The Portland Timbers' USL side is chock full of talented youngsters. From academy players to young internationals, T2 is stocked with players who could one day contribute to the first team. According to a recent tweet from team owner Merritt Paulson, however, for some of those players that day could be sooner than you think.
If not worn out from Euros/USMNT check out our young guns on @TimbersFC2 tonight @Merlo. Some of those guys poised to contribute to T1 soon.— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) June 11, 2016
Now, before we get too deep into our speculating, let's take a hard look at the tweet in question. Put out before a T2 match that featured several loaned down players with first team starts -- Chris Klute, Alvas Powell, and Jack Barmby in particular -- this tweet could mean just about anything.
But amid persistent rumors of roster moves on the first team, and the potential for T2 players to be loaned to the first team for the upcoming U.S. Open Cup, that measured approach just doesn't seem any fun. So, let's take a look at the T2 roster and see just who might be in line for a shot with the first team.
Here are a few of the more obvious possibilities:
T2's leading scorer in 2015 and the reigning USL Rookie of the Year, Belmar has remained a strong presence in the attack for T2, even as he has spent more of his time on the pitch out on the wing with the introduction of Villyan Bijev up top for the side. The goals have not been pouring in for Belmar this season, but he is T2's leading provider of assists, having notched three so far.
Arboleda has been hampered by injuries so far this season, but he has returned to T2's regular rotation and proved to be a difference maker in matches so far. While his defensive prowess out on the wing is certainly questionable, his raw speed is not. Combined with an apparent ability to finish, it is hard not to look at Arboleda's T2 appearances and think that he could be everything that the Timbers were hoping for from designated player Lucas Melano.
Gallagher has played every minute of the T2 season so far and has looked solid doing so. While he might be replaced as the side's top defender with the upcoming return of Jamaican center back Rennico Clarke, Gallagher could rate a good look with the first team, particularly with Anthony Manning having apparently fallen out of favor as the team's young back up to the aging center back corps or Liam Ridgewell, Nat Borchers, and Jermaine Taylor.
Who do you think deserves a call up to the first team? Could anyone from T2 make an impact for the Timbers?