Palmer happy with trade to Timbers

Defender reunites with his former coach Spencer

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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PORTLAND — Lovel Palmer played all 90 minutes of 16 matches for the Houston Dynamo this season.

So the 26-year-old was surprised when he was traded to Portland along with Mike Chabala.

But he wasn’t disappointed.

“I was happy because I was going to reunite with Coach John Spencer, who’s been an awesome coach,” Palmer said following Friday’s practice at Jeld-Wen Field. “He’s the one who brought me to the league, so for that reason I’m really happy to be here. And I’m happy to join such a young team and such a talented team.”

The Jamaican figures to make his home-field debut with the Timbers when they host Toronto FC at 8 p.m. Saturday. He played the whole game at right back in last Saturday’s loss at Columbus just two days after he and Chabala were traded to Portland.

Palmer and Chabala give the Timbers depth at the wide defensive spots that will mean competition for playing time.

In this his second MLS season, Palmer played a defensive midfield role as a 16-game starter for Houston. But he has played right back with the Jamaican national team, a position that has been among the most unsettled for the Timbers this season.

“Probably his best position is at right back,” said Spencer, who was an assistant coach with Houston prior to taking the head coaching job with Portland.

“I kind of fancy myself as an all-around player,” Palmer said. “As a professional, you want to be on the pitch and whenever you get a chance to play you just embrace it.”

He feels the same about his midseason move to a new city.

“It’s not very hard,” he said of the move. “... I just get my stuff, I move to Portland and I start playing soccer again.”

All-Star experience — Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury said playing in Wednesday’s All-Star Game against Manchester United was a thrill.

“The game itself. The theatrics before hand, and actually stepping on the field. It all was great,” said Jewsbury, an all-star for the first time in nine MLS seasons. “It was a long time coming, and an exciting moment for me.”