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Report: Timbers to sign veteran MLS defender

Portland appears set to sign nine-year MLS vet Eric Miller as defensive depth

MLS: Leagues Cup Showcase-Nashville SC vs Club America Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

With kick-off of the 2023 MLS season just 72 hours away, the Portland Timbers appear set to make a signing to bolster their roster ahead of their next campaign.

MLS insider Tom Bogert reported on Wednesday afternoon that Portland is set to sign MLS veteran Eric Miller to reinforce the depth of their squad. Last week the Timbers parted ways with centerback Bill Tuiloma for up to $900K in general allocation money in a trade with Charlotte FC, leaving them with a hole in the depth chart at CB.

Now, it looks like they’ve filled it.

Miller, who will be entering his tenth MLS season in 2023, has been part of five different MLS squads during his nine-year MLS tenure. Drafted into the league by the Montreal Impact, Miller was traded to the Colorado Rapids two years later, and then traded once more two years after that to Minnesota United. He was traded again to NYCFC, where he spent one season before being picked up by Nashville SC in the re-rentry draft prior to the 2020 season. He made 43 appearances for the Music City club before hitting free agency this offseason.

Prior to all of that though, Miller played not too far away from Providence Park. In the offseason during his time in college at Creighton University, Miller had a stint with the Portland Timbers U-23 team from 2012 - 2013, which at the time played in the USL PDL division.

A versatile defender, Miller can play as both a right-sided centerback and a right back. His addition to the Timbers side would give them depth at multiple positions — a bonus in a league like MLS where senior roster spots and salaries are limited. He would slot right into the depth chart behind presumed starters Zac McGraw and Dario Zuparic, and also join Pablo Bonilla as provide additional cover for Juan Mosquera at right back.

The news has yet to be finalized, but when Tom reports something... it’s gonna happen. The final terms of how much the Timbers are paying Miller will determine the full assessment of this move, but for now it appears that with a new season just on the horizon, Portland is filling a need in a shrewd way.