The Portland Timbers are filling out their depth.
A day after they made a bold move to trade for United States U-20 midfielder Eryk Williamson, the Timbers on Wednesday announced three depth signings: centerback and defensive midfielder Bill Tuiloma, central midfielder Andrés Flores, and centerback Modou Jadama.
Tuiloma returns to Portland as first-team depth at centerback and defensive midfield. The 22-year-old New Zealand international originally signed to the first team in July of 2017 and appeared 11 times for Timbers 2, scoring three goals in his first year in Portland. Although the Timbers only formally announced Tuiloma’s signing on Wednesday, his return to the Rose City has been clearly acknowledged by Timbers brass even though the club initially declined his 2018 option. With a strong preseason camp, Tuiloma appears poised to earn himself a larger role with the first team in light of the departure of Amobi Okugo.
The Timbers also announced the signing of Andrés Flores, a box-to-box and attacking central midfielder from the New York Cosmos. The Oregonian’s Jamie Goldberg first reported Flores’s signing on Tuesday.
A source has confirmed to me that the Portland Timbers have acquired El Salvador midfielder Andres Flores from the New York Cosmos. He is expected to provide depth in the midfield #RCTID #MLS https://t.co/DaTWLVkatI— Jamie Goldberg (@Jamiebgoldberg) January 23, 2018
Playing primarily as an attacking central midfielder, Flores follows his former manager Giovanni Savarese from the Cosmos, for whom he played from 2014 through 2017. In 2017 Flores, a Salvadoran international who has worn the armband for club and country, led the Cosmos with eight assists on the season. Flores figures to step into the Timbers’ depth chart in each of the three central-midfield positions, although he is best suited to play as an eight or ten.
Finally, as the day’s biggest surprise, the Timbers announced the signing of centerback Modou Jadama from USL’s Tulsa Roughnecks. Jadama signed with the Roughnecks in March 2017 from Colo Colo in Chile. Jadama, 23, was born in Gambia and grew up in the United States. The centerback made 31 appearances including 29 starts for the Roughnecks in 2017, leading the team with 2,658 minutes played, 87 clearances, and 39 blocks. Jadama will provide depth at a centerback position at which the Timbers have suffered a rash of injuries in recent years, and figures to help anchor the T2 defense when he isn’t needed for first-team duty.
With many of their depth spots filled, focus on the Timbers’ offseason acquisitions shifts to the signing of a TAM-level box-to-box midfielder and striker, as well as the ongoing Justin Meram trade rumblings.