By IVES GALARCEP
When Caleb Porter took over as head coach of the Portland Timbers, he stepped into a role where plenty of scrutiny would be cast on him for being a college soccer coach with no previous pro experience.
Nobody is wondering about Porter’s ability to make the transition anymore. Not after helping the Timbers exceed all expectations and rattle off an 18-match unbeaten streak in all competitions to push Portland near the top of the league just a year after being one of the league’s laughing stocks. Porter’s ability to transform the Timbers into a force is why he is SBI’s pick for MLS Mid-Season Coach of the Year.
Not only has Porter helped transition in new players, and build a system that makes the most of the talent on his squad, the former Akron coach has also helped some Timbers enjoy breakout campaigns playing in his system.
Porter is one of several MLS coaches to do impressive jobs in 2013. RSL coach Jason Kreis has his team on top of the league despite a major off-season roster shake-up, while Oscar Pareja has helped the Colorado Rapids play like a playoff team despite suffering more injuries than any other team in MLS.
What other coaches have done well through the first half of 2013? Here are SBI’s picks as the Top Five coaches in MLS so far this season:
SBI MLS MID-SEASON COACH OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES
1. CALEB PORTER
Has not only rebuilt the roster with some great acquisitions, he has also helped holdovers like Rodney Wallace, Darlington Nagbe and Diego Chara exceed expectations.
2. JASON KREIS
It was supposed to be a rebuilding season for RSL, but Kreis has helped some new faces and bench players transition into key roles, and has Real Salt Lake atop MLS right now.
3. OSCAR PAREJA
The Rapids aren’t in a playoff spot at the moment, but the fact they are very close to the Top Five in the West despite all the injuries they have endured puts Pareja on this list.
4. MARCO SCHALLIBAUM
Has the Impact in first place in his first season in charge, and while some might think he should be higher on the list, the reality is he inherited a team that finished 2012 strong.
5. SCHELLAS HYNDMAN
FC Dallas got their season off to roaring start, and Schellas Hyndman has helped his team shake off the departure of Brek Shea and challenge as one of the top teams in the league this year.
Now it’s your turn to cast your vote for MLS Mid-Season Coach of the Year. Cast your vote here:
What do you think of our selections? Who would get your Coach of the Year vote at the mid-way point of the season?
Share your thoughts below.