During Caleb Porter’s time in charge of the Portland Timbers, the team’s motto — stated often by the coach and repeated as gospel by the players — was “keep the lows high and the highs low.” At the start of his tenure with the Timbers, Giovanni Savarese had a different mission statement in mind: “every game is a final.”
Well, the Timbers certainly lived by Savarese’s words in 2018, particularly as the Timbers threw themselves into the playoffs and battled their way past three of the best sides in the West en route to a real, actual final; ultimately losing the MLS Cup last night 2-0 to an Atlanta United side that will go down as one of the most potent in league history.
With that loss, the low-lows and the high-highs of the 2018 season are over; so now what?
Since late November, news has been trickling out from MLS sides as they are eliminated from the playoffs: who had their option picked up, who is under contract, and who are not. Now that the Timbers are finally done with 2018, their own list of who might be back and who might not will be released soon.
This morning also marked a brief trade window for MLS teams to move pieces ahead of the upcoming offseason full of drafts, signings, and cuts. While it appears that the Timbers stayed quiet during the four hour window, former Timber Maximiliano Urruti did see his contract sent from FC Dallas, his home since leaving the Timbers in 2016, to the Montreal Impact.
Coming up tomorrow, December 10th, MLS will release the protected lists for FC Cincinnati’s edition of the expansion draft. The draft itself will take place the following day on Tuesday, December 11th.
The drafts continue on Wednesday, December 12th with the 2018 MLS Waiver Draft, and on December 14th and 20th with the 2018 MLS Re-Entry Draft, wrapping up the official dates of importance in 2018.
This will be Savarese’s first full offseason in MLS. While last year’s saw bombshell departures of Caleb Porter and Darlington Nagbe, it seems unlikely this winter will feature any exits so significant and unexpected. However, some changes are inevitable as the now-sophomore coach will look to continue shaping the team in his vision.