This week, the Portland Timbers signed center-forwards Felipe Mora and Jaroslaw Niezgoda. The stable of strikers assembled will greatly aid their MLS Cup intentions.
It was a busy January for the Portland Timbers. The 2015 MLS Cup champions have been working on getting back to the top by signing a pair of forwards, re-signing their crucial playmaker to a TAM deal, and bolstering the team with two open Designated Player slots that have now been filled.
Entering the offseason, the Timbers only had one forward listed on their roster, Jeremy Ebobisse. There was always going to be a striker signed at some point but the acquisition of Niezgoda and Mora have exceeded expectations.
Mora joins the Timbers with plenty of experience playing in Liga MX. He has played for both Cruz Azul and Pumas, scoring 14 goals in 40 appearances for the former and 19 goals in 65 appearances for the latter. It is a not an outrageous strike-rate, but it is not to be scoffed at.
Before arriving in Mexico, Mora had domestic success in his home nation of Chile. He won the 2017 Primera Division Clausura with CD Universidad de Chile. His most impressive goal-scoring record came during his time with the Chilean club as he scored 19 goals in 28 appearances.
Internationally, he has been selected by Chile to play in recent friendlies. He played against Mexico during the March 2019 international break and was on the bench when the South American nation faced the United States.
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Although his statistics may not be as eye-catching as Niezgoda’s league-leading goals in Poland, he is still a quality striker who is a perfect signing for depth. Mora’s arrival alleviates pressure on Ebobisse and Niezgoda to be the main source of goals.
He can come off the bench when needed and may even be in the starting XI if he can find good form on a consistent basis or provide a tactical advantage. And as we have seen with plenty of the elite MLS teams, having a stable of goalscorers and attackers is vital for sustaining a deep playoff run.
Consequently, it is shaping up to be a big year for the Portland Timbers offensively. They could very well put together an offense that rivals the very best in MLS. And players like Mora are a crucial aspect of that, even if they do not play a starting role when everyone is fit and firing.
The Portland Timbers now have a stable of strikers. And with Diego Valeri, Yimmi Chara and Sebastian Blanco feeding them, they might just enjoy their time at Providence Park.