With all the furor surrounding tomorrow's Cascadia Cup match up against the Seattle Sounders, Timbers fans (and bloggers) have perhaps overlooked one of the important dates in the season. On Saturday afternoon at 2:00, just
after before the game wraps up, the MLS trade deadline expires and rosters are locked in for the remainder of the season. With that in mind, let's look at a few last minute trade possibilities.
Purdy has the size and mentality to make an effective center back in MLS and has been effective when given a look out of position at right back for the Timbers. A sixth year pro getting regular caps for El Salvador, Purdy needs playing time and there are certainly clubs out there that could use his fearless brand of defending in the center of the pitch.
Purdy, who took an extra day to travel back to Portland, provides leadership, experience, and an uncommon tenacity to the pitch. When he is on, he is very on and could compete for a starting spot on most teams in the league, which makes his consistent relegation to the reserves in Portland all the more confounding.
Who could use him?
FC Dallas - Dallas has suffered more injuries than most this season and as a result have had a revolving door of center backs take to the pitch this year. With captain Ugo Ihemelu out indefinitely with a concussion and young defenders George John and Matt Hedges proving to be quite injury prone this season, Dallas could use a steady, older hand to step in to the center of the defense.
New England Revolution - The Revolution are one of the most strangely constructed teams in MLS with about as many midfielders as forwards and defenders combined and with their recent acquisition of Juan Toja through the MLS allocation process they are even more full up in the center of the park. The Revs surfeit of midfield talent has promising players like Blair Gavin riding the pine when they could be good trade bait before the roster freeze deadline.
Two more trade possibilities after the jump.
Lovel Palmer, whose relationship with Portland fans has soured dramatically in recent months, still has the physical tools that MLS coaches are looking for to succeed in the league. Also, like Purdy, Palmer has seen much more success with the Jamaican national team than he has with the Timbers, most notably playing the full ninety minutes last week in the Reggae Boyz' first ever win over the United States.
Palmer has also shown well in his time with the reserves (except against LA on Monday, when none of the Timbers impressed) since being relegated from his starting spot by first Jack Jewsbury and then Kosuke Kimura. In his time with the reserves, Palmer has shown leadership and skill with the ball at his feet, although primarily in his natural position as a central midfielder rather than at the right back position that he favors with Jamaica.
Who could use him?
Toronto FC - With Torston Frings out and Julian De Guzman traded, the Reds are in need of a solid defensive midfielder that they can count on to win the ball and anchor the defense, the role in which Palmer has seen the most success in MLS. Toronto has plenty of attacking minded midfielders, but with the most goals allowed in MLS their defense could use some cover.
Chivas USA - Chivas is an enigma. They have had several of the biggest trades during the season as they acquired key players Juan Agudelo, Shalrie Joseph, and Danny Califf over the last several months, leaving the team with several bright young talents but primarily composed of older veterans. Bringing Palmer, who is 28, on board would actually lower the average age in the center of the pitch for Chivas.
Kalif, despite being one of the Timbers most popular young players, has been on the outside of the team looking in since Gavin Wilkinson took over as interim manager. Whether they had some sort of falling out or Kalif's penchant for holding the ball, slowing down the speed of play, and passing laterally just does not fit with the team now, he has not been given a sniff of first team football for over a month; a long time for a player that started off the season with such a bang.
In Alhassan other teams have a player that has drawn interest from clubs overseas and who has contributed in MLS, chipping in six assists last year, good enough for second place on the team, and two this year despite limited playing time. Finding a playing system that would fit what Kalif brings to the table will be the biggest stepping stone to moving him before tomorrow night.
Who could use him?
DC United - Every year around this time, United traditionally has a player suffer an unfortunate injury that derails their hopes at silverware. Last year it was Chris Pontius's leg break in the midst of the best form of his career, while this year it seems to be the recent injury to Dwayne DeRosario that will put a damper on things for DC. Without their playmaker, United now suffer from a real hole in the center of the pitch, one that a young and ambitious player could use as a springboard to stardom. While it remains to be seen if Alhassan has the ambition, he certainly has the talent and could step in to run things in DC if he were brought on board.
Who could you see departing in the next 24 hours? Share your trade guesses in the comments below.