While the Portland Timbers made some defensive rotations Wednesday against Minnesota United at TCF Bank Stadium, their loaded attacking core stayed intact.
But how Portland has employed Major League Soccer’s designated player (DP) rule, which allows teams to sign up to three players whose salaries exceed the maximum budget charge, might still be a ways in the future for United.
Portland has three current DPs: forward Fanendo Adi, midfielder/forward Sebastian Blanco and midfielder Diego Valeri. But there are several former DPs on the roster, such as the team’s first DP ever, Diego Chara, forward Lucas Melano and defender Liam Ridgewell. Teams can use target allocation money to buy down the salaries of players that would be DPs, thus freeing up space to acquire more.
“That’s what you can do when you do over a period of time, you make them DPs and then they come down, you buy them down with time,” United coach Adrian Heath said, adding United already is spending $150 million on its St. Paul stadium. “We’ve got a lot of things still to do, but I think the most important thing is that people realize the sort of situation that we’re in.”
Danladi’s red card
Rookie forward Abu Danladi earned a red card with about 20 minutes to play Wednesday night. He collided with Portland’s Blanco, and the two kicked at each other while on the ground, which was enough for the referee to send them both off the pitch. Danladi will be suspended for United’s Saturday match at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Heath said he is hopeful midfielder Johan Venegas, who missed the past two matches because of sciatic pain, can come in for Danladi this weekend.
“He feels a lot better today,” Heath said after the victory. “Obviously, we’re down to bare bones at this moment in time. ”
United announced a multiyear deal with Bloomington-based Toro as its official partner for turf equipment and irrigation in maintaining the pitch and surrounding green area at the Loons’ new stadium, set to open for the 2019 season.
“It just made sense to partner with Toro,” United President Nick Rogers said per a news release. “As a Minnesota-based company, and a worldwide leader in caring for sports fields, Toro will understand the unique demands our climate places on our future pitch.”