7/22 Update: According to a report from the soccer staff at The Athletic, Portland appears to indeed be close to acquiring Santiago Moreno. The Timbers will reportedly be sending $50,000 in allocation money to the Philadelphia Union for Moreno’s discovery rights. While the deal is not done, there indeed appears to be much more smoke to Moreno’s signing by the Timbers. You can read the original story from when reports first surfaced below.
Big notebook with @samstejskal, @FelipeCar and @jeffrueter:— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) July 22, 2021
✔️ #USMNT bringing bigger rosters to WCQs
✔️ Duncan drawing interest from French clubs
✔️ Fraser talking new deal with Rapids
✔️ #RCTID close in on signing
✔️ N. Rodriguez consulting with MLShttps://t.co/r0ojpf5F9g
Welcome to the summer silly season, folks. Yesterday, reports started popping up on social media that linked the Portland Timbers to a transfer for 21-year-old Colombian winger, Santiago Moreno. The first reports came from Colombia-based journalist Diego Rueda, wherein he also identified Atlanta United as another potential suitor for Moreno’s services.
Santiago Moreno a la MLS: entre Atlanta United y Portland Timbers está el futuro del joven (21) delantero colombiano perteneciente al América de Cali.— Diego Rueda (@diegonoticia) July 19, 2021
Moreno, currently in his third season with Colombian club America de Cali, is primarily a right winger who can also play across the forward line. During his roughly 3,300 minutes for CD America de Cali, the attacker has notched 10 goals and 7 assists. Moreno has not appeared for the club in the only game of their 2021 Clausura, which, if you believe his coach Juan Carlos Osorio (yes, that Juan Carlos Osorio) is because of Moreno being more more focused on his next move than his current club. (Moreno appears to be a fan favorite in Colombia, so take that with a few healthy grains of salt.)
Santiago Moreno has indeed been a hot name on the transfer market in recent weeks. He has been linked with Scottish giants Rangers since the transfer window opened, with other European clubs potentially inquiring as to his availability. Atlanta and Portland aren’t the only MLS sides interested in Moreno it appears, as seemingly up to three additional MLS sides have approached America de Cali about acquiring Moreno.
As it relates to the Timbers, Moreno fits the profile of a young, speedy, direct winger that could provide an immediate goal threat. Because of his age, Moreno would qualify as a U-22/Young Money signing for the Timbers (presumably the only one they can currently make with the way their current roster and designated players contracts are currently constructed).
Acquiring Moreno, if it happens, would be a move to add depth for this season, with an eye on future seasons. Moreno could also provide a boost to an attacking winger lineup that has regularly featured Yimmi Chara, Dairon Asprilla, and Marvin Loria in 2021. With Sebastian Blanco still working his way back to full match fitness, the Timbers have had to rely on more direct wing play to provide their attacking verticality and goal threats — and Moreno fits the bill of doing that job solidly. He could also be an exciting project that Portland could develop to be a longer-term answer in the attack beyond this season as well.
None of the above will come to pass if the transfer doesn’t happen, however. And only time will tell if the summer silly season truly brings another Colombian winger to the Rose City in the form of Santiago Moreno.