wThe Portland Timbers had a busy offseason, changing up almost half of their roster from the end of 2016 and making some significant changes along the way. Those changes are not quite done yet — the Timbers are still looking for their last-second replacement for Gbenga Arokoyo after he suffered a ruptured achilles tendon in preseason — but there are still plenty of new players in town to be excited about.
So, as we head into the team’s season opener tonight, which of the Timbers’ new arrivals has you most excited?
The Timbers’ new No. 6 has been the shield in front of the Timbers’ back line and the centerpiece of their move toward a possession-based style of play. Even better, he frees up Chara to search and destroy on defense and get forward into the attack on offense.
A new designated player signing? Replacing the underwhelming Lucas Melano? Allowing Darlington Nagbe to get back on the left wing full-time? Yes, yes, and yes. Those three things alone are strong marks in Blanco’s favor, but it is the tidy new winger’s play on the right in setting up goals that pushes him over the top.
Timbers fans have not yet seen all that much from Ebobisse in the green and gold, but that is just because the young Generation Adidas-ish striker has been busy featuring for the US U-20s as they strive to qualify for the U-20 World Cup. From what we have seen of him, however, Ebobisse seems to split the difference between Fanendo Adi and Darren Mattocks in style of play, giving the Timbers a strong prospect at target striker.
Don’t count out the young Colombian; he might just be one of the fastest players in MLS and his ability to take defenders on one on one looks very interesting. If he can fight his way into the 18 this season he could prove to be a game-changer for the Timbers off the bench.
The Timbers have high hopes for Clarke and want desperately for him to follow in the footsteps of his countryman Alvas Powell, giving the Timbers an athletic, aggressive youngster who just might crack the starting lineup sometime soon. He will have to wait a little longer for his chance after failing to lock down the starting spot following the injury to Arokoyo, but make no mistake: he has the instincts and the frame to be a force to reckoned with.
Also in the running are Jeff Attinella, Kendall McIntosh, Roy Miller, Chance Myers, and Lawrence Olum. Marco Farfan was signed last season and therefore does not count, but we are all very excited about him regardless.
Make your pick and vote in the poll below and let us know why in the comments.