Timbers trade for midfield help

Portland deals Hall to Dallas for Alexander

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



PORTLAND — The way General Manager Gavin Wilkinson sees it, the Timbers improved the competition in their midfield and strengthened their ability to build a winner in years to come by acquiring midfielder Eric Alexander in a trade with F.C. Dallas.

In Friday’s swap, the Timbers sent defender/midfielder Jeremy Hall to Dallas.

The deal gives Portland a less expensive player to push for playing time in the midfield, while Dallas gets needed depth on defense as it pushes toward the playoffs.

Listed at 6 feet tall and 165 pounds, Alexander was named by both Gatorade and high school soccer coaches as the national boys soccer player of the year for 2005-06 at Portage (Mich.) Central High School. He played college soccer at Indiana University, and was the 44th overall selection in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.

Over the last two seasons, the 23-year-old Alexander played in 39 matches — including last season’s MLS Cup final.

Wilkinson described Alexander as a box-to-box midfielder and a good distributor of the ball who will add competition for playing time at the critical central midfield positions.

“He’s a quality player,” Wilkinson said. “He is another quality piece who could be with the organization for many years going forward.”

Salaries were a consideration in the trade, Wilkinson said.

MLS teams do not release financial details of transactions. According to 2011 salary information released in may by the MLS Players Association, Alexander will earn $46,750 this season. Hall, 22, has a base salary of $80,000 and is guaranteed $129,000 for 2011.

“Jeremy Hall is a good player and a tremendous, tremendous person,” Wilkinson said. But, the GM said, Hall’s salary is expensive for a player in a reserve role.

After playing a primary role at right back early in the season, Hall had seen little playing time after Portland acquired Lovel Palmer and Mike Chabala in a July trade with Houston. He had 17 starts and three assists this season.