Timbers add Scottish league’s top scorer

Boyd has scored 176 goals in 335 career pro matches

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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If coach John Spencer’s reaction to the news that Kris Boyd will join his Portland Timbers is any indication, the Major League Soccer team added some major sizzle on Monday.

Boyd, 28, is the top all-time scorer in the Scottish Premier League. After a furious few days of negotiations, Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson announced at mid-day Monday that the team had acquired Boyd.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound striker is the third Designated Player signed by the Timbers. His 176 goals in 335 professional matches indicate Boyd might be the reliable forward the Timbers have been seeking.

“Kris is a proven goal-scorer at the highest levels of the game, and we expect that to continue here in Portland,” Spencer said. “We’ve been looking for this type of traditional No. 9 player, and are very pleased we found him.”

Nine is the number traditionally worn by strong central forwards.

The Timbers have been seeking a forward who can both finish scoring chances, and hold possession of the ball to allow teammates to join the attack.

Spencer, a high-scoring forward from Scotland in his playing days, apparently had a spirited reaction to the news. Wilkinson, whose office is about 50 yards from Spencer’s, said that when he called Spencer with the news he could hear the coach’s shout echo through the building.

Details of Boyd’s contract were not released, which is MLS policy. To sign Boyd, the Timbers needed to send compensation to the Houston Dynamo, which held the first MLS rights to negotiate with Boyd.

According to Wilkinson, the Timbers learned about five days ago that Boyd did not want to sign with Houston but was interested in playing in MLS.

The Timbers jumped at the chance to give Boyd a home.

“There are certain players in the world that you know an awful lot about already,” Wilkinson said, crediting owner Merritt Paulson for making the investment in a high-end player.

“I’ve said from the beginning that we are committed to winning and will make a significant investment on the player front if it is the right fit for the organization,” Paulson said. “Kris perfectly fits the profile of the team’s needs and will make a huge impact.”

The signing won’t be official until Boyd’s work visa is acquired and a physical examination completed. Boyd is expected to join the Timbers during the team’s Feb. 5-16 training camp in Los Angeles.

Wilkinson declined to specify what the Timbers sent to Houston for the rights to Boyd.

The Dynamo released a statement saying they acquired from Portland a first-round pick in the 2013 draft for the rights to negotiate with Boyd.

“I’m delighted to be in Portland,” Boyd in a statement released by the Timbers.

Boyd scored 164 goals in 296 appearances in the Scottish Premier League playing for Kilmarnock FC (2000-05) and Rangers FC (2006-10). He scored 101 goals for Rangers, and is a four-time winner of the SPL’s goal-scoring title.

Boyd played in England in 2010-11. He scored six goals in 29 appearances for Middlesbrough. He spent part of that season with Nottingham Forrest on loan, scoring six goals in 10 matches. Boyd played briefly with Eskisehirspor of the Turkish Süper Lig during its 2011-12 season.

Boyd has made 18 appearances with Scotland’s national team.

Portland currently has seven players listed as forwards on the roster. Earlier this month, the team traded away last season’s top scorer, Kenny Cooper. Eddie Johnson and Bright Dike, both coming off 2011 injuries, are expected to compete for playing time alongside Jorge Perlaza.

Boyd is the third Designated Player signed by the Timbers. MLS allows teams to carry three DPs, who are paid more than the amount they count against the salary cap.

“It’s a good feeling,” Wilkinson said. “We’ve been able to recruit and land a top-class player.”

Midfielder Diego Chara and forward Jose Adolfo Valencia are the other DPs on the roster. Valencia, a 20-year-old Colombian signed in the offseason, has not yet trained with the Timbers. Wilkinson said that the Timbers have put Valencia through a week of testing since the forward arrived in Portland. The general manager declined to discuss specifics, but did say he expects resolution this week about Valencia’s status.

The Timbers have 26 players signed for 2012.

Paulson told Extra Time Radio on Monday that he expects to announce soon at least one more signing in addition to any trialists the team might choose to sign.