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Struggling Timbers revamp their frontline
by Ridge Mahoney, May 13th, 2014 5:29PM

TAGS:  mls, portland timbers


[MLS TRANSACTIONS] The search for answers in Portland continues. On Tuesday, the struggling team, last in the Western Conference, announced it had released striker Frederic Piquionne and signed Nigerian forward Fanendo Adi on loan from FC Copenhagen. Adi will occupy an international slot on the Timbers’ roster. Terms of his deal were not disclosed.

Adi, 23, has played in domestic and international competition for Copenhagen, which signed him in 2011. During this past season he scored three goals in nine league matches for the club, and also played three group matches in the Champions League against Juventus, Real Madrid and Galatasaray.

At 6-foot-4, he can provide a target presence up front the Timbers have lacked since the offseason departure of Ryan Johnson, who eventually signed to play in the Chinese league. Johnson tied for second on the team last season with nine goals. The Timbers are last in the Western Conference with a 1-3-6 record.

“Adi gives us another striker piece to further strengthen our roster,” said Timbers coach Caleb Porter in a press release announcing the deal. “His air play and ability to hold the ball as more of a target option will complement the qualities of our other players while providing a different dimension to our attack.”

General manager Gavin Wilkinson has been scouting players for several weeks in an obvious attempt to upgrade the roster before the closing of the domestic transfer window. Monday was the last day to conclude transfers for players under contract yet Wilkinson said there will be moves as well during the summer window, which opens July 8.

“We’ve got quite a sizable sum to spend that’s being allowed to us to use to develop this group,” Wilkinson told upon his return from a two-week trip to Norway, Spain and Denmark. “The system that we play in, which the 4-2-3-1 or a modified 4-3-3, we need someone up top who can occupy defenders and with occupying defenders also stretch the field.”

Of Adi, Wilkinson says, “Fanendo is a young and ambitious player with UEFA Champions League experience and we feel that his acquisition on short-term loan, with the option to purchase, provides a great opportunity for both the player and our club. This loan allows us to add a quality player into the mix as we are always looking to develop our roster now and in the future.”

Adi, a native of Lagos, played for Slovakian second division club AS Trenín and Ukrainian club Metalurg Donetsk in 2011. He scored 11 goals during the 2010-11 season for AS Trenín as it gained promotion to the first division before finishing the year with Metalurg. He rejoined AS Trenín early in 2013 and has played in domestic and Europa League matches when not with Copenhagen.

Piquionne, 35, leaves the Timbers after signing with the team 15 months ago. He managed just three substitute appearances this year after registering one goal and five assists in 21 games last season.

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