The Portland Timbers have signed Lituanian left back Vytautas Andriuškevičius on a free transfer, confirming the rumors that have swirled around the club for the last several weeks.
Although the Timbers have largely stabilized their back line with the recent return of Liam Ridgewell from injury, the side have still not locked down the left back position and Andriuškevičius should have an opportunity to make it his own once the team receives his international transfer certificate.
The Timbers' press release:
TIMBERS SIGN LITHUANIAN INTERNATIONAL DEFENDER VYTAUTAS ANDRIUSKEVICIUS
Left back joins Portland from Dutch Eredivisie league
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have signed Lithuanian National Team defender Vytautas Andriuškevičius (Vytas), it was announced today. Andriuškevičius, 25, joins the Timbers with over 120 matches played in Europe, featuring in the top divisions in the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and Lithuania since beginning his professional career in 2007.
"It has been our priority to acquire a left back in the summer transfer window, and we are pleased to welcome Vytas to the club," said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. "We have been looking to add a more natural left back that fits our system on both sides of the ball during this window, and we feel Vytas is a good fit for our club and the league. He has experience playing in strong European leagues and for his country at the international level, and, at 25, is in the prime of his career."
Andriuškevičius spent the past two seasons with SC Cambuur in the Dutch Eredivisie league, appearing in 52 games during that timespan. Prior to joining SC Cambuur, the Alytus, Lithuania, native spent one season with Djurgardens IF in Allsvenskan, the top division in Sweden, making 21 appearances.
"Vytas has a strong mentality and the physical tools to succeed in MLS," said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. "His profile is a good fit for our system as we want our outside backs to be effective defenders first, and that is his biggest strength. He has also shown the ability to push forward in the attack and provide width and service, which is another important aspect we need from that position. In addition, he has a frame that should benefit us on set pieces. We are pleased to add his experience and quality to our club at this crucial stage of the season."
Andriuškevičius, who began his professional career in 2007 at the age of 17 with Lithuanian club FBK Kaunas, appeared 32 times in the Polish top-flight with Lechia Gdansk from 2010-2013. At the club level, his honors include an A Lyga title in 2007 and a Lithuanian Cup in 2008 with FBK Kaunas.
At the international level, Andriuškevičius has earned 23 caps with the Lithuanian National Team, including six starts during 2016 UEFA Euro Qualifying against teams such as Euro 2016 finalists England, Switzerland and Russia. Coming up through the Lithuanian youth national team ranks, Andriuškevičius also made two starts for Lithuania during 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying against Slovakia and Lichtenstein.
Andriuškevičius will occupy an international slot on the Timbers roster.
Transaction: Portland Timbers sign defender Vytautas Andriuškevičius on July 14, 2016.
Vytautas Andriuškevičius (Vytas)
Pronunciation: vee-TOE-tas an-drew-SKA-vi-jus (vee-tas)
Born: Oct. 8, 1990, in Alytus, Lithuania
Last Club: SC Cambuur
Acquired: Signed on July 14, 2016