The Portland Timbers front office was active last week, signing two new strikers to bolster the Timbers attack. Now it is the defense that will need to be addressed after the team announced center back Bill Tuiloma will miss approximately the next two months following a right calf strain suffered in training last Wednesday.
According to the announcement, the New Zealand international has returned to Portland where he will begin the recovery process while the team remains in Costa Rica for the first portion of the preseason.
Just announced by @TimbersFC: "Timbers defender Bill Tuiloma suffered a right calf strain during training camp on Jan. 29. He has returned to Portland for treatment and will be out approximately two months. " #rctid #mls— Richard Farley (@richardfarley) February 1, 2020
Obviously, the timing of the injury is not ideal, but if everything goes according to plan then the defender should be back right after the first month of the season which begins exactly one month from today.
Tuiloma’s injury is certainly a blow to the team’s back line. Last season he played both in the central defense as well as in the defensive midfield. The Timbers brought in center back Dario Zuparic earlier in the offseason who will most likely start alongside Larrys Mabiala when the regular season begins a month from today.
According to Farley, who is with the team in Costa Rica, fourth-round draft pick Zac McGraw—who is currently unsigned— recently joined up with the team in San Jose to help add numbers in the defense. Without Tuiloma, the center back depth chart consists of Zuparic, McGraw, Mabiala, and Julio Cascante.
Earlier today Portland beat Saprissa 2-1 in its first preseason game, but this news is certainly an early blow to the team as they continue to prepare for the regular season ahead.