Reports: Caleb Porter To Be Named Portland Timbers Honcho

Chief Chainsaw…

The rumors have wafted for days now and now tomorrow seems like the day.

Akron wundercoach Caleb Porter breaking his contract that runs through 2020 and taking the top spot on the bench on the sideline at Jeld-Wen.

It’s a splashy hire, but anything but a secure–it’s somewhat analogous perhaps to when Rick Pitino went pro after many years at the helm at Kentucky (or even Providence for that matter). Can Porter, does Porter have the tactical managerial chops–ones that weren’t present as the US U-23’s crashed out of their invitation to the Olympics or was his success chalked up to recruiting? Or does a superior recruiting record obscure his tactical ability.

Caleb Porter to be named Portland Timbers’ head coach.


26 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nelson on 2012/08/28 at 11:51 PM

    will this make Portland a team that attracts and actually features young players?


    • The Timbers already have the most players under 24 in MLS (closely followed by Dallas). He could be a good fit on that level alone.
      The problem for Porter will be Wilkinson. A cook is always in trouble if the guy shopping for groceries makes mistakes.


      • “The problem for Porter will be Wilkinson. A cook is always in trouble if the guy shopping for groceries makes mistakes.”



      • Posted by SamT on 2012/08/29 at 10:01 AM

        I get your point, but a great can make a feast with less than choice ingredients. We’ll see if Porter is a great cook.


  2. Posted by dude on 2012/08/29 at 4:18 AM

    Hope he gets the job. He’s still a kind of genius. Bruce Arena’s a good coach despite 2006.


  3. I don’t know much about NCAA soccer, but I would have thought Schellas Hyndman would be relevant point of comparison as a recent transplant from college soccer to the MLS. He’s done pretty well, but hasn’t replicated his college success.

    Should we expect the same from Porter?


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/29 at 6:35 AM

      Did Hyndman have the same kind of success as Porter? I thought he was a better than average coach who got the MLS job because of his connection to the Hunts?

      Porter will be successful if he is able to learn from his mistakes in charge of the U23’s. If he realizes that the defensive center is a very important part of a team then he should do well. He’s also young enough to learn new tricks whereas Hyndman was pretty old to be getting his first pro coaching job.


      • Posted by dth on 2012/08/29 at 7:14 AM

        No–Hyndman didn’t have the same level of success. Hyndman never won a national championship, for starters.


      • Your assessment of Hyndman vs Porter’s NCAA-to-MLS paths seems accurate.
        I do think Porter takes too much of the blame for Olympocalypse. Clubs and injuries denied him lots of first choice players, and his GKs made mistakes that can’t be blamed on coaching. Not saying he did a perfect job by any means (particularly against Canada), but there’s a lot of blame to go around on that debacle.


  4. Posted by Eric on 2012/08/29 at 6:03 AM

    How long until Kofie Sarkodie gets traded to Portland?


  5. Posted by dth on 2012/08/29 at 7:16 AM

    I don’t necessarily see good recruiting as a problem. In soccer, especially MLS, spotting players is one of the most important skills. That Porter does it well is a credit, not a debit.

    The key here is Wilkinson, and, longer-term (assuming he makes it that far), the academy. I think it can be possible to overlearn the problems of the u-23 group–if Sean Johnson makes an easy save, I’d bet it’s going to London. (The poor goalkeeping in qualifiers really becomes weird when you consider that both Johnson and Hamid are having good seasons. In some ways, Porter was very unlucky and that shouldn’t be ignored.)


    • Posted by Eric on 2012/08/29 at 9:20 AM

      I think most reasonable fans have looked back at the Olympic issues and agreed that Porter was certainly not to blame entirely

      Like you said, the goalkeeping mistakes were flukes and he was dealing with injuries and a lack of options at certain positions due to club commitments. I’d also point out that I dno’t think the U-23 was a true Caleb Porter team. Because of Klinsmann’s mandate that the youth teams use the same system as the senior team (which I agree with for the most part, but that’s a whole other issue) I think it’s safe to assume that Porter’s hands were somewhat tied in terms of what he was allowed to do system and tactics wise at times.

      Finally, I think the Olympic situation showed just how thin the US pool is at centerback. We can look at Porter’s selections all we want but it’s hard to say that he had any real glaring omissions at the centerback spot, which was where the team was the weakest. Attacking-wise the the team had a lot of talent, but the player pool was much thinner in defense.


  6. Boom. Now DANCE!


  7. Well THIS is interesting….

    Tweet from reporter at the Timbers Press Conference…

    “Points from the press conference: 110% Gavin’s guy according to Merritt. Lots of consulting w/Bradley and Klinsmann”

    All your base are belong to Klinsmann.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/08/29 at 1:01 PM

      It makes sense that they would consult Klinsmann on this hire since Porter worked under/alongside Klinsmann for the U23 team. We all better hope that Klinsmann is as good as he wants everyone to think he is considering that he’s having a lot of impact of hiring and the way he wants the game to be played here.


      • On the next episode of Klinsmann: Power Broker, Jurgen works on the situation in Libya by installing Brek Shea as a mediator.


        • Posted by dth on 2012/08/29 at 8:53 PM

          I figured Klinsmann-as-Power-Broker would try and build the Lincoln Center next. #robertcaro’d.


  8. Posted by Jared on 2012/08/29 at 1:11 PM

    Just read on Twitter that Paulson supposedly interviewed a former Premier League manager for the position….. it was Avram Grant. That would have been epic.


    • As well….

      “Colin Clarke, Guillermo Schelotto, Steve Sampson and Richie Williams”

      Were all considered.


      Steve Sampson is alive?!


  9. Posted by Crow on 2012/08/29 at 4:58 PM

    I think the Rick Pitino analogy is fantastic (potentially). I hope not and think not but it could turn out to be true after watching the Olympic debacle. With that said, I wanted Philly to hire him as he already worked with alot of the young Union players and he is an “exciting coach.” I hope things work out well in Portland because those fans deserve a good team. I believe if things go well with Porter and Kreis and Olsen- you will have 3 good American based coaches for the National Team someday.


    • Posted by dude on 2012/08/31 at 4:06 PM

      I’m a DC fan, but I’d go Kinnear before Olsen. He’s produced and chosen amazing talent, and knows American players. I would have said Porter if the Olympic team had kicked ass at the actual Olympics. For now, he’s got the means to prove his worth at the next level.


  10. As long as the Houston FO were to replicate some sort of Chabala, Palmer for Moffat deal, as a Houston fan I would be happy. However if anything like that happens, you’d think that would be a last straw type of situation in Portland with Wikinson. If he’s interested I’m sure Sarkodie and Collin Clark are available.

    I actually don’t think Sarkodie is that bad, but the fact that he is yet to really improve his game in any sort of way is a cause for concern. However I can’t help but think that acquiring Sarkodie would be a huge plus for Portland and Sarkodie. Of course this is all theoretical considering the suggestion was merely a joke anyway.


  11. Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2012/08/29 at 9:11 PM

    Glad to see him get a shot after he was unjustly tainted by the U23 failure. He is a bright tactician with a great rep for developing players. The MLS needs more guys like this, but as a Quakes fan, I think he is going to be a thorn in our side for a long time.


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