MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

How Jorge Moreira's departure from the Portland Timbers unfolded, and why he could come back | Tom Bogert

Jorge Moreira on the ball - Portland Timbers

Though Jorge Moreira returned to River Plate ahead of his original loan expiring at the end of this month, the Portland Timbers believe there's a realistic chance he may still return to Rose City.

For now, however, Portland and River Plate couldn't reach an agreement to keep Moreira in Portland.

River Plate hoped Portland would exercise Moreira's purchase option, which was "well over" $1 million, per a source. The Timbers were never going to come close to that figure considering his age (30), recent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in March as well as their monetary investment in his wages — his guaranteed compensation of $607,954.60 last season (per the MLS Players Association) made him one of the highest-paid right backs in the league. 

Portland had hoped they might be able to sign him for free or a much smaller fee (perhaps up to $100,000, per a source), a prospect that might have become more enticing to River once the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic started to take hold.

The club believes that Moreira wants to stay in Portland and that there is a "legitimate chance" he returns, if River Plate soften their negotiation stance. Time will tell.

In the interim, Portland promoted Venezuela youth international fullback Pablo Bonilla to the first team from T2. 

Bonilla, 20, arrived in Portland this winter from Deportivo La Guaira Fútbol Club for a $200,000 transfer fee plus performance-based bonuses, per a source. He was signed to T2 to help his acclimation period to the United States. He played one game for T2 before the USL Championship was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Portland believed this winter that he was could have been ready for the first team but didn't have a need to, with Moreira and Chris Duvall on the right back depth chart. 

Bonilla will have the chance to debut for the first team at the MLS is Back Tournament next month.