Timbers sign Colombian defender

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



The Portland Timbers’ Colombian connection continues.

The signing of 25-year-old defender Hanyer Mosquera, announced on Tuesday, means Portland enters its second Major League Soccer season with four Colombians.

Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson described the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Mosquera as a “very physical” and athletic defender.

His addition adds needed depth to the middle of the back line. Eric Brunner and Mamadou “Futty” Danso are the only healthy returning central defenders as the Timbers prepare to begin training camp on Monday.

In addition to announcing the signing of Mosquera, the Timbers on Tuesday made four selections in the MLS Supplemental Draft, which is the conclusion of the draft process started with last week’s SuperDraft.

The Timbers had the eighth pick in each round. Their picks were Ryan Kawulok, a defender from the University of Portland, Cal Irvine midfielder Miguel Ibarra, St. Mary’s goalkeeper Doug Herrick and Loyola Marymount forward-midfielder Logan McDaniel.

In last week’s SuperDraft, the Timbers selected Connecticut defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Notre Dame midfielder Brendan King.

Of the six draft picks, only Jean-Baptiste has a MLS contract. The other draft picks will be competing for a spot on the Timbers roster.

Mosquera is the second young Colombian signed this offseason by the Timbers. They also added 20-year-old forward Jose Adolfo Valencia. Forward Jorge Perlaza and midfielder Diego Chara played significant roles for the Timbers last season.

Wilkinson said the decision to add two more Colombians was in part a result of the success Perlaza and Chara had last season — both on and off the field — adjusting to Portland and Major League Soccer.

Another reason the Timbers have mined Colombia for talent is that Colombians are affordable, Wilkinson said.

Signing Mosquera fits the Timbers philosophy of building a roster with young payers who show promise, Wilkinson said.

Though he just turned 25, Mosquera has six professional seasons under his belt. He started his professional career in 2006 with Colombian second-division club Corporacion Deportiva Centauros Villavicencio. He played the last four seasons in Colombia’s top league with Corporacion Deportes Quindio (2008-10) and La Equidad (2010-11). Mosquera appeared in 127 matches and scored six goals during his career in the Liga Postobon.

The Timbers began scouting Mosquera 18 months ago. Wilkinson said it took about two months of negotiating to finalize the deal.

Wilkinson said the team could sign more players before the start of the season.

“We still want to build upon our roster,” he said.

Wilkinson said the Timbers focused on positional needs during Tuesday’s four-round supplemental draft — which are rounds 3-6 of the MLS college draft.

Kawulok, 22, was a four-year starter on defense for the Pilots and played in 34 matches for the Timbers under-23 team over the past two summers. Wilkinson said the Timbers like his ability to play anywhere along the backline and his work ethic.

Ibarra and McDaniel give the Timbers added competition for midfield roster spots.

Ibarra, 21, had nine goals and eight assists in 23 games for Irvine in 2011, when he was a NSCAA first-team All-American and shared Big West Conference offensive player of the year honors.

McDaniel, 21, played in 75 matches (61 starts) during his career at LMU and accumulated six goals and 18 assists.

Herrick, 22, was the Timbers third-round pick on Tuesday. He had 10 shutouts last season and helped St. Mary’s win the WCC title and advance to the national quarterfinals. The Timbers have two goalkeepers on their roster, veteran Troy Perkins and second-year player Jake Gleeson. The team released veteran Adin Brown at the end of last season.

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