The Portland Timbers continued an already busy offseason by landing another forward to the mix on Wednesday, trading for Jamaican international and Toronto FC striker Ryan Johnson.
The Timbers also picked up Reds goalkeeper Milos Kocic in the deal, which saw Portland part with backup goalkeeper Joe Bendik, the No. 3 overall pick in next month’s MLS SuperDraft and an undisclosed amount of allocation money.
The Reds now have both the first and third overall picks in the Jan. 17 draft with eyes on rebuilding with young talent after posting the worst season in franchise history in 2012.
The Timbers, meanwhile, add an MLS veteran in Johnson who has scored 27 goals and added 20 assists over six seasons in the league. He scored seven goals last year for Toronto, his best season since he made a breakthrough onto the MLS landscape with 11 goals and two assists for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2009.
“After weighing our immediate needs and evaluating the college pool, we felt it was in the club’s best interest to give up a draft pick to secure a talented goal-scorer and an experienced player like Ryan,” Timbers GM Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement. “He adds another weapon to our attacking group and can create goals in a number of ways. He also offers versatility in a number of positions in either a three- or two-front system.”
Johnson, 28, has played for Real Salt Lake, Chicago, San Jose and Toronto since his 2006 MLS debut. He has also emerged as a reliable threat for the Jamaican national team, scoring eight goals in 25 appearances for the Reggae Boyz since his international debut, also in 2006. He attended Oregon State, where he was a three-time All-Pac-10 selection.
He joins a stable of forwards in Portland that already includes Designated Player Kris Boyd, promising talent Bright Dike, Colombian import José “Trencito” Valencia and former No. 1 overall draft pick Danny Mwanga, who re-signed with the club on Tuesday.
Kocic, 27, emerged as the Reds’ No. 1 goalkeeper after incumbent starter Stefan Frei went down with a broken leg during training in March. Kocic started 27 games last year for the Reds, posting three shutouts and a 1.75 goals-against average.
He joined Toronto in 2010 after appearing in four games for D.C. United in 2009. D.C. drafted him in the second round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
Kocic will now battle incumbent and former Goalkeeper of the Year Donovan Ricketts in net for the Timbers. Ricketts, 35, joined the club midway through last season via trade from Montreal.
"With the addition of Milos, we felt it was important to add another experienced goalkeeper to strengthen our depth in that position,” Wilkinson said. “He has been a regular starter in this league and has worked with our goalkeeper coach Mike Toshack before, making the transition to Portland even easier.”
Wednesday's trade is the latest in a slew of deals for Portland that have already netted veteran midfielder Will Johnson and right back Michael Harrington, and sent defenders Kosuke Kimura and Eric Brunner out.
Bendik, 23, appeared in five games for the Timbers last season. He'll likely serve as the backup to Frei, who is expected to return to his top spot in net in 2013.
“We have a lot of work to do, from a roster and a salary cap standpoint, and this is a first step. Our objective is to put together a group of young, talented, athletic and hungry players that we can keep together for years to come," TFC president and GM Kevin Payne said in a statement.
“We are trying to develop a new culture and philosophy at Toronto FC and we want to assemble a group which will buy into that approach absolutely. We’re excited about this trade and look forward to the draft in the new year.”
The Timbers also announced Wednesday they have traded their third-overall position in the allocation ranking and either a 2013 international roster spot or a second-round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft to Chivas USA for the Goats' second-overall position in the allocation ranking.