Four days from their opening match in the Concacaf Champions league, and two weeks out from the start of the MLS season, the Portland Timbers have finally added their depth at left back, as well as at left wing.
The Timbers announced today a pair of signings to round out their roster for the start of 2021: defender Ismalia “Ish” Jome, and midfielder Jorge Gonzalez. Both were signed on one year deals with a club option for an additional year.
Jome, a native of the Gambia, has been around the tiers of American professional soccer for the past five years. Primarily a left back who has also played left wing in the past, he most recently played for Austin Bold FC in the USL Championship. Prior to that, he’s had stints with Nashville SC when they were in the USL, and the Colorado Switchbacks. The 26 year old has MLS experience as well, as he was part of Minnesota United’s NASL squad in 2016 and then their inaugural MLS roster in 2017. He also has some experience with the Timbers, as he made five appearances for the Timbers U-23’s in 2015 in the PDL.
Jome will be needed depth at the left back position behind new acquisition Claudio Bravo. He had been one of the mysterious trialists that had been training with the Timbers during the preseason, and his signing should come as no surprise to the internet sleuths who deduced that he was with the team last month.
What might slightly be a surprise is the signing of Jorge Gonzalez. Primarily a left sided attacker, the 22 year old will go on loan with Louisville City FC for the 2021 USL Championship season.
The Spanish native was most recently of Timbers 2, and went on a bit of tear with the USL side. In just ten appearances during the abbreviated 2020 season, Gonzalez tallied eight goals and one assist. In what wound up being a down year for the Portland developmental side, Gonzalez was one of the clear standouts, and his first team contract can be seen as a reward for his year.
Gonzalez, originally drafted by LAFC in the 2020 Superdraft, signed his first professional contract with Timbers 2 after not receiving a contract offer from the Southern California MLS side. Prior to that he spent three collegiate seasons with SIU Edwardsville. At just 22, he presents as an project to keep an eye on for the future for the Timbers, especially if he continues his strong output while out on loan.
Jome on the other hand, will be relied upon to be an immediate role player for the Timbers, especially as they embark on their CCL journey with MLS play right around the corner. Balancing competitiveness in multiple competitions requires having a good bench, and the Timbers are hoping that with these two signings, and Jome in particular, that they have it.