The Portland Timbers have locked down a key part of their defense for the near future, announcing Thursday that they had signed experienced defender Liam Ridgewell to a contract extension that will reportedly keep him at the club for two more years.
Ridgewell, who is currently one of the Timbers' three permitted Designated Players along with Diego Valeri and Lucas Melano, will no longer carry that tag in 2017, as the Timbers utilized Targeted Allocation Money to get the contract extension done. The Mirror first reported the deal on Tuesday, which was confirmed by The Oregonian and Stumptown Footy writer Chris Rifer.
The 32-year-old Englishman has enjoyed a mostly successful run in MLS since joining the Timbers midway through the 2014 season. He was named to the MLS All-Star team in both 2014 and 2016, and captained the Timbers during their 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC in MLS Cup 2015. In all, he has started all 63 games he's featured in for the Timbers, logging three goals and two assists. During those games, the Timbers have recorded 20 shutouts and a 1.30 goals-against average.
Prior to his time with the Timbers, Ridgewell spent time in the English Premier League and Championship with Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion. He was part of the Birmingham side that scored an upset win over Arsenal to claim the 2011 League Cup title.