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Timbers re-sign Aljaz Ivacic; sign veteran David Bingham

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The Portland Timbers announced that the club has signed goalkeepers Aljaz Ivacic and David Bingham through the 2023 season. Ivacic’s deal includes a club option for 2024. Ivacic was out of contract following the 2021 season and has been in negotiations with the Timbers. Bingham, while not on the roster, had been training with the team for the latter half of the 2021 season. He now officially joins the goalkeeper pool for the Portland Timbers.

Ivacic was originally signed by the Timbers prior to the 2019 regular season. The Slovenian keeper has made seven appearances for the Timbers, six of which were starts. He was most recently called into action in 2021 after Steve Clark suffered a thigh strain in August. Ivacic started two games during that stretch, which included a 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake and the infamous 2-6 loss to the Seattle Sounders.

Bingham is a veteran of MLS, plying his trade primarily with the San Jose Earthquakes and the LA Galaxy in seasons past. Bingham spent the first seven seasons of his ten-year MLS career with the Earthquakes from 2011-2017, his shot-stopping abilities standing out. He then moved down I-5 to join rivals LA Galaxy from 2018-2020. While without a club for the 2021 season, Bingham was brought into the Timbers camp in the summer, where he trained and integrated himself into the squad.

With the departure of starter Steve Clark, the door is now wide open for a new face to step into the role of starting goalkeeper for the Portland Timbers. Ivacic, Bingham, Jeff Attinella, and homegrown player Hunter Sulte now make up the goalkeeper pool. Attinella’s future with the Timbers is uncertain- at 33 years-old and after coming off of a major injury that ended his 2021 season prematurely, it is question mark as to whether he stays with the Timbers organization. Presuming the youngster Sulte will use the 2022 season to continue to develop, that now leaves likely one of Ivacic or Bingham as the Timbers’ next No. 1.

It is expected that Ivacic and Bingham will now compete in the preseason for the starting job. Both present as intriguing options between the sticks for the Timbers.

Ivacic has spent the most time with the Timbers organization and is the most familiar to the coaching staff and has worked the most with Timbers goalkeeping coach Memo Valencia. At just 28 years old, he is entering what should be his prime years and appears to be in a position to step into the starting role.

However, in his limited time on the field, Ivacic has shown he has more to prove. The keeper demonstrated a propensity for making some spectacular saves, but he also has made some head-scratching decisions on his line and allowed shots that some might have expected him to save. The aforementioned six-goal drubbing by Seattle comes to mind as a particularly low point for Ivacic’s Timbers tenure thus far. None of that is to say he cannot improve and develop going into 2022.

Bingham on the other hand brings veteran savvy. He has spent a considerable amount of time in the league and knows MLS well. What he lacks in time with the Timbers organization he makes up for in experience. He especially impressed during his stint with the San Jose Earthquakes, when he won the starting job in 2015 and held it for the following three seasons. While he is less known to the Timbers organization, he does bring a wealth of games in the league (181 appearances, to be exact) — something that Ivacic does not have.

Regardless of whoever shows well over the next two months, the Timbers’ plan for the era after the Steve Clark era is clear. One of Ivacic or Bingham will be stepping up in between the posts come the end of February.



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FC Dallas defender Justin Che headed to Hoffenheim – Loan-to-buy deal in place

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Return to Germany 

Six months after his loan at Bayern Munich expired, Justin Che appears to be on his way back to the Bundesliga. According to a report by the very reliable Sport 1 reporter Kerry Hau, the 18-year-old defender who has both a German and US passport is on the verge of joining Hoffenheim on an 18-month loan deal. Hoffenheim will have an option to make the deal permanent at any point during the loan. 

Bayern Munich were initially interested in a transfer, but Transfermarkt understands that interest cooled off in recent months due to Dallas’ negotiations tactics. As was the case with Ricardo Pepi, Dallas also preferred another destination. Pepi moved to Augsburg earlier this winter in a deal worth $18 million, including various performance-based incentives and a percentage of any future fee. Those sorts of incentives would have been more challenging to reach with Bayern. 

Che returns to Germany after spending the 2020/21 season in Germany. The Dallas academy product returned to Major League Soccer in June and played 15 games (three assists). Che can play both as center-back and as a right-back and will pair up with US compatriot Chris Richards at Hoffenheim. 

Pepi, Reynolds, Richards & Co.: FC Dallas record sales

Thiago Santos | To Grêmio in 2021 | Fee: $1.1m

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Chris Richards | To Bayern Munich in 2019 | Fee: $1.21m

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Juan Carlos Toja | To Steaua Bukarest in 2008 | Fee: $1.65m

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Anton Nedyalkov | To Ludogorets in 2018 | Fee: $2.2m

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Reggie Cannon | To Boavista in 2020 | Fee: 2.75m

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Fabián Castillo | To Trabzonspor in 2017 | Fee: $3m

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Loan fee and transfer fee combined.

Brek Shea | To Stoke City in 2013 | Fee: $3.3m

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Tanner Tessmann | To Venezia FC in 2021 | Fee: $4m

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Carlos Gruezo | To FC Augsburg in 2019 | Fee: $4.4m

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Bryan Reynolds | To AS Roma in 2021 | Fee: $7.43m

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Previously on loan

Ricardo Pepi | To FC Augsburg in 2022 | Fee: $18m

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Toronto FC’s GoalMachine takes home eMLS League Series One title

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It was a historic performance for the Toronto man, who just signed as the Reds’ eMLS representative in December and was making his debut appearance on the circuit. With the victory, he delivered Toronto FC’s first eMLS final appearance and championship in club history.

He got everything he could handle in the final from PauloNeto999, who had a 3-2 aggregate lead in the 88th minute of the second leg, only to see GoalMachine strike for a clutch late equalizer to force extra time.





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Lion Links: 1/16/22 – The Mane Land

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Hello, Mane Landers! This week kept The Mane Land staff team busy with breaking news, which must indicate the opening of Orlando City’s preseason camp is right around the corner. Tuesday, to be exact. Let’s head to the links!

Pato Returns to Orlando City

Orlando City announced Saturday morning the re-signing of center forward Alexandre Pato to a one-year deal. The Lions’ front office does not include financial terms when it announces transactions. However, multiple outlets reported the deal mostly consists of performance incentives. Pato was injured in the first game of last season and ultimately appeared in only four regular season matches and the Lions’ lone playoff game in Nashville. The accomplished Brazilian striker, if he can stay healthy, and Tesho Akindele are expected to provide goal-scoring depth behind whomever is acquired to succeed Daryl Dike up top. We’re going to sign more guys, right?

Moments after the club announced the return of Pato, which means “duck” in Portuguese, the Lions’ assistant general manager and technical director Ricardo Moreira tweeted perhaps the catchiest celebration of the news. LDG!

Pato shared an announcement video in which he promised “2022 will be better than the last one.”

Lions Announce 2022 Preseason Schedule

The Lions will face five MLS sides and Florida’s two USL Championship clubs in preseason action. All seven matches will be played behind closed doors. The preseason opener is Jan. 23 against an MLS club not yet named. Orlando City will also play Minnesota United, FC Dallas, and the Colorado Rapids. The Lions will battle the USL’s Miami FC, which is now led by former Orlando City B head coach Anthony Pulis. The Welshman played for Orlando City from 2012-2014 when it competed in USL Pro. The Lions and the Tampa Bay Rowdies square off on Feb. 19 to close out the schedule. Even though it’s a preseason match and the two teams compete in different tiers, is it still considered an I-4 derby? I think so.

Weston McKinnie Is On Fire

Juventus and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Weston McKennie is the hottest American player in the world right now. McKennie headed in Juve’s second goal in its 2-0 triumph over Udinese yesterday, and he has now netted eight goals in 50 Serie A competitions. Yesterday’s goal followed one he scored in Juve’s Italian Supercoppa loss to Inter Milan on Wednesday. The American continues to improve on the pitch and that bodes well for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it prepares to resume Concacaf World Cup qualifiying later this month.

Reports: Che & Bassett to Europe; Arriola to Mexico City

MLSSoccer.com’s Transfer Tracker shared reports that two young MLS players will soon be loaned to European clubs for 18 months with options to buy. FC Dallas will reportedly send Homegrown defender Justin Che to the Bundesliga’s Hoffenheim and the Colorado Rapids will ship USMNT midfielder Cole Bassett to Eredivisie club Feyenoord. Club America is also expected to bring D.C. United and USMNT winger Paul Arriola back to Liga MX.

Man City Downs Chelsea, Coutinho Scores in Aston Villa Debut

A dazzling strike from Kevin De Bruyne lifted Manchester City over Chelsea yesterday to extend the Cityzens’ Premier League lead to 13 points. A close three-team battle for the Premier League crown is looking less likely.

Philippe Coutinho introduced himself to the Villa Park faithful with a game-tying goal after coming on as a substitute in Aston Villa’s come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

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Thanks for visiting, Mane Landers. Enjoy this week’s scenes from preseason camp.



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