Sebastian Blanco is set to sign a contract extension with the Portland Timbers, according to reports.
The Argentine playmaker is a key part of Giovanni Savarese's side, scoring 42 goals and setting up another 38 in 147 appearances across all competitions since joining Portland in 2017.
Blanco signed a "multi-year" contract extension as recently as 2019. That contract expires in December and, according to Argentine expert Cesar Luis Merlo, the 33-year-old will now pen another deal keeping him at Providence Park until the end of the 2024 season at least, by which time he'll be 36.
There has been no official word from the Timbers, but Merlo reports that the extension will be announced by the club "in the next few days".
Though his form has been disrupted by injuries, Blanco has once again proven his importance to Portland in 2021. The former Lanus and West Brom playmaker has notched nine goals and six assists so far this season, despite being restricted to 1,324 minutes of action due to his recovery from a cruciate ligament rupture suffered in September last year. Just 14 of his 26 appearances have been starts.
The Timbers recently beat the Colorado Rapids to reach the Western Conference final stage of the MLS Cup Playoffs. But they face a nervous wait to see if Blanco can participate any further after he tearfully left the field early in the second half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
“Seba is Seba – he’s a DP, he’s a very important player," Savarese told reporters when asked about Blanco's possible absence in the next round. "We've seen what he's capable of doing, and we want to have people on the field who make us a better team. But the reality is that this group has shown through the entire season that we’re never giving up. We're going to work hard, that we are always in the belief that anybody is gonna step up to make sure that that we can achieve things as a group.
“We have players that can make the difference, but the group is the most important.”
The Timbers await the winner of Sunday's other Western Conference semi-final between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake.