The Portland Timbers U-23s are most of the way to having a starting XI for Thursday's USL PDL season opener after adding five more players to their roster earlier this week. Four of the players are familiar faces for Timbers fans, while the fifth is a standout between the sticks.
Former Timbers Academy players Jesse Garcia-Aguilar, Anthony Macchione, and Ben White all make their debut as full-time players with the U-23s following their freshman season in college. Garcia-Aguilar and Macchione were both regular contributors at the University of Akron where they were coached by Caleb Porter's former "associate head coach" Jared Embick. White comes back to Portland after a year with Gonzaga University where he started 17 games at centerback for the Bulldogs.
Dennis Castillo, meanwhile, returns to the U-23s from Virginia Commonwealth University for his second year after being a regular contributor in the defense last season.
Finally, Eric Bird, a second year goalkeeper out of Butler University rounds out the group.
The new additions give the U-23s ten players: two keepers, two fullbacks, a centerback, two holding midfielders, two attacking midfielders, and a forward. The U-23s will likely add more players to their season-long roster in the coming
weeks hours and will be able to use academy players to fill in the gaps throughout the season.
The Timbers' press release:
TIMBERS U-23s ADD FIVE MORE PLAYERS FOR 2015 SEASON
Timbers Academy alumni Garcia-Aguilar, Macchione, White join Timbers U-23s, defender Castillo returns for a second season
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers U-23s today announced the addition of five more players to their roster for the upcoming 2015 Premier Development League (PDL) season. Timbers Academy alumni Jesse Garcia-Aguilar (University of Akron), Anthony Macchione (University of Akron) and Ben White (Gonzaga University) join the Timbers U-23s following their freshman season in college, while defender Dennis Castillo (Virginia Commonwealth) returns for a second year and goalkeeper Eric Dick (Butler University) also joins the team.
The Timbers U-23s begin their seventh season in the PDL on Thursday, May 14, against Lane United FC in a Providence Health & Fitness Day match at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 11 a.m. (Pacific). Tickets for Thursday’s match against Lane United FC, which start at $7, can be purchased online here as well as at the Providence Park box office. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 15 or more; contact the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555 or email@example.com for additional information.
Castillo (San José, Costa Rica) has scored seven goals in 59 career matches across three seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University. A Costa Rica youth international at the U-18 and U-20 levels, Castillo was part of a VCU defensive unit that ranked 11th nationally in goals-against average (0.65) in 2014. Joining the Timbers U-23s last season, Castillo appeared in 10 matches, recording two goals and one assist during the 2014 PDL season.
Dick (Carmel, Ind.) featured in 13 matches at Butler University in 2014, recording a 0.81 goal-against average in his redshirt-freshman campaign. A two-time BIG EAST Conference Goalkeeper of the Week recipient, Dick finished fourth in the conference with a .804 save percentage and posted five shutouts for the Bulldogs.
Garcia-Aguilar (Portland, Ore.) appeared in 20 games (13 starts) as a midfielder, logging one goal and one assist during his freshman season at the University of Akron in 2014. The Portland native was named the 2013-14 Timbers Academy Player of the Year after playing in 23 games (20 starts) for the Timbers U-18s during the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season, scoring four goals and helping the side reach the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs for the first time. Garcia-Aguilar also appeared in five matches, logging 254 minutes, for the Timbers Reserves during the 2013 MLS Reserve League campaign, and made an appearance for the Timbers first team during a friendly against Mexican club Monarcas Morelia on July 3, 2013.
Macchione (Camas, Wash.) joins the Timbers U-23s following his freshman season at the University of Akron in 2014. The former Timbers Academy forward featured in 18 matches for the Zips, recording three goals, including the game-winning goal to help Akron clinch to their 11th Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship title. With the Timbers U-18s, Macchione helped lead the side to their first appearance in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in 2013, scoring 17 goals in 24 games. Macchione made 47 appearances for the Timbers U-18s from 2012-14 and also played 10 games for the Timbers Reserves during the 2013 MLS Reserve League season.
White (Tigard, Ore.) joins the Timbers U-23s after starting 17 games as a freshman defender at Gonzaga University, finishing second on the team in minutes played (1,450). A Timbers Academy member from 2012-14, White recorded 26 appearances (24 starts) during the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season, scoring five goals and helping lead the Timbers U-18s to their inaugural berth in the Development Academy Playoffs. White logged two goals and eight assists for the Timbers U-16s during the 2012-13 season.