The Portland Timbers' Akron connection just got even stronger.
Portland traded up to the No. 2 position in Thursday's re-entry draft first stage and selected former Seattle Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani. Zakuani, like new Timbers teammates Darlington Nagbe, Ben Zemanski and Michael Nanchoff, played under Porter at the University of Akron.
Zakuani, a onetime rising star limited by injuries to just 20 league games the past three seasons, gives Portland a dynamic option on the left flank. Rodney Wallace, Portland's incumbent left winger, suffered a torn ACL last month, as reported by Goal USA's Ives Galarcep.
D.C. United also made waves in the draft, improving the league's second-worst defense in 2013 by taking right back Sean Franklin (LA Galaxy) with the top pick and center back Bobby Boswell (Houston Dynamo) in the second round. The players represent a substantial financial commitment for United after Franklin had a base salary of $225,000 last year and Boswell was on the books for $220,000.
The first stage also saw the Philadelphia Union take midfielder Corben Bone (Chicago Fire) and the Colorado Rapids select left back Marc Burch (Seattle).
Players selected in the first stage of the re-entry draft must have their 2014 contract options extended or be offered a "bona fide" deal. The second stage, in which teams have more flexibility to negotiate salaries, is Wednesday.
Minutes before the draft, it was announced the Timbers had acquired the No. 2 selection and defender-midfielder Jorge Villafana from Chivas USA for center back Andrew Jean-Baptiste and the No. 17 pick in stage one.
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