Skip to content

Tracking MLS Coach of the Year race: Jason Kreis, Caleb Porter and Oscar Pareja will make this a tough, tough call

Aug 21, 2013, 7:39 PM EDT

San Jose Earthquakes v Portland Timbers - Portland Timbers Tournament Getty Images

Neither Portland nor Colorado were seen in the MLS playoffs last year. Real Salt Lake was, but all would be forgiven if the Utah club slipped this year, given the roster makeover and the heavy leaning on so many kickers around Rio Tinto yet to reach their 21st birthday.

And yet, those three clubs also happen to occupy the Western Conference’s top three spots at the moment. Whether they keep their spots in the deliciously tight race, all three managers have already had outstanding 2013 campaigns.

It will be very difficult to separate these three … especially since someone like Philadelphia’s John Hackworth could make a late run and have something to say about all this before it’s over.

1. Portland’s Caleb Porter

It’s not just the way Porter has remade the team’s style into something far more watchable in 2013. And it’s not just the way Portland’s first-year manager has turned the Timbers’ win-loss ledger on its ears.

It’s also that Porter (pictured) was pretty much the architect of a roster spruce-up around Jeld-Wen Field. So, positioning his team thusly (most likely as a playoff team, still in reach for Supporters Shield) says good things about one of the best young minds in American soccer coaching.

He’s already gone a long way to making people forget about the 2012 U.S. Olympic fiasco. Porter himself says he learned lessons from all that; it’s really showing now.

2. Colorado’s Oscar Pareja

Forget about how a team that failed to make the playoffs in 2012 has positioned itself for a possible Western Conference crown, already having swiped the treasured Rocky Mountain Cup from Real Salt Lake and still in position to yank Supporters Shield positioning from its Mountain Time Zone rivals, too.

Let’s talk about that jaw-dropping litany of injuries around DSG Park earlier this year; literally half the projected starters were out for extended time, and yet Pareja and his men held things together, rallying to produce points steadily in the summer once young reinforcements had steadied themselves.

And the team is so frightfully young. Goalkeeper Clint Irwin, midfielder Dillon Powers and forward Deshorn Brown are all Rookie of the Year candidates. Defenders Chris Klute and Shane O’Neill would be, too, but each played one game in 2012.

3. Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis

What’s the deal with all the young guys in the mountain region? Because like Colorado, Kreis has a bunch of good ones at Real Salt Lake.

The club knew lumps were on the way after moving three respected, well-liked veterans and their salaries in the off-season. But in all honesty, the knocks just never arrived in force. While trusted types like Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and others held their level, Kries helped other veterans, like Ned Grabavoy, find the next level.

But the real achievement was in shepherding the young likes of Olmes Garcia, Luis Gil, Joao Plata, Yordany Alvarez, Sebastian Velasquez and Devon Sandoval, who found their feet quickly as regular, contributing parts around Rio Tinto.

(MORE: Tracking MLS MVP race, from last week’s posts)

(MORE: Tracking MLS Rookie of the Year, from last week’s posts)

Latest Posts
  1. QPR is cleaning house: Barton, Ferdinand, Zamora all out at Loftus Road

    May 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League Getty Images

    With the Hoops heading down to the Championship, Queens Park Rangers will have a completely new look next season.

  2. 2014-15 Premier League season review: Top ten defenders

    May 27, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT

    150527-John-Terry Getty Images

    They say defense wins championships, so expect to see quite a bit of Chelsea blue on this list.

  3. Report: Chelsea’s Christian Atsu to join Bournemouth on season-long loan

    May 27, 2015, 10:31 AM EDT

    FBL-WC-2014-GHA-PRESSER FBL-WC-2014-GHA-PRESSER

    Atsu spent this season on loan at Everton, and it looks like the Ghanaian will be headed south to the Premier League’s newest club.

  4. FIFA presidential elections will go on Friday despite arrests

    May 27, 2015, 9:40 AM EDT

    FBL-FIFA-BLATTER FBL-FIFA-BLATTER

    Sepp Blatter has served as president for 17 years and is expected to easily win reelection.

  5. 2014-15 Premier League season review: Top ten goalkeepers

    May 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 20:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) David de Gea of Manchester United in action during a first team training session at Aon Training Complex on March 20, 2015 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Let’s take a walk through the six yard box with the Premier League’s 10 best ‘keepers for 2014-15.

  6. FIFA releases statement regarding arrests, says it is “fully cooperating” with investigations

    May 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    FIFA Getty Images

    A press conference is scheduled to be held at 10:30 a.m. ET from the U.S. Department of Justice.

  7. Manchester City friendly vs. Houston Dynamo in doubt following deadly floods

    May 27, 2015, 7:52 AM EDT

    US-WEATHER-FLOOD US-WEATHER-FLOOD

    Texas has been hit with massive flooding that has left at least 19 dead, as soccer takes a backseat.

  8. FBI, US Department of Justice issues damning statement on FIFA, details corruption investigation

    May 27, 2015, 6:55 AM EDT

    Loretta Lynch, Vanita Gupta, Ron Davis Loretta Lynch, Vanita Gupta, Ron Davis

    Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch speaks about the FBI’s investigation into widespread allegations of corruption at FIFA.

  9. Nine FIFA officials, including CONCACAF president, arrested in Switzerland during dawn raids

    May 27, 2015, 5:20 AM EDT

    150527-FIFA-2 Getty Images

    FIFA officials from CONCACAF region and South America dominate the FBI’s wanted list.

  10. Report: Multiple FIFA officials arrested in Zurich, will be extradited to United States

    May 27, 2015, 12:44 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    An unprecedented blow to the upper tier of FIFA’s personnel structure could be the beginning of a sweeping takedown of the organization’s corrupt inner workings.

  11. Aguero, Toure, Nasri, Silva among Manchester City’s roster for Toronto FC friendly

    May 26, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT

    Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates his second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester Reuters

    Toronto FC has put a “projected Starting XI” on Twitter, one that includes Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco.

  12. Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup: Several linked with Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle

    May 26, 2015, 10:28 PM EDT

    Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Getty Images

    Well, the Premier League season has been over for a solid 59 hours, and we shouldn’t let it get to 60 without digging through the muck that is the transfer rumor mill.

  13. There has been an Oguchi Onyewu sighting at New York City FC training

    May 26, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    LARNACA, CYPRUS - MARCH 05:  Oguchi Onyewu (R) of the USA in action during the Ukraine v USA International Friendly  at Antonis Papadopoulos stadium on March 5, 2014 in Larnaca, Cyprus.  (Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images) Getty Images

    All-in-all, he’s played for 11 clubs — four on loan — and only one for more than 30 matches (Standard Liege).

  14. Mourinho rips Top 4 rivals at awards dinner; Takes extra shot at Wenger’s Arsenal

    May 26, 2015, 8:36 PM EDT

    WengerMourinho AP

    He finished off the speech with a brilliant line regarding Chelsea, “They played from August till May and sometimes they brought the bus.”

  15. Real Madrid declines purchase option on Chicharito, who heads back to Manchester United

    May 26, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    Manchester United v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

    Chicharito’s career will make an interesting case study when all’s said and done.

  16. Ireland FA chief: “We won’t be voting” for Sepp Blatter

    May 26, 2015, 6:42 PM EDT

    Sepp Blatter AP

    “Surely he knows … that outside of the voting chambers, that the world … the players and supporters, want change,” Delaney said.

  17. Loew to rest Neuer, Muller for friendly vs. USMNT, Euro qualifier vs. Gibraltar

    May 26, 2015, 5:51 PM EDT

    Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (L) and forward Thomas Muller give a press conference in Porto on April14, 2015, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League quarter finals football match FC Porto vs FC Bayern Munich. AFP PHOTO / FRANCISCO LEONG        (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The USMNT faces Germany on June 10 in Cologne after a June 5 date at Amsterdam Arena against the Netherlands.

  18. Ten best young ‘newcomers’ of the 2014-15 Premier League season

    May 26, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Can gave Liverpool an early lead but they collapsed. Can gave Liverpool an early lead but they collapsed.

    A great deal of clubs can find young talent on our list, as the 2014-15 season review continues.

  19. Reports: Napoli will announce Rafa Benitez departure Thursday; Headed for Real Madrid

    May 26, 2015, 4:33 PM EDT

    VERONA, ITALY - MARCH 15:  Head coach  of SSC Napoli Rafa Benitez looks on  during the Serie A match between Hellas Verona FC and SSC Napoli at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on March 15, 2015 in Verona, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Napoli finished fourth in Serie A, and made it to the Europa League semifinal before being bounced by Dnipro.

Featured video

Chelsea lift the 2014-15 PL trophy