[MLS] The expansion Portland Timbers signed their first four players for the 2011 season, retaining Bright Dike, Steve Cronin and Ryan Pore from their D-2 Pro League team and picking up Englishman Eddie Johnson from the Austin Aztez, their D-2 rival. Pore, Johnson and Dike combined for 41 goals in 2010, while Cronin, still only 27, has experience starting in goal in MLS.
“Each one of these individuals has earned the right to join the Timbers in Major League Soccer and possesses qualities we are looking for from players in building the 2011 MLS team,” Technical Director Gavin Wilkinson said. “We are very excited to continue to build a competitive MLS squad in the coming weeks and months and believe these players represent a solid foundation.”
Cronin, 27, played the last two seasons for the Timbers after starting for the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS in 2008.
Pore played 58 games for the Kansas City Wizards before joining the Timbers in 2009. He won the 2010 D-2 Pro League Golden Boot award with a league-best 15 goals.
Dike had 10 goals in his first season out of Notre Dame. He was the only first-round pick in the 2010 SuperDraft not to sign with an MLS team.
Johnson, 25, started his professional career with Manchester United at the age of 17, and played for five clubs in Belgium and England before heading to Austin for its debut campaign in 2009. He was a USL First Division All-League selection in 2009 and ranked second behind Pore in goals (14) in 2010.