Kris Boyd's tumultuous season appears to have gone from bad to just about disastrous. The Portland Timbers Designated Player is likely out for the season after suffering a groin injury in Wednesday's tie with the San Jose Earthquakes. Even more, there's rampant speculation that he may have played his final game for the Timbers.
Even if Boyd were to come back to Portland, this injury likely spells the end of what has been a roller-coaster season for the leading scorer in Scottish Premier League history. Boyd was easily the highest-profile signing in the Timbers' relatively young MLS history, being paid about $1.5 million, according to MLS Players' Union numbers.
The idea was that Boyd would provide what the Timbers had hoped Kenny Cooper didn't the year before: a reliable scoring threat. Presumably, the signing was made at the behest of former Timbers head coach John Spencer, who was looking for a big man to build an offense around.
Boyd got off to a strong enough start, scoring in his debut and pumping in three goals over his first six games. But Boyd's effectiveness quickly began to wane and the fact that he didn't really do much else other than score became a bigger and bigger issue.
By the time Spencer was fired following a 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on July 7, Boyd had just five goals through 17 games. Although he scored a pair of goals in the first game with Gavin Wilkinson at the helm, it eventually became clear that he was not in the team's longterm plans.
Ironically, Boyd's injury came in his first start since Aug. 15. Over that stretch of five games, he had played just 25 minutes. He's also failed to score in any of the Timbers' past 11 games.
Considering Bright Dike had apparently taken over Boyd's starting spot and Caleb Porter set to take over as head coach next year, the assumption seems to be that the Timbers will be looking to rid themselves of Boyd. Of course, that's easier said than done.
The Timbers reportedly signed Boyd to a two-year contract, which is almost certainly guaranteed. For them to rid themselves of Boyd, they'd either have to trade him within MLS or find an international team willing to take him. Either way, someone is going to have to be willing to take on Boyd's hefty salary, as he has no incentive to just walk away from it.
One potential landing spot could conceivably be the Houston Dynamo, who were trying to sign Boyd before the Timbers got the deal done. They have open DP slots and could be looking for Brian Ching's replacement. If the Timbers were willing to pay a big chunk of his salary, that seems like something that could at least work conceptually.
It's also at least possible that a team like Rangers could welcome back Boyd. He played for the Glasgow giants 2006-10 before trying his luck in England.
The other possibility is that he actually returns to the Timbers. This might not be the craziest thing. If the Timbers can't find someone to take Boyd off their hands and pay his salary, it might make sense to keep him around and see if they can't actually get some value out of him. Boyd won't turn 30 until the middle of the next season and has shown flashes of being a very useful player.
For more on what may become of Boyd, be sure to check out Timbers blog Stumptown Footy.