First, a tip of the hat to commenter Lost Fervor, who started this discussion in the FanShots yesterday.
In the wake of the new Major League Soccer collective bargaining agreement details are continuing to pile up on the new set of rules that will govern the league for the next five years. Most recently came the confirmation that teams will have up to 30 roster spots available from the Columbus Crew's Michael Parkhurst.
For the Portland Timbers, this bit of information is particularly interesting as the team only has 27 players currently listed on their roster.
That number includes 2015 Superdraft picks Nick Besler, Anthony Manning, and Andrew Thoma. Besler and Thoma had reportedly signed contracts with MLS ahead of the Superdraft, but that was not the case with Manning. None of the three have been officially announced as signing with the Timbers. The Timbers' other 2015 draft picks, Kharlton Belmar, Seth Casiple, and Christian Volesky, have all been training with Portland Timbers 2, and Belmar has already been signed to the USL side.
Assuming that the Timbers have indeed added the three youngsters, the team is still left with three open spots on the roster.
Going into the start of the season, there are some places that the Timbers could potentially add some reinforcements.
The defensive midfield spot, currently riddled with injuries is a tempting place to add a player. With Ben Zemanski out for the majority of the season, Will Johnson with another month at least to recover from last year's tibia-fibula fracture, and Diego Chara has been on the periphery of practice as he recovers from a calf contusion suffered in a preseason match.
Although entering the season without two, possibly three, of the team's top choice players is a scary proposition, the Timbers still have three able bodies on the roster, set to fill in. Jack Jewsbury is certainly a known quantity, while youngsters George Fochive and Nick Besler appear to be well regarded by the club. The imminent return of Chara and the fact that Johnson will likely miss less than a fifth of the season would suddenly make the defensive midfield spot a very crowded one.
Another spot commonly pointed at as a place the Timbers could use additional reinforcements is at striker. With Fanendo Adi, Gaston Fernandez, and Maximiliano Urruti all giving different looks up top for the Timbers, the team could still use a forward with pace to push the attack in certain situations.
The Timbers took a look at Jamaican veteran Omar Cummings during the preseason, ultimately deciding not to bring him in,. The team has also been rumored recently to be signing a speedy forward, who could contribute immediately to the attack.
Who would you like to see the Timbers bring in to fill out their roster? What needs does the team still have going into this season?