There were plenty of names being tossed around as possible pickups for the Portland Timbers in this year's Re-entry draft, especially in today's second round. The Timbers surprised just about everybody, however, by picking up Houston Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor.
A native of Portland, Jamaica, Taylor has been at the heart of the Dynamo defense since joining the team in 2011, making 106 league appearances for the Texan side. Primarily a central defender, although he has played at left back as well, Taylor was supplanted in the Dynamo starting lineup this season by Raul Rodriguez following a quad tear that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Before the injury, Taylor had started the first 16 matches of the year for the Dynamo.
Taylor, 30, did not make his return to the Dynamo lineup this season, and it looks like the Timbers are taking a flyer on if he will be healthy and able to return to full fitness for them next year; however, because the Timbers took Taylor in the Re-entry Draft's second round the team does at least have a chance to negotiate down his contract which was previously listed by the MLS Players' Union at over $200,000.
Taylor is an active Jamaican national team player and has appeared 83 times for him home country, playing alongside Alvas Powell and Michael Seaton, as well as former Timbers players Ryan Johnson, Lovel Palmer, and Donovan Ricketts.
Known as a calm and collected defender with a talent for cutting out passes and winning the ball, Taylor could provide significant and versatile depth for the Timbers' back line, particularly if Norberto Paparatto does not return to the team, a possibility that is still up in the air.