but not this year.
Jose Balcazar: A huge unknown as there is not a lot out there on the interwebs about him nor from the practice reports.
Anyone you would think Portland has to sign?