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Porter named MLS Coach of the Year

Caleb Porter

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Caleb Porter’s 2013 season may be over but he’s still walking away with a small piece of silverware.

The Portland Timbers’ first-year head coach instilled a new system and belief in the club as they made a 23-point turnaround from last season. Porter’s impressive job, leading the team to a 14-5-15 record this season and a berth in the MLS Cup semifinals has earned him MLS Coach of the Year honors.

Porter earned a weighted total of 126.28 after combining the media, club, and player votes together. The Indiana University alum and former Akron University head coach beat out New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke, Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis, and the Colorado Rapids’ Oscar Pareja for this season’s honors.


What do you think of this selection? Think Porter was the best coach this season? Do you feel that Petke should have won the award? Who else stood out to you on the sidelines this year?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Look at the number of players that had career years under Porters coaching. Wallace, Ricketts, Will Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Harrington, Futty, and Nagbe. Porter brought in Valeri who lead the league in assists with 13 and teamed that up with 10 goals. I have the upmost respect for Jason Kries but if you look at where Portland was last year and where they ended up this year it’s just truly remarkable. If you look at the individual players and how much they improved its astounding. At the beginning of the year most people had LA, Seattle and RSL fighting for the top spot in the west and New York and Kansas City in the east. I don’t know of anyone anywhere who thought Portland would finish Top in the west. Porter tied MLS records for goal differential improvement, point improvement and number of loses in a season. Easy vote even though there are good arguments for the other coaches.

  2. Interesting that the guys who write the checks, the club portion of the voting, had it dead even between Porter and Petke.

    • Easy to make a general comment about Porter without any info to back it up. The Timbers played their full roster and played an offensive, ball control and pressing soccer style which IMO made the team so successful. Next year Porter could use someone upfront who could score more consistently. Their defense needs some help since it also contributed to the last two play-off defeats. So, Porter (supported by the very good Timbers team & super loyal fans) really earned this award & deserves to be congratulated!!

      • I like Porter’s style of football, but in Rio Tinto, he would’ve been better off to change the tactics, to play a defensive style using counterattacks instead of pressing. The score got away from him because he didn’t adjust his tactics for a two leg tournament. Then he really had to open up and press which gave RSL’s potent midfield a lot of space, and options to score.

  3. Just wait tell Kries leaves RSL after this season and goes to the new Man City owned team and has the money to spend. MLS cup winners first season out i am betting.

    • I hate to copy and paste from above but I agree.

      His (Kreis) coaching acumen coupled with a much bigger variety of DP’s and role players to choose from is going to be scary for MLS. NYCFC could become dominant quickly if they get Kreis.

  4. As an RSL fan I’m ok with Porter winning the award. I don’t think Kreis is concerned about not getting the award and would rather be in the MLS Cup final with a chance to win a second. It is strange that he hasn’t won coach of the year yet in his time with RSL.

    Porter has a more aggressive owner than Kreis does unless RSL owner decides to open up the pocketbook for another worthwhile DP.

    • I mean to say if RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen opens up his check book for Jason Kreis. Brian Strauss is at it again reporting that Kreis is “100%” going to NYCFC. I thought it all along because Kreis has big aspirations and he can only go so far with a small budget with RSL.

      His coaching acumen coupled with a much bigger variety of DP’s and role players to choose from is going to be scary for MLS. NYCFC could become dominant quickly if they get Kreis.

    • He had Henry and Tim Cahill. He’s done a very good job, but Porter has made Portland a contender out of nothing, and with an almost completely altered backline than what he started with.

      • Porter has a great fan base and 12th man something the Bulls don’t have as much and Petke had no head coaching experience at all and had to deal with a slew of big egos!

    • Well, he was nominated… It’s not like he replaced 16 of 30 players on his team though, only fielding, at best, 6-8 of the starters and subs from previous seasons over the course of the entire year.

  5. It’s a curse to be named the Coach of the Year. All but 3 of them are out of a coaching job and Sigi is on the hot seat. This is just a beauty contest. Because if you measured the coaching abilities of an individual you would look at the pool of talent he has to work with and what he has done with it. Porter was handed a well-stacked team thanks to some great trades. He simply did what Jason Kreis has been doing at RSL consistently for 5 years, made no-namers work well together. It’s a win for the Jason Kreis coaching style. Too bad writers and players don’t give Jason Kreis the recognition he deserves for successfully using that system for 5 years.

  6. For all those that think J-Kreis deserved it needs to look at the overall picture. It was an utter myth that RSL was going through a “rebuilding year.” It was not a rebuilding year; they maintained the same core – Kyle, Nicky, Ned – and brough in a young, new cast to support them because of Kreis’s knack of finding brilliant, young, American talent. It should NOT have been a surprise that RSL advanced to the finals. The media fed us that crap that RSL was “rebuilding.” J-Kry merely picked up where he left off.

    Now look at Porter. Took an awful 2012 Timbers team and gave them an identity – Porterball, counter-attacking attractive soccer, MLS Cup Quarter Finals, and did it in MLS in 1 year. When you look at the greater picture from the entire season, Porter had a dream 1st year season (thanks to his coaching foundation at the college level).

    • Agreed. There was NOONE that picked Portland to be the second best team in MLS.

      (Just to be clear I think SLC is the best team, but with KC getting the home field it will be a fun game.)

    • Rebuilding is not the right word but RSL was not expected to be this good by fans, media and even Kreis himself. Two out of the three big players RSL traded were first team MLS All Stars this year in Will Johnson and Olave with NY. RSL traded two All Stars and replaced them with a bunch of young good players.

      • So the argument is: Kreis was not coach of the year because he ensured that RSL did not really have a rebuilding year due to his “knack of finding brilliant, young, talent”?

        In other words, Kreis is so awesome that his awesomeness makes him consistently awesome and so he should never get credit for being the awesomest because he’ll never surprise us by being awesome.

        (Note: Caleb Porter did a magnificent job—certainly deserving of CotY. But any arguments that Kreis did not also deserve it—year after year—are just wrong.)

  7. Honest question, and I don’t particularly like him in many ways as my teams coach and technical director, but why isn’t Vermes listed as a candidate? SKC doesn’t spend much at all and it doesn’t seem to matter who is on the field, and is one of the most consistent top teams in the league the last 3 years. He displayed more tactical wit this year, got results in the end because of it.

    Don’t get me wrong, all these are deserving and Porter deserves the award.

    • I was a little surprised by his omission, but when you look at the three finalists, their teams are vastly improved over last season, which I think is a big indicator for coach of the year. SKC is a consistently good team, with an experienced group of players. Porter, Petke and Pareja all faced some pretty serious challenges that Vermes didn’t have to deal with.

    • And Paulson doesn’t have a reason to bitch? He is a single entity owner whom the MLS pretty much views as a Fulham level market for the MLS. Paulsons club is not deemed worthy of the MLS player subsidy. Paid out if pocket for the Valeri transfer while the Dempsey transfer was orchestrated by the make the rules as we go a long MLS.
      Much respect to Porter for his team concept and his self confidence. Also much respect for the other coaches who continue to achieve results without the huge payrolls.

      • I also don’t understand that. The analogy doesn’t make much sense as Fulham is a London club. Media market is pretty big in London.

        Fair enough re: Portland–it is the 22nd largest TV media market in the US.

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