The Portland Timbers are hoping to make a big splash in their sophomore season in Major League Soccer. Today, they may have made the biggest splash of their young MLS existence as they announced the signing of Scottish forward Kris Boyd as a Designated Player. Boyd is the Scottish Premier League's all-time leading scorer with 164 goals.
"Kris is a proven goal-scorer at the highest levels of the game, and we expect that to continue here in Portland," Timbers head coach John Spencer said in a team release. "We've been looking for this type of traditional No. 9 player and are very pleased we found him."
The 28-year-old striker is the most prolific strikers in Scottish football, scoring 164 goals in 296 appearances in the Scottish Premier League with clubs Kilmarnock FC (2000-05) and Rangers FC (2006-10). He netted 101 goals during his time with Rangers, and is a four-time winner of the SPL's goal-scoring title. Boyd has been capped 18 times by the Scotland National Team.
Boyd spent a brief spell in England during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He joined Middlesbrough for the 2010-11 season and scored six goals in 29 total appearances. Then, he was with Nottingham Forrest on loan, adding six goals in 10 matches to help the side to the Championship's promotion playoff.
Prior to joining the Timbers, Boyd played briefly with Eskişehirspor of the Turkish Süper Lig during the 2011-12 season. He reportedly had his contract there voided, though, when he failed to ever receive payment. That is what freed him up and had him looking at MLS.
Boyd will come in to take over for the departed Kenny Cooper who was traded during the MLS SuperDraft to the New York Red Bulls. Seeing how Boyd has scored plenty of goals wherever he has gone, this is a huge upgrade in the Timbers' attack.
Boyd is the Timbers' third Designated Player behind Diego Chara and Jose Adolfo Valencia, although it may not be that way by the time the season starts. Valencia has missed the last five days of training while the Timbers are looking into some potential "red flags" regarding his health.
The Houston Dynamo had been trying to sign Boyd earlier in the winter but were unable to agree to terms. Portland will send a first-round draft pick in the 2013 SuperDraft to the Dynamo in return for being able to sign Boyd. The Dynamo had a discovery claim on the Scottish striker.
For more on this signing and other Timber's news, be sure to check out Stumptown Footy.