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Expansion Draft Wish List: Portland Timbers

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The falling Timbers could shake things up this offseason. Could Atlanta United benefit?

MLS: SuperDraft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Chicago Fire

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Columbus Crew

D.C. United

FC Dallas

Houston Dynamo

LA Galaxy

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Orlando City

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The Portland Timbers rode their luck in last year’s playoffs to a storybook ending. This season the clock struck midnight and all we were left with was a boring old pumpkin. It was a bitter end to this season for the Timbers as they failed to make the playoffs on Decision Day. Not only did they lose on the final day, but did so in catastrophic fashion ensuring that their repeat dreams would die.

For a roster with such talent, they are a very confusing club. Even in their MLS Cup-winning season they endured a very mediocre regular season up until the end. They are quite hard to figure out, but one thing is for sure, they have a lot of players who can help out other teams. Here’s a look at who we see them protecting in December’s Expansion Draft:

Projected Protected List

  1. Fanendo Adi
  2. Vytas
  3. Diego Chara
  4. Jake Gleeson
  5. Darren Mattocks
  6. Lucas Melano
  7. Darlington Nagbe
  8. Alvas Powell
  9. Liam Ridgewell
  10. Steven Taylor
  11. Diego Valeri

Exempt List

  1. N/A

Available Players

  1. Gbenga Arokoyo
  2. Dairon Asprilla
  3. Jack Barmby
  4. Nick Besler
  5. Nat Borchers
  6. Neco Brett
  7. Ned Grabavoy
  8. Wade Hamilton
  9. Jack Jewsbury
  10. Chris Klute
  11. Chris Konopka
  12. Jack McInerney
  13. Amobi Okugo
  14. Taylor Peay
  15. Ben Polk
  16. Jermaine Taylor
  17. Andy Thoma
  18. Zarek Valentin
  19. Ben Zemanski

Targets for Atlanta United: Jack McInerney, Jermaine Taylor, Amobi Okugo

Jason: I think Jack McInerney has been one of the most talked about potential targets in the Expansion Draft since Atlanta United was announced. The local product from Cobb FC has scored 43 goals in his MLS career so far. It’s hard to believe he’s still only 24-years-old. He has done well as a super-sub in his MLS career so far, but it’s time he gets consistent playing time somewhere. With Kenwyne Jones already in place, would that be Atlanta?

Jermaine Taylor is a solid defender in this league at 31-years-old. He has 200+ games at the professional level, both in his native Jamaica and in MLS, along with 84 caps. His experience could be useful for an expansion team.

Two others to consider, either in the Expansion Draft or via other means, are Amobi Okugo and Chris Klute. Okugo is one of the great mysteries right now, he should have broken through as a key player by now but it just hasn’t happened for him. Klute had his best days in MLS in Colorado and hasn’t found his form since Oscar Pareja left for Dallas. Could Tata Martino get the best out of these guys?

Rob: I’m all-in on JackMac. Give him to us now. The guy has gone years without getting consistent minutes but still has a very respectable strike rate in his career. At just 24, he’s just now entering the prime of his career. He’s a proven goal scorer. I’m not sure how you can pass on someone like him. Having Kenwyne Jones as your No. 1 striker is great, but he’s already shown that he’s susceptible to injury. There will be a need for a proven back-up striker and JackMac seems the perfect fit.

Jermaine Taylor seems like a decent option across the back line. If other options fall through, he could be someone to consider with one of the final picks. I wouldn’t be against it.

Full Disclosure: I’m an Amobi Okugo fanboy. I don’t care how Atlanta United acquires him, but they need to take the chance and do so. It hasn’t been the best of years for the former U.S. youth international, but the talent is there as is the versatility. If he can figure it out, you have a great addition in the midfield or at center-back. If he doesn’t, then he’s just another depth player. Either way, it’s totally worth the risk.

P.S. once Atlanta signs him, he and I are starting a podcast to talk about TV shows. Don’t let me down, Darren!