The MLS is adding to the fanfare of the approaching season finale this weekend by releasing its 2013 awards. The Portland Timber’s Caleb Porter was honored with the 2013 MLS Coach of the Year Award.
This was Porter’s first year in the MLS. After several successful years at the University of Akron, Porter became the head coach of 2012’s third worst team. The 2012 Timbers went 8-16-10 (34 points), 8th in the Western Conference, with 34 goals scored and 56 goals against. Under Porter’s watch they finished 14-5-15 (57 points), best in the West and 3rd in the entire league, and scored 54 goals with only 33 goals against. Quite the turnaround.
Porter took the Timbers from the bottom of the league to a shining example in the MLS. Portland is a land of soccer fanatics, who deserve a winning team worthy of their passion, and Porter created that this season. His efforts have earned him a five-year deal that will keep him in Portland for the foreseeable future.
Porter beat out several other coaches to earn the award. Mike Petke, manager of the New York Red Bulls, managed to win the Supporter’s Shield in his first year as an MLS head coach. Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis has gotten his team to the MLS Cup Final which takes place this Saturday (at Sporting KC, 4 pm Eastern, ESPN). Also in contention for MLS Coach of the Year was Colorado Rapids’ Oscar Pareja.
The Coach of the Year award feels odd to me, not because of the actually award, but more because of who they give it to. It happens in every sport: a new coach comes in and takes a terrible team from the bottom of the league to the top, then they receive the honors. I’m not saying this new coach doesn’t deserve credit, he definitely does, but it seems the award is given to whoever can pull the largest rabbit out of the worst looking hat.
Look at Sporting KC’s manager Peter Vermes, this guy continually produces one of the top two teams, but he wasn’t even on the list of potential candidates. The coaches who have consistent success should also be praised, and I don’t know if that is happening as much as it should.
Either way, Porter does deserve the award. Not only did the Timbers become the best team in West, but they dominated during games. It was clear that he made an impact to the team.
The Coach of the Year Award was given to he who deserved it the most.