The Portland Timbers moved to shore up their injury-depleted back line on Monday, signing English central defender and longtime Newcastle United mainstay Steven Taylor.
The 30-year-old Taylor made more than 260 appearances across all competitions for the Magpies, with 13 goals in league competition. He was released by Newcastle in June following their relegation from the Premier League, and will occupy an international spot with the Timbers once his transfer paperwork clears and his visa is secured.
“Taylor is a player with a wealth of experience in the English Premier League and will be a good fit in our club,” said Timbers general manager and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson in a club release. “This addition addresses a positional need at a critical stage of the season.”
His signing comes just over a week after Nat Borchers ruptured his Achilles tendon in a 2-1 home loss to the LA Galaxy, ending his season. Center back Liam Ridgewell was sidelined with a calf strain in that match, an injury that forced him to miss the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, and his absence in that match left him suspended for Sunday's 1-0 away loss to Sporting Kansas City.
The defeat dropped the defending MLS Cup champs to seventh in the Western Conference, one spot below the red line.
"Steven Taylor gives us a proven piece that can step into our backline and perform immediately,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “His experience and leadership will be very important to our team down the stretch."
Taylor's long career at Newcastle included the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup title and a first-place finish in the 2009-10 Football League Championship, which returned the club to the Premiership a year after their relegation. He also had six starts and eight total appearances in the UEFA Europa League in 2012-13.