Portland Timbers 2, the Timbers' developmental USL franchise, will not play games during the 2021 USL season due to COVID-19 protocols disallowing Timbers 2 players to swing up to the MLS franchise, the organization announced Friday.
“The Timbers have had a longstanding and productive relationship with USL, one that provided us the platform to enter MLS, and for that we are extremely appreciative,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager and president of soccer. “With the inability to share players between T2 and the first team due to COVID this season we have been unable to use this platform for player development as we would have hoped and we don’t expect that to change in 2021. We are working closely with MLS to complete the pro player pathway for the post-formation period in 2022 and are excited to disclose more details at the appropriate time."
The Hillsboro Hops will continue operating Timbers 2 in 2022 when the club returns. "The Timbers will continue to own T2 and manage soccer operations for the club, with matches being played at Hillsboro Stadium," the team said in a press release.
“We are excited to continue our terrific partnership with the Hillsboro Hops in 2022,” said Mike Golub, Timbers president of business. “Further aligning our development program with Major League Soccer will be great for our supporters and create exciting business opportunities as we and the Hops bring Timbers soccer closer to our fans on the west side.”
Portland Timbers 2 have played six seasons in the USL's first division and have helped develop notable players such as Alvas Powell, Jeremy Ebobisse, and Tomàs Conechny.