Wilkinson: Timbers sought Zizzo for months

PORTLAND, Ore. — Sal Zizzo was on a plane from Arizona to Portland on Wednesday afternoon to join his new club. On Thursday, he’ll turn around and accompany the Timbers to a training camp back in Arizona.

Zizzo, who played 10 games with Chivas USA in 2010, is yet another player that the Timbers front office has been trying to obtain for months. The club finally struck a deal with Chivas, sending allocation money in exchange for the midfielder.

“We tried to acquire him in November,” Timbers general manager/technical director Gavin Wilkinson said. “We kept pursuing and asking.”

Zizzo, 23, is a San Diego native who starred in two collegiate seasons at UCLA. He began his professional career in 2007 with Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga. He made eight first-team appearances with the top-flight German club and also played for Hannover 96 II, the club’s reserve team.

Once capped by the full national team, he represented the United States at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, helping the team reach the quarterfinals.

He joined Chivas USA in a weighted lottery after signing with MLS in July 2010, and brings a skillset to Portland that the Timbers are excited to have.

“He can play either side, left or right, and he’s extremely quick,” Wilkinson said. “He adds a little depth and experience, and also brings a tremendous amount of speed.”

Wilkinson said he expects Zizzo will contend for a spot in the starting lineup.

“He’s an ambitious young player who wants to do well,” Wilkinson said.

Notes:

  • The Timbers travel to Grand Canyon State on Thursday to begin a new phase of training. While in Arizona, the Timbers will play a slate of preseason exhibitions, including two against MLS clubs. On Saturday, the team has scheduled games against the U.S. U-18 national team as well as the Houston Dynamo. The Timbers will have a split-squad look for those games.
  • Taylor Mueller, a 2011 Supplemental Draft Pick, joined the team this week. Trialists Spencer Thompson and Rodrigo Lopez re-joined the Timbers this week for training sessions at Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation in Beaverton, Ore.
  • When asked about the buzz around Wayne Rooney’s bicycle-kick game-winner last weekend, Wilkinson called the goal “phenomenal.” But there was buzz this week about a similarly artful goal that Peter Lowry scored in practice this week – a sideways volley that he put into the top corner of the net.

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