Timbers introduce striker Kris Boyd

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



PORTLAND — The introductory press conference was brief. It lasted exactly seven minutes.

But the message was clear: Kris Boyd and the Portland Timbers believe their collaboration can be long and productive.

Portland’s Major League Soccer team on Tuesday introduced its newest Designated Player to local media and invited fans during a press event at Jeld-Wen Field.

A striker, Boyd is the all-time goals leader in the Scottish Premier League. He will be paid more than $1 million a year to do the same for the Timbers.

Boyd, 28, arrived in Portland from Scotland on Monday and trained for the first time with the Timbers following Tuesday’s press conference. He will wear the No 9 jersey traditionally linked with the best target strikers.

Bright Dike, who wore that jersey last season, will switch to No. 19.

“I don’t think we could have signed anybody better, in all of British football, that can play as a No. 9 (forward),” Timbers coach John Spencer said. “His goal-scoring record shows that he’s a world class finisher, and I hope that we can create the chances for him so he can continue his success here in Portland.”

Boyd has scored 176 goals in 335 games in top leagues in Scotland, England and Turkey. In 10 seasons in the Scottish Premier League, Boyd scored 164 goals.

“You just need to have confidence in your ability and get in the box to finish,” Boyd said, describing his path to success. “Yea, there’s going to be chances that you miss, but you keep going back and back and back because you know that eventually one will go in. The most important thing is to keep getting yourself in position to take your chances.”

The chance to sign Boyd was too good to miss, Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said.

Boyd played briefly in Turkey’s top league during the 2011-12 season before deciding to explore alternatives. He visited the Houston, but decided that the Dynamo wasn’t the best fit. After returning to Scotland, he learned of Portland’s interest and quickly came to an agreement with the Timbers.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Boyd said, explaining that the previous six months were frustrating because he wasn’t playing much. He left his Turkish club, Eskisehirspor, in December, reportedly because of missed paychecks.

Boyd is one of two Designated Players on the Timbers roster, joining midfielder Diego Chara. In 2012, MLS rules allow each team to have up to three Designated Players who can be paid more than the $350,000 they count against the $2.81 million MLS salary cap.

Details of the contract have not been released, but Paulson confirmed that Boyd has a multi-year contract that will pay him “seven figures” annually.

After the 2011 MLS season, Paulson said that he, Spencer and general manager Gavin Wilkinson agreed that adding a traditional target player capable of holding possession and of finishing from inside the 18-yard box was a high priority.

“We have the benefit now of knowing who we are, knowing what we need,” Paulson said, explaining the advantage of being in season two of MLS.

Spencer said Boyd’s ability to hold possession, and to find scoring opportunities, should make the Timbers more productive.

“Last year we played some games where we created a tremendous amount of chances,” the coach said. “We never really had that No. 9 that could put the ball in the back of the net.”

Timbers Next Game

Preseason: San Jose at Portland, 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb., 27 at Jeld-Wen Field.

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