Targeted Allocation Money gives teams greater flexibility in compensating their highest-paid players, and by that method Portland has signed centerback and captain Liam Ridgewell to a contract extension.
By using TAM, the Timbers can lower Ridgewell’s salary-budget charge to a figure less than the Designated Player threshold, which is $457,500 this season. This use of TAM takes effect for the 2017 season. His guaranteed compensation for the current season is $1.25 million, so presumably the Timbers will use most if not all of the $800,000 each MLS team has been provided for the 2017 season.
For 2016, Ridgewell is one of three DPs on the Portland roster. The others are playmaker Diego Valeri and winger Lucas Melano. Last year the Timbers used TAM to buy down Fanendo Adi’s contract so they could sign Melano.
The Premier League veteran has turned out to be one of the shrewder signings in recent seasons. Ridgewell, 31, has started each of his 63 appearances since joining Portland midway through the 2014 season. In those games the Timbers have posted 20 shutouts. They tied for the league lead last year with 13 shutouts and ranked third in fewest goals allowed (39).
This season he has started in all 16 of his appearances and scored the only goal of a 1-0 Portland victory over San Jose in June. He’s missed some games with a calf injury, including the All-Star Game. MLS suspended him for a league game a few days later against Sporting Kansas City; under league rules, a player who misses the All-Star Game because of an injury must also sit out the next league match.
The Timbers are not sitting out the FIFA international break. They play a crucial Western Conference match at FC Dallas on Saturday.