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Six Players With Portland Timbers Ties In the MLS Draft Combine

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The U-23s are well represented in this year's draft.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Portland Timbers U-23s are well represented in the ranks of Major League Soccer, with first round pick Erik Hurtado and well regarded striker Mark Sherrod active in the league and a number of others on its periphery. This year the U-23s seem likely to add to that number with six players tied to the team invited to the 2015 MLS Superdraft Combine.

Representing the U-23s' 2014 squad are Fatai Alashe, Miguel Aguilar, Jose Ribas, and Will Seymore. From the U-23s' 2013 side are Saad Abdul-Salaam and Khiry Shelton.

One of Caleb Porter's final players coming out of Akron and potentially into MLS, Abdul-Salaam is a versatile player who can play across the back line or in the midfield. Since being moved into a fullback and winger role on hte right for Akron, Abdul-Salaam has been a regular contributor of assists for the Zips, picking up eleven in the last two years.

Alashe is a well regarded defensive midfielder out of Michigan State. Having been the bulwark in the midfield for a State side that has reached the NCAA Tournament quarter-finals in each of the last two years. Alashe scored two goals for the U-23s in just eleven games with the team from his holding midfield position.

A forward for the University of San Francisco,  Aguilar is a big boy who seems more well-known for his hold up play than any sort of goal scoring prowess. With the U-23s, a side that tended to spread out the goalscoring responsibilities, Aguilar ended up with one goal and one assist in eight games, while with his college side in 2014 he notched four goals and three assists.

Ribas has played all across the backline for Creighton, but looks like a fullback at the MLS level. He is only listed at 5'9", but his intelligence on the pitch and passing ability out of the back have served Creighton well over the last four years, including in the 2013 season when he managed to lead the team with six assists from his position in the defense.

The longest serving of the Timbers U-23s alums, Seymore played with the U-23s in 2013 and 2014, slotting in as both a defender and a defensive midfielder in his two years with the team. A consistent player for the Oregon State Beavers, only Shelton started more games than Seymore this year.

For his part, Shelton put together his first full season without injury in some time and definitely made it pay off; scoring ten goals and notching twelve assists in 21 games at forward  with the Beavers in 2014. For the 2013 U-23s, Shelton never had a chance to make an impact as he was forced to miss the short summer season due to injury. Another player getting some significant first round buzz, Shelton could go very high in this year's draft if teams ignore his record of injuries.

Would you take any of these players with the Timbers' No 5 pick?

The MLS press release:

55 College Seniors Invited to 2015 adidas MLS Player Combine

Invited players to showcase their talents in front of 20 MLS clubs in Fort Lauderdale, FL

NEW YORK (Thurs., Dec. 11, 2014) – Major League Soccer today announced the 55 NCAA DI college seniors invited to participate in the 2015 adidas MLS Player Combine. Top collegiate athletes from across the country will have the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of representatives from all 20 MLS clubs in Fort Lauderdale, FL from Jan. 8-13, 2015. All invited players will be eligible for selection in the 2015 SuperDraft presented by adidas that will take place on Thursday, Jan. 15 in Philadelphia, PA.

A committee of NCAA Division I coaches from every conference, as well as MLS coaches, selected the invitees, all of whom completed their college eligibility this season.  Generation adidas signings, non-collegiate players, and additional college seniors will be announced in the coming weeks.

Among the top invitees looking to impress MLS clubs is midfielder Leo Stolz (UCLA), a 2014 Hermann Trophy semifinalist and 2013 finalist. The German native also earned a first team All-American selection and Pac-12 Player of the Year honors in 2013. Similarly, eyes will be set on goalkeeper Tyler Miller (Northwestern), who took home the 2014 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year award and led the Big Ten in save percentage (85%) and goals against average (.56), while tying for second in shutouts (9). Also invited to the annual showcase is midfielder Nick Besler, younger brother to U.S. Men’s National Team and Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler. The Notre Dame product was named to the All-ACC first team in 2013, while leading the Fighting Irish to the 2013 NCAA Championship title.

Seven players participating in this weekend’s 2014 Men’s College Cup Final Four are among the Combine invitees – four players from UCLA (Earl Edwards Jr., Aaron Simmons, Leo Stolz, Andrew Tusaazemajja), one from Providence College (Fabio Machado), one from University of Virginia (Eric Bird) and one from UMBC (Oumar Ballo).

· Media interested in covering the 2015 adidas MLS Player Combine should contact Jane Sexton (Jane.Sexton@mlssoccer.com) to request a credential for the matches.

· Media interested in covering the 2015 SuperDraft presented by adidas should contact Sal Della Monica (Sal.DellaMonica@mlssoccer.com) to request a credential for the event.

To download the SuperDraft logo, please CLICK HERE.

To download the Combine logo, please CLICK HERE.

To view the schedule of Combine matches, please CLICK HERE.

2015 adidas MLS Player Combine NCAA DI College Senior Participants

(Alphabetical by last name)

First Name

Last Name

School

Position

Hometown/Citizenship

BIO

Saad

Abdul-Salaam

University of Akron

DF

Gahanna, Ohio - USA

BIO

Miguel

Aguilar

University of San Francisco

FW

Sacramento, CA – Mexico

BIO

Fatai

Alashe

Michigan State

M/D

Northville, Mich. - USA

BIO

Tyler

Arnone

University of Michigan

DF

Hicksville, N.Y. - USA

BIO

Dominique

Badji

Boston University

FW

Dakar, Senegal - Senegal

BIO

Oumar

Ballo

UMBC

DF

Baltimore, Md. - Mali/ process USA

BIO

Laurie

Bell

UW-Milwaukee

D/M

Poynton, England - UK

BIO

Salvador

Bernal

UNLV

M/F

Las Vegas, Nev. - U.S. Resident

BIO

Nick

Besler

Notre Dame

MF

Overland Park, KS - USA

BIO

Adria

Beso Marco

UConn

MF

Lleida, Spain - Spain

BIO

Andrew

Bevin

West Virginia University

F/M

Napier, New Zealand  - New Zealand

BIO

Eric

Bird

University of Virginia

MF

Virginia Beach, Va. - USA

BIO

Connor

Brandt

University of San Diego

MF

Temecula, CA - USA

BIO

Sergio

Campbell

UConn

DF

Clarendon, Jamaica - Jamaica

BIO

Seth

Casiple

California

MF

Rocklin, Calif. - USA

BIO

Wesley

Charpie

University of South Florida

DF

Tarpon Springs, Fla. -  USA

BIO

Andy

Craven

University of North Carolina

FW

St. Simons Island, Ga. - USA

BIO

Otis

Earl

UC Riverside

DF

London, England - British/USA

BIO

Earl

Edwards, Jr.

UCLA

GK

San Diego, Calif. - USA

BIO

Marc

Fenelus

California State University Fullerton

FW

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos - Turks and Caicos

BIO

Oniel

Fisher

University of New Mexico

MF

Portmore, Jamaica - Jamaica

BIO

Tomas

Gomez

Georgetown

GK

Webster Groves, Mo. - USA

BIO

Connor

Hallisey

California

MF

Granite Bay, Calif. - USA

BIO

Cameron

Iwasa

UC Irvine

FW

Sacramento, Calif. - USA

BIO

Daniel

Keller

University of Louisville

DF

Carmel, Ind. - USA

BIO

Robert

Kristo

St. Louis University

FW

St. Louis, Mo.  - USA/Croatia

BIO

Sagi

Lev-Ari

California State University Northridge

FW

Haifa, Israel - Israel

BIO

Rob

Lovejoy

University of North Carolina

F/M

Greensboro, N.C.  - USA

BIO

Fabio

Machado

Providence College

MF

Santa Catarina, Brazil - USA

BIO

Ignacio

Maganto

Iona College

FW

Madrid, Spain - Spain

BIO

Anthony

Manning

St. Louis University

DF

Mesquite, Texas - USA

BIO

Ramon

Martin DelCampo

UC Davis

DF

Chula Vista, Calif. - USA

BIO

Shawn

McLaws

Coastal Carolina University

DF/MF

Edmond, Okla. - USA

BIO

Dan

Metzger

University of Maryland

MF

Holmdel, N.Y. - USA

BIO

Tyler

Miller

Northwestern

GK

Woodbury, N.J. - USA

BIO

Luke

Mishu

Notre Dame

DF

Knoxville, TN - USA

BIO

Adam

Montague

Michigan State

FW

Toledo, Ohio - USA

BIO

Craig

Nitti

Loyola Marymount

DF

Calabasas, Calif. - USA / Italy

BIO

Boyd

Okwuonu

University of North Carolina

DF

Edmond, Okla. - USA

BIO

Tim

Parker

St. John's University

DF

Hicksville, N.Y. - USA

BIO

Nikola

Paunic

University of South Florida

DF

Toronto, Ontario - Canada

BIO

Matt

Polster

SIU-Edwardsville

DF

Las Vegas, Nev. - USA

BIO

Jose

Ribas

Creighton University

D/M

Guayaquil, Ecuador - Ecuador

BIO

Sidney

Rivera

Old Dominion University

FW

Hampton, N.J. - USA

BIO

James

Rogers

University of New Mexico

FW

Sierra Leone - USA

BIO

Manolo

Sanchez

Clemson University

MF

Philadelphia, Pa. - USA

BIO

Will

Seymour

Oregon State

MF

Soham, England - USA/UK

BIO

Khiry

Shelton

Oregon State

FW

Leander, Texas - USA

BIO

Aaron

Simmons

UCLA

DF

Mansfield, Texas - USA

BIO

Leo

Stoltz

UCLA

MF

Munich, Germany - Germany

BIO

Andy

Thoma

University of Washington

MF/DF

Los Alamos, N.M. - USA

BIO

Skylar

Thomas

Syracuse University

DF

Pickering, Ontario - Canada

BIO

Andrew

Tusaazemajja

UCLA

MF

Panorama City, Calif.  - USA

BIO

Christian

Volesky

SIU-Edwardsville

F/M

Henderson, Nev. - USA

BIO

Andrew

Wolverton

Penn State

GK

Atlanta, Ga. - USA

BIO

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