PORTLAND, OR -- The Portland Timbers announced today that they have acquired defender Nick Downing on a season-long loan from the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Downing, 23, was the Revolution’s first pick in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft and is a member of Nike’s Project-40 Team.
“We’re thrilled to be adding a player of Nick Downing’s stature to our roster,” said Jim Taylor, Timbers general manager. “Obviously, we’ve made some significant changes at the back, but felt it was necessary in order to improve the club. Right now, we’re feeling very good about our team defensively.”
Downing had a standout career at Maryland, starting all 59 games he appeared in during his three seasons in College Park. He was a 1999 Hermann Trophy and Missouri Athletic Club award finalist while anchoring a defense that held eight opponents scoreless and gave up only 1.28 goals a game in 2000.
In 1997, he was named the Gatorade and Parade National Player of the Year and was named to Soccer America’s top-25 college recruits. The Redmond, Wash., native scored one goal in 22 appearances for the United States Under-20 National Team, including three caps in the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship. He was a four-year varsity letter-winner at Redmond’s Eastlatke High School, helping guide them to an 82-6-1 record during his four-years there, including back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1996 and 1997.
The Timbers also announced that they have released defender Keith Costigan and midfielders Ben Somoza and Erik Ozimek.
Costigan had been a mainstay with the club since it joined the A-League in 2001. In his 2001 rookie season, he played in 16 matches logging 1,287 minutes and seven assists. Last year, Costigan played in all 28 regular season matches for the Timbers, racking up four assists in 2,596 minutes. Costigan joined the club as a free agent following an open tryout.
Somoza was the Timbers’ second-round draft pick in 2002 out of the University of Washington. In his rookie season, he played in 22 matches, scoring one goal in 1,226 minutes.
Ozimek, who joined the Timbers as a free agent, was a fourth-round selection of the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft. A stress fracture in his right foot kept him sidelined for his entire rookie season.