The Portland Timbers may have lost one player today, but they have gained another, trading allocation money to the Columbus Crew SC for left-back Chris Klute.
Klute, formerly of the Atlanta Silverbacks and Colorado Rapids before spending 2015 with the Crew, is a pacy and athletic player who earned a reputation as a strong attacking fullback in his time in MLS. While he lost his starting spot with the Crew to
Ghanaian international Harrison Afful late in the season Costa Rican international Waylon Francis, Klute did make fourteen appearances for the Eastern Conference side in 2015, playing on both the left and the right.
Klute, 25, made his mark in MLS in his 2013 campaign with the Rapids, playing 31 matches for the side and providing seven assists, the most of any player on the rapids and the second most for a defender in MLS.
Since then Klute has struggled to maintain the same form, making him a project for the Timbers but one with demonstrated upside. Moreover, Klute's salary, as released by the MLS Players' Union, was only in the $82,000 range for 2015, leaving the Timbers with a likely significant net-gain from the transfer of Jorge Villafana, depending on the amount of allocation money sent to the Crew.
The Timbers' press release:
TIMBERS ACQUIRE DEFENDER CHRIS KLUTE FROM COLUMBUS CREW SC
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have acquired defender Chris Klute from Columbus Crew SC in exchange for general allocation money, it was announced today. Per league and club policy, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Klute, 25, has appeared in 71 career MLS matches (63 starts) since his league debut late in the 2012 season with the Colorado Rapids. The defender joined Crew SC in a draft-day trade on Jan. 16, 2015, and made 14 appearances (8 starts) during Columbus’ run to MLS Cup this season.
"Chris is an experienced MLS defender that also has a big upside, similar to when we acquired Jorge Villafaña two years ago," said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Timbers.
A native of Grand Prairie, Texas, Klute made 57 appearances with the Rapids from 2012-2014, including an MLS-career high 31 appearances (30 starts) during the 2013 campaign – his first full season in the league. Klute has recorded eight assists in his MLS career, including seven during a breakout 2013 season in which he earned the Rapids’ Defender of the Year award.
"Chris will be an ideal fit in our system," said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. "He is a balanced player on both sides of the ball, very athletic and can stop guys 1-v-1 while also providing width in the attack. With a fresh start and role that suits his strengths, we feel Chris can become one of the most effective left backs in the league. He is also capable of playing on the right side which helps cover our depth for international call-ups and CCL matches."
In 2014, Klute continued to play a vital role in defense for Colorado, leading the club in crosses from open play (51) and tackles won (67), as well as ranking third on the team in total touches (1,634) in 25 appearances (24 starts).
Before coming to MLS, Klute began his professional career with the Atlanta Silverbacks, signing with the NASL club in June 2012. Klute made 12 appearances for Atlanta before joining the Rapids.
At the international level, Klute was called into U.S. Men’s National Team training camp in January 2014 and has made appearances for the U.S. U-20 and U-17 Men’s National Team, helping the U-17s qualify for the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he started one group-stage match against Tunisia on Aug. 23, 2007.
Born: March 5, 1990, in Grand Prairie, Texas
Last Club: Columbus Crew SC
College: Clayton State
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Acquired Dec. 11, 2015 from Columbus Crew SC in exchange for general allocation money