Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson has already earned himself a reputation as one of the more accessible owners in Major League Soccer. Since joining the league last year, he has gained a reputation for sharing a level of insight into the team that's rare for American sports owners. His latest salvo was news that the Timbers were close to signing a 19-year-old who would be a Designated Player.
Considering the Timbers' history with Colombian players, speculation began that the player was likely from there. Soon enough, another tweet came out from Colombian club Santa Fe FC that strongly indicated that player was Jose Adolfo Valencia, the son of former MLS player Adolfo "El Tren" Valencia player. The rough translation of this Tweet is that Valencia is leaving Santa Fe to join the Timbers:
Signing Valencia would certainly be an interesting and bold move on the part of the Timbers. He would be the first player signed under MLS's reworked DP rule, which means he would count just $150,000 against the salary cap without having to pay it down with allocation money. FC Dallas' Fabian Castillo also falls under this rule, but he was signed before the rule was actually put into place.
Similar to Castillo, Valencia's probably best known for his play on Colombia's youth national teams more than anything he's done at the club level. Valencia has played for Santa Fe, a first-division team in Colombia, but just how much he has played differs wildly depending on where you look. He did make five appearances in last year's U-20 World Cup, scoring one goal.
Assuming he is the player the Timbers are signing, he could very well be brought along slowly. The 6-foot-1 forward could eventually make for a decent pairing with fellow Colombian Jorge Perlaza, who scored six goals in 31 games during his first MLS season in 2011.
For more on the Timbers' offseason moves, be sure to check out Timbers blog Stumptown Footy.