Portland Timbers SuperDraft Preview: Will Caleb Porter seek out more players from Akron?
Ahead of the 2014 SuperDraft, MLSsoccer.com is breaking down each team's needs and potential draft targets. Will the Portland Timbers go back to the Akron well?
The Timbers' starting lineup will return relatively unchanged – and arguably upgraded with the additions of Norberto Paparatto and Gastón Fernández – from the squad that topped the Western Conference during the 2013 regular season. So the 2014 SuperDraft will be about depth for reigning Coach of the Year Caleb Porter.
Will any of that depth come from the Akron Zips squad that Porter coached before taking on the Timbers job? Prospects like forward Reinaldo Brenes (he played for the Timbers U-23s) and left-footed midfielder Aodhan Quinn could be in the running.
Portland Timbers SuperDraft Picks: #17 (1st Rd), #26 (2nd Rd), #36 (2nd Rd), #39 (3rd Rd), #71 (4th Rd), #73 (4th Rd)
Portland Timbers Depth Chart (26 players):
Goalkeepers (3): Donovan Ricketts, Jake Gleeson, Andrew Weber
Right Backs (2): Jack Jewsbury, Alvas Powell
Left Backs (2): Michael Harrington, Jorge Villafana
Centerbacks (6): Norberto Paparatto, Futty Danso, Pa Modou Kah, Mikael Silvestre, Rauwshan McKenzie, Bryan Gallego
Center Mids (4): Diego Chara, Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski, Steven Evans
Left Wingers (2): Rodney Wallace, Steve Zakuani
Right Wingers (2): Darlington Nagbe, Kalif Alhassan
Attacking Mids (2): Diego Valeri, Michael Nanchoff
Forwards (3): Gaston Fernandez, Frederic Piquionne, Maximiliano Urruti
International slots (0 of 8 available): Kalif Alhassan, Alvas Powell, Diego Valeri, Frederic Piquionne, Pa Modou Kah, Maximiliano Urruti, Mikael Silvestre, Norberto Paparatto, Gaston Fernandez
Portland Timbers Primary Need: Depth on the wing
Wallace is hurt, Zakuani is a question (though the Timbers are right to be hopeful). Nagbe is the man, but he can't/shouldn't play every minute, and Alhassan is probably best as a central midfield sub. Nanchoff? He'll play some, but it's always good to get skill where you can.
Portland Timbers Secondary Need: Back-up d-mid
Will they be able to keep Zemanski? And what if Chará goes down? There’s no heir apparent in the current roster, and a draft deep with d-mids seems like a good time to find quality.
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