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Timbers acquire Liga MX striker on loan

It’s all starting to come together

Pumas UNAM v FC Juarez - Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

A few weeks ago the Portland Timbers prepared to enter the preseason with only one true number-nine on the roster. That number now looks like it will swell to three after the Timbers recent move to acquire 26-year old Chilean striker Felipe Mora per The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal.

The loan deal comes with the option to buy and Mora will be a TAM player in 2020. This comes on the heel of the Timbers using TAM to bring in Jaroslaw Niezgoda who has not been signed yet, but should be in the coming days.

Mora spent half of 2018 with Liga MX’s U.N.A.M Pumas on loan before being bought out. The Chilean-international scored 19 goals in 65 appearances for Pumas.

From what I’ve seen, Mora looks to feed off of service from outside the box and could be a significant threat in set-piece situations.

Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese hinted at a potential move for another attacker during the Timbers’ recent media day. Savarese now has a trio of options at the striker position that will add something different to the game; how will he bring it all together? Does he experiment with two strikers up top? If so, which forward will come off the bench? Who can and cannot play together?

A common knee-jerk reaction from Timbers’ fans centers around 22-year old Jeremy Ebobisse who has shown considerable development since Portland drafted him out of Duke. The young American International began to start games last season and put up double-digit goals. Ebobisse’s stock still seems to be trending up, but will that be quelled with all the new talent at the position?

According to Stejskal, the Timbers are operating under the assumption that Ebobisse will miss time due to the upcoming Olympics which frames this move as one increasing the talent pool at striker, but also the amount of depth and options available to Savarese.

Something else worth noting. With this being a TAM deal, the Timbers could still maintain that ultra-valuable Designated Player spot depending on the new CBA and whether they can use TAM funds to buy down Niezgoda’s contract to remove it from the DP category. If that is a possibility, the Timbers could look to bring a big-name signing in or hold it for a future acquisition. Those three spots are worth their weight in gold considering it is what allows teams to go above and beyond the MLS salary limit to sign a game-changing player (Think a Vela, Chicharito, Josef Martinez or David Villa as big-name DP’s). Sebastian Blanco and Yimmi Chara are the only two DP’s listed on the Timbers’ roster, although if Niezgoda’s contract cannot be bought down he will join that category.

Mora joins Yimmi Chara, Dario Suparic, and Jaroslaw Niezgoda as Portland’s 2019 offseason acquisitions. We should see them in action soon as Portland heads down to Costa Rica to begin its preseason before hosting a three game tournament in late February.