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Timbers swap Cronin for DC stalwart Perkins

Former Goalkeeper of the Year set to man the net in Portland

The Portland Timbers made a dynamic move to shore up their position in goal for 2011 on Friday, trading current netminder Steve Cronin to D.C. United for former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Troy Perkins.

Perkins, who was named the league’s top goalkeeper in 2006 and won back-to-back Supporters’ Shields with D.C. in 2006 and 2007, also spent two seasons in Norway, where he helped lead Vålerenga IF to the 2008 Norwegian Cup. He also won an MLS Cup with D.C. United in 2004, starting 16 games during the regular season that year.

“Today, we’ve acquired one of the best American goalkeepers in MLS,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said in a statement. “With his valuable MLS experience and proven leadership, Troy has the ability and character to make a huge impact in Portland.

“I am delighted to have him on board with us, and we feel we’ve taken another step in the right direction with our plans to build a very competitive group that can compete with the best in MLS in 2011.”

Perkins started 22 games for D.C. United in 2010 and posted a 1.68 goals-against average and five shutouts. He started all 30 games for the club during his award-winning campaign in 2006, allowing just 32 goals that year and picking up a career-high eight shutouts.

Perkins was in form again and was an All-Star selection in 2007, when he posted a 1.10 GAA and notched eight shutouts while leading D.C. to the best record in the league. He departed for a career in Europe that December, eventually starting 53 games for Vålerenga IF before he returned to MLS in Jan. 2010.

Perkins has also been part of the US national team pool since Jan. 2009, when he earned the first of his seven career caps during a match against Sweden.

Cronin, meanwhile, heads to D.C. after two seasons with the Timbers’ second-division side. He joined the club in 2009 after previous MLS stints with the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy, and was the 2009 USL First Division Goalkeeper of the Year.

He was one of the four players named to Portland’s MLS roster when the club announced their first players on Oct. 19, and was part of the team’s first-ever MLS jersey presentation last week.

“We are putting together a competitive team on the field and the goalkeeper position is an extremely important position,” Timbers general manager/technical director Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement. “We are excited to bring Troy on board, but this was a difficult decision to make. Steve has been a phenomenal person and player for this organization the last two years. We wish him all the best and thank him for his contributions both on and off the field.”

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