As we enter the last, gasping games of a season that is truly forgettable, we are presented with the appointment of the Timber's new coach - Caleb Porter (well, I'm jumping the gun a bit as his appointment hasn't been 'officially' announced). Honestly, I'd never even heard of Caleb Porter until yesterday. I understand he was Darlington Nagbe's coach at Akron and won a national championship. I also understand he coached the US Olympic team that flamed out in the qualifying rounds.
Am I excited about this appointment?
No, 'wary' is the word.
I was never for firing John Spencer mid-season. I'm not saying he shouldn't have been fired, but, he should have been given a full second season to make the playoffs.
I got the distinct feeling his feeling had more to do with a back office political struggle than anything else. His teams might not have met expectations put out there by the owner (playoffs or bust), but his teams were competitive and we were in the playoff hunt.
I thought it was a massive mistake at the time and, rightfully, predicted the team would go into a tailspin.
One win in the last eight games (since Spencer was fired) has proved me to be prophetic.
I've been saying for the last two weeks that an experienced and successful coach would never even look at the Timber's job with the presence of Gavin Wilkinson in the mix. No self respecting coach is going to take this position knowing that Gavin is responsible for personnel moves as well as second guessing their tactics.
My guess was that they would either hire a college coach or an assistant trying to make their way to MLS.
Again, I should start reading tarot cards for a living because that's exactly what happened.
I don't have a tremendous amount of optimism regarding this hiring.
Porter is completely unproven at the MLS level. This isn't coaching a bunch of college kids in Ohio. This is coaching seasoned professionals in the tempest that is Jeld-Wen. After this miserable season, Timber fans will be anxious, and expecting, a competitive team next year. It's no time to be 'learning on the job'. That time is over.
I can't help but think that Gavin chose someone that didn't intimidate him.
Yes, he can say that he "has a plan" all he wants to develop younger players. I'm sorry, I'm not paying to watch a development squad. And, putting your faith in youth is always a double-edged sword.
I could be wrong. I really hope that I am because this season has, quite frankly, 'sucked the big one'. I hope that Caleb is as good as advertised and he and Gavin have a successful partnership and the Timber's play inspiring, attacking soccer and manage to make the playoffs next year.
I have felt, and still feel, that Merritt should have gone with an experienced and successful coach and given him the keys to the kingdom and kicked Gavin down to coach the u 23's or something (at least a position where he isn't constantly embarrassing himself in the press).
Welcome to Portland Caleb.
Alright guys, I don't believe I have to say this but, just in case, please do not submit anything racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise not appropriate for even the younger Timbers fans.