The MLS expansion draft proved to be detrimental for the Portland Timbers.
Here’s how the expansion draft went down, according to MLSsoccer.com:
Ahead of their 2020 inaugural season, MLS expansion teams Inter Miami and Nashville FC continued to build their squads with five selections each in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft held on November 19.
Per draft rules, no MLS club lost more than one player in the draft.
That one player on the Portland Timbers squad: Zarek Valentin.
It's tough to put this into words but I'll try..— Zarek Valentin (@ZarekValentin) November 20, 2019
Portland is where we bought our first home, had our first child & where I fell in love with the game again. To the @timbersarmy, it was an honor playing in front of you. I hope I made you proud! #RCTID
Z, L & Baby Cam
Teammate. Husband. Father. @ZarekValentin's presence will be missed as much in the locker room and on the pitch as it will be in the Portland community.— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) November 19, 2019
READ | https://t.co/hu0g7cm5JB | #RCTID pic.twitter.com/DoZ9MKUa8W
“There was always a strong likelihood that we were always going to lose a player in the expansion draft given our depth and talent,” Portland's president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson, said in a statement released by the team. “Zarek was an important player for the Timbers and one that will be tough to replace ..."
Valentin was selected by Nashville but was traded immediately to the Houston Dynamo (along with $75,000 in 2021 for goalkeeper Joe Willis.
The 28-year-old right/left back began his stint with Portland back in 2016 and has been a staple ever since.
You will be greatly missed, Zarek!