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SOCCER/BY PAUL DANZER/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Homegrown signing, college draft only prelude to other likely additions as Portland opens camp in Tucson

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - New coach Giovanni Savarese (right) and owner Merritt Paulson soon will be watching as the Portland Timbers open a six-game MLS preseason schedule in Arizona.The Giovanni Savarese era begins for the Portland Timbers on Wednesday in Tucson, Arizona, with the beginning of training camp. The first of six preseason matches, all there, is Jan. 31 against San Jose.

The offseason work is likely not done for President of Soccer Gavin Wilkinson. The Timbers have acquired Costa Rican central defender Julio Cascante and Peruvian winger Andy Polo. Wilkinson has said he wants to add a forward and a defensive midfielder.

• Foster Langsdorf last week became the third Homegrown Player signed by the Timbers. A forward, Langsdorf set the Pac-12 scoring record at Stanford and was a key member of three consecutive NCAA championship teams for the Cardinal. A graduate of Mountain View High in Vancouver, Washington, Langsdorf played for the Timbers' youth academy and under-23 Premier Development League team.

• The Timbers drafted four players on Sunday during the third and fourth rounds of the MLS SuperDraft. Portland did not have a pick in the first two rounds.

With the 61st overall pick, the Timbers chose defender Caleb Duvernay out of North Carolina State. The other three were forwards: Oregon State's Timmy Mueller, Akron's Stuart Holthusen and Mamadou Guirassy from the New Institute of Technology.

Mueller, from Post Falls, Idaho, was the Pac-12 freshman of the year in 2014. He also played some summer matches with the Timbers under-23s.

Should they sign, these players likely would begin their pro careers with Timbers 2 in the United Soccer League.

• The Timbers 2 reboot will begin on March 16 with a road game against Sounders FC 2.

Like the Timbers, T2 will open with a string of road games because of construction work at Providence Park. The first home game for T2 will be on April 18 against Rio Grande Valley FC.

The 34-game USL schedule will include a stretch of five out of six at home in June and July and a five-game home stretch in August and early September.

With one of the youngest teams in the USL, 2017 was a strugle for the Timbers developmental professional team. Portland finished 3-23-6.

T2 in 2018 will be led by former Timbers assistant coach Cameron Knowles. Andrew Gregor, the head coach during last season, will be the assistant coach for T2, and former Timbers goalkeeper coach Adin Brown will now do that job for T2.

• Paul Christensen, the Portland Pilots goalkeeper the past four seasons, was drafted by Atlanta United with the first pick of the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft. Christensen was the West Coast Conference goalkeeper of the year in 2016 and in 2017.

• Niko De Vera, a former Timbers Academy player who also played with the club's under-23 team, was drafted by the New York Red Bulls. A Camas (Washington) High grad, De Vera helped Akron to the national semifinals this season.

With the final pick in the draft, Toronto selected defender Ben White out of Gonzaga. The Tigard native is a former Timbers Academy player. A four-year starter at Gonzaga, White had nine goals and 10 assists and received all-WCC recognition each season, including first-team honors as a sophomore.

• The Portland Thorns selected three players in the National Women's Soccer League draft. Midfielders Sandra Yu (Notre Dame) and Gabby Seiler (Florida) are versatile players. The Thorns also picked goalkeeper Bella Geist out of Oregon State. A Putnam High grad, Geist will provide depth behind Adrianna Franch and Britt Eckerstrom while training with goalkeeping coach Nadine Angerer.

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