Evander: New Portland Timbers signing reveals why he made MLS move

Chris Smith
Evander brings real pedigree to the Timbers midfield.
Evander brings real pedigree to the Timbers midfield. / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

For the Portland Timbers to secure a player of Evander's profile was quite the move.

The Brazilian playmaker - who boasts a record of seven goals in 12 caps for his country at youth level - is fresh from a fruitful spell with Danish side FC Midtjylland, where he hit an impressive 50 goals and 38 assists in 167 appearances across all competitions.

During his time with The Wolves, Evander enjoyed Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League action while also winning one Danish league title and two domestic cups.

At 24 years old, the player is about to enter his prime, but rather than stepping up into an even bigger European league to continue his development, Evander has chosen Major League Soccer and the Timbers.

It's a decision that will raise eyebrows from those around both Midtjylland and the Brazilian game, but one Evander is keen to stress his confidence in.

“Of course, the expectation from everybody was for me to stay in Europe, but it’s not something that would take me down to go to MLS. It’s something that will make me grow,” Evander said in his first press conference as a Timbers player. “MLS is growing. I have a lot of ambitions and dreams. I think I can realize that in MLS with Portland.”

The fee paid for Evander has not been disclosed, but it's understood to have broken the Portland Timbers club record, while the Brazilian will occupy a Designated Player spot.

That alone should demonstrate the commitment the Timbers have to Evander. But, of course, he's not the first South American star to see MLS as a proving ground and will look to follow in the footsteps of former Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron, or ex-LAFC forward Diego Rossi, in using the league as a launchpad to a European giant.

Even now, Thiago Almada has used his first season with Atlanta to earn himself a spot on Argentina's World Cup roster - even coming off the bench in a 2-0 win over Poland in the group stage.

“People can say, ‘Oh, Brazilian players go to MLS just for money.’ I’m going to show the opposite,” Evander said. “I’m going to show in MLS you can grow, you can win good competitions. I’m going to show everybody it’s not about the money or an easy life. I’m going to show MLS is hard work. It’s a big league with big players.”

Watch the story of Charlotte FC's journey to MLS in 90min's The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.