Dairon Asprilla is coming back to the Portland Timbers.
A Timbers source confirmed to Stumptown Footy on Saturday that the Timbers are bringing the pacey, but mercurial winger back to Portland.
I can confirm PTFC is bringing Dairon Asprilla back for 2017. They think he's in a better place now and will provide quality depth. #RCTID— Chris Rifer (@ChrisRifer) January 21, 2017
Asprilla returns to a depth chart on the wing that looks significantly more crowded than it was when he left Portland. The Timbers already have Darlington Nagbe, Victor Arboleda, and Jack Barmby signed on the wing, and have been reported to be chasing a designated player to fill the right wing and the return of Rodney Wallace as an additional piece on the left. In addition, Darren Mattocks played almost all of his minutes in 2016 on the left wing, and could either figure in to the competition on wings or at forward in 2017.
The source confirmed to Stumptown Footy that Asprilla’s signing was not to replace any potential deal that had fallen through. Instead the Timbers’ plan is to be three-deep at each attacking position, and to let the competition in camp and throughout the season sort out the depth chart. Accordingly, if the Timbers are able to execute the remainder of their offseason plan, Asprilla won’t be the last addition Caleb Porter and company make on the wing.
Asprilla returns after a tumultuous loan with Millonarios F.C. in Colombia’s Categoria Pirmera A during which Asprilla appeared to be angling for a move back to Portland. Although the Colombian struggled to acclimate to Portland in his last spell with the Timbers and, accordingly, found himself in and out of Caleb Porter’s plans, the Timbers believe Asprilla is now in a better frame of mind to return and to contribute to the team.
When he was engaged in Portland, the results for Asprilla were occasionally spectacular, with his goal against FC Dallas in the first leg of the 2015 Western Conference remaining one of the best goals scored by a Timber in MLS.
But just as often Asprilla seemed adrift in Portland, spending stretches of time out of the team despite his clear talent.
If the Timbers are correct, though, that Asprilla is in a better position now to contribute to the team, they are adding another intriguing piece to what could be a heated competition for playing time in the attack.