In the midst of enduring a brutal injury crisis, the Portland Timbers may be getting more reinforcements — this time, from a familiar face.
According to a tweet from Timbers and Thorns FC senior content producer, Richard Farley, the Timbers are set to sign defensive midfielder George Fochive as a season-ending injury replacement, presumably to help replace the loss of Andy Polo, who is out for the season.
This is ... some surprisingly good news, from #BlastFromThePast department. Getting word that @TimbersFC will be signing midfielder George Fochive as a season-ending injury replacement. The one-time Timber is expected to be a two-time Timber in the coming days/week #RCTID #MLS— Richard Farley (@richardfarley) June 4, 2021
Fochive should be familiar to Timbers fans, especially if you followed their 2015 run to winning MLS Cup. The UConn grad was drafted by Portland in the 2014 Superdraft, and then spent a year out on loan with USL side Sacramento Republic FC. He was a key depth piece for Portland in the 2015 season, and was a regular substitute off the bench during the postseason that year.
Fochive has spent the last six years bouncing around a couple clubs. After the 2015 season, he left Portland to join Danish side Viborg FF. After three years in Denmark, Fochive moved to Israel, where he spent the last three years moving around to various clubs. Most recently, Fochive just finished the 2020–2021 season with Israeli side Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv FC.
If he’s indeed returning to the Rose City, Fochive will add immediate depth to the Timbers midfield. With Cristhian Paredes and Diego Chara still sidelined due to injury, Fochive provides a plug-and-play replacement that could slot right in next to Eryk Williamson in the center of the pitch.
In the short term, having Fochive in the fold helps ease some of the immediate urgency for the Timbers to manage their injuries. The team will presumably be able to reintroduce many of their injured players after the three-week international break, potentially including Chara and/or Paredes. But if there’s even any question they’re not quite ready to go, Fochive gives some insurance so that neither player needs to be rushed back.
Long term, Fochive could prove to be an important rotation player, especially as a depth piece for the elder Chara brother. Fochive indeed got most of his minute by subbing on for Diego Chara during the 2015 playoffs, so deputizing for the godfather is something he’s familiar with. As Portland enters the thick of the MLS season, every depth piece will be vital, especially those that can help extend the longevity of the team’s key impact players. Fochive fits the bill as a player who can help do just that.
As far as rumors go, hearing it from one of the main writers for the club is about as reliable as you can get. So the question is now when, rather than if, the club will be announcing the return of Fochive to the fold.