PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have traded midfielder Darlington Nagbe to Atlanta United in exchange for as much as $1.65 million in allocation money.
Portland is also sending defender Gbenga Arokoyo to Atlanta and receiving a 2018 international spot as part of the trade, considered the biggest of the postseason so far.
Nagbe, who has become a regular on the U.S. national team, has been with the Timbers since the team joined MLS in 2011. He was selected with the second overall pick in that year’s MLS SuperDraft.
He has 27 goals and 30 assists in 214 matches with the Timbers. His goals are the second-most since the team joined MLS.
“Thank you, Portland, and everyone that supported my family and me the past seven years,” he said in a statement released by the Timbers.
Nagbe, 27, has 24 appearances with the national team and one goal.
Atlanta vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said Nagbe was the team’s top offseason target.
“He is a perfect fit for our style of play as he has a dynamic ability to dribble out of trouble, maintain possession and make passes that bring additional players into the game,” Bocanegra said.
Nagbe joins a strong midfield in Atlanta that already includes Miguel Almiron, Hector Villalba and league Rookie of the Year Julian Gressel.
United, an expansion team this past season, finished 15-9-10 but fell in the knockout round of the playoffs to the Columbus Crew.
Arokoyo, 25, made one MLS appearance with the Timbers last season.
The funds involved in the deal included $650,000 in general allocation money in 2018, $100,000 in 2019, and $300,000 in targeted allocation money. The total figure could rise if Nagbe and United reach certain incentives.
The Timbers, who finished atop the Western Conference standings but got knocked out of the conference semifinals by Houston, are clearly making changes in the offseason. The team is currently looking for a new coach after parting ways with Caleb Porter.
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