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Portland Timbers add Designated Player, Premier League defender Liam Ridgewell

Jun 25, 2014, 3:24 PM EDT

Claudio Yacob and West Brom will be happy to hold the Premier League leaders to a point at home. Getty Images

The Portland Timbers have dipped into the free-agency market and plucked out an experienced Premier League defender in Liam Ridgewell.

On Wednesday the Major League Soccer side signed Ridgewell, who played 33 times for West Bromwich Albion in the PL during the 2013-14 season, to a deal at Providence Park.

Ridgewell, 29, has twelve-years of experience playing in England’s top-flight with Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Brom.

He joins Portland after recently attending a match in the Rose City and being impressed with everything that he saw.

Speaking to the Timbers official website, general manager Gavin Wilkinson had the following to say about adding Ridgewell as Portland’s third DP.

“Liam is a proven defender at the highest level and brings strong leadership qualities along with a wealth of experience,” Wilkinson, said. “After attending a recent match at Providence Park, Liam was incredibly taken by the fans and atmosphere generated here in Portland and, despite receiving several attractive offers to stay in the Premiership, chose the Timbers due to his belief in the vision and football philosophy of the organization.”

Head coach of the Timbers, Caleb Porter, added that Ridgewell’s acquisition was something the Timbers had been working towards for a while and that “it was no secret we were looking to strengthen our squad with a top-level defender.” It seems like the Timbers are gearing up for a big second half of the season after they made the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup by beating Sporting KC on Tuesday and they aim to keep improving their league form. After their slow start to the MLS regular season, Portland sit in sixth in the West after winning just four of their first 16 games. They’ve only lost four times, but turning draws into wins has been their big issue. Better defending, with Ridgewell on hand to help out, can only improve their stats in the win column.

Ridgewell is a typical no-nonsense central defender who can also operate at left back and the former England U-21 international is only 29. He will strengthen Portland’s defense with his vast knowledge and experience of playing in one of the globe’s toughest league’s for over a decade. Ridgewell status as a hard-nosed defender, who can also pop up with vital goals, should seem him compliment the likes of Pa Modou Kah in Portland’s defense perfectly.

Whatever happens, a third DP has landed in Portland.

  1. acorp11 - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Love seeing Cascadia rivals waste a DP spot. Ridgewell will be a fantastic addition to the league, top-5 CB no doubt. But no defender is worth DP money.

    • dreadpirate82 - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      That top defense didn’t help Sporting KC win MLS Cup last year. Not at all. They’re gonna have to open up their wallets and pay Besler DP money if they want to keep him.

      I liked Ridgewell at West Brom. If he’s making Dempsey/Defoe money, it would be a bad signing, but I would assume his DP money is much lower. Hard to judge the money involved without knowing what it is. He should significantly help their back line, though.

    • pecorasc - Jun 25, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      Why? Because that contract takes up too much of the salary cap???? The timbers may be the deepest team in the league at offensive positions…. Why does this not make perfect sense?

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