With four days to go to their Concacaf Champions League opener, and two weeks to the start of the MLS season, the Portland Wood have finally added their depth to the left rear, as well as to the left wing.
The Timbers today announced two signings to complete their roster for the start of 2021: defender Ismalia “Ish” Jome and midfielder Jorge Gonzalez. The two were signed on one-year agreements with a club option for an additional year.
Jome, originally from The Gambia, has been involved in professional American football for the past five years. A predominantly left-back who has also played on the left wing in the past, he recently played for Austin Bold FC in the USL Championship. Prior to that, he had stints with Nashville SC when they were in the USL and Colorado Switchbacks. The 26-year-old also has MLS experience as he was part of Minnesota unitedThe NASL team in 2016, then their first MLS roster in 2017. He also has some experience with the Timbers, having made five appearances for the Timbers U-23 in 2015 in the PDL.
Jome will need depth at the left rear position behind new acquisition Claudio Bravo. He had been one of the mysterious trialists who had trained with the Timbers during the preseason, and his signing should come as no surprise to the Internet detectives who deduced he was with the team last month.
What might be a bit of a surprise is the signing of Jorge Gonzalez. Prior to any left striker, the 22-year-old will be loaned to Louisville City FC for the 2021 USL Championship season.
The Spanish native was the most recent of Timbers 2, and had some tears with the USL squad. In just ten appearances in the abridged 2020 season, Gonzalez has tallied eight goals and one assist. In what ended up being a difficult year for the Portland development team, Gonzalez was one of the best players, and his first team contract can be seen as a reward for his year.
Gonzalez, originally written by LAFC in the 2020 Superdraft, signed his first professional contract with Timbers 2 after not receiving a contract offer from the Southern California MLS side. Prior to that, he spent three college seasons with SIU Edwardsville. At just 22 years old, he bills himself as a project to keep an eye on the future of the Timbers, especially if he continues his strong production while he’s on loan.
Jome, on the other hand, will be summoned to be an immediate actor for the Timbers, especially as they embark on their CCL journey with MLS play just around the corner. Balancing competitiveness in multiple competitions requires having a good bench, and the Timbers are hoping that with these two signings, and Jome in particular, they have it.