We continue to roll out our choices for the league’s top defender, top goalkeeper, top rookie, MVP and more:
Today we look at ProSoccerTalk’s writer’s picks for Major League Soccer’s Coach of the Year:
Caleb Porter, Portland Timbers
This is easily the toughest choice for me, with three managers from the Western Conference fully deserving. (By the way, the fact that New York’s Mike Petke, blessed with such a talented roster, is one of three official MLS finalists rather than Colorado’s Oscar Pareja is a darn shame.) Porter gets my vote for orchestrating the greatest turnaround. It wasn’t just the raw improvement of the numbers (the club improved by 23 points, going from 8th place to 1st in the West) but a turnabout of such high style, too.
Caleb Porter, Portland Timbers
We usually vote for the coach who does the most with what he’s got, but when you think about it, that just ends up filling an information void for an award where we have very little clue as to coaches’ real contributions. We’re not there, watching the team on a minute-by-minute basis, so we go with what we can see. But with the Timbers, we clearly saw the complete overhaul – the effect of those minute-by-minute contributions. Porter didn’t just turn a team around. He remade one.
Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake
To perform such a stunning overhaul and still bring success to RSL is a remarkable achievement. Kreis, and the club for that matter, go about their business with minimum fuss and are the envy of most MLS sides. A strong youth policy and clear playing philosophy has helped them keep on par and ahead of their wealthier rivals. The job Kreis has done is phenomenal… can RSL keep hold of him?
Christian Pulisic sat out Friday’s 2-1 Dortmund defeat against Stuttgart. Coincidence? Perhaps.
However, the club’s struggles are apparent as Dortmund’s winless run extended to four matches and their gap from Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich could be up to nine points by the end of the weekend.
[ MORE: Chris Coleman steps down from Wales, expected to take Sunderland job ]
BVB was without several of its top talents for the match, including U.S. Men’s National Team star Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but it’s Dortmund’s defending that continues to be the side’s biggest issue.
Stuttgart struck after five minutes when Chadrac Akolo broke the deadlock off of an embarrassing blunder by Marc Bartra and the Dortmund defense.
Bartra attempted a routine back pass to goalkeeper Roman Burki during the early moments of the match, but his ball back proved to be way too strong and deflected off of Burki and into the path of Stuttgart forward Akolo (video below).
Dortmund atoned for the former Barcelona man’s mistake just prior to halftime when Maximilian Philipp equalized, but it took just six minutes into the second stanza for Josip Brekalo to restore the Stuttgart advantage.
David Moyes has given Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez assurances that he’ll have the opportunity to compete for a starting role with the Hammers, but the Mexican international will have to wait a bit for a chance.
[ MORE: North London Derby takes center stage Saturday morning ]
Hernandez, 29, is currently nursing a hamstring strain, leaving his status for this weekend against Watford in doubt.
“I think everyone knows he [Chicharito] has got a hamstring injury,” Moyes said during Friday’s press conference. “It could take a week, it could take two weeks.”
Moyes didn’t mince words recently when speaking about Chicharito and other players within the squad, essentially pointing out that no player will be awarded a starting role simply because of their stardom.
Hernandez has scored four goals in 13 matches this season for West Ham, who currently sits 18th in the Premier League. The Hammers have won just two matches to start the 2017/18 campaign and sit on nine points.
Miami FC quickly put itself on the U.S. soccer map in two short seasons, and much of the club’s success can be attributed to manager Alessandro Nesta.
[ MORE: Chris Coleman steps down with Wales, expected to take Sunderland job ]
The former Serie A defender has managed the club in its first two years of existence, but Nesta’s time in South Beach is coming to an end.
Nesta revealed on Friday that he won’t be returning to the NASL club in 2018, as he prepares to fnd a “new challenge” in his managerial career.
With NASL’s future as a league very much up in the air, Nesta could be seeking a more stable position entering 2018, especially given that his name has been thrown around with several MLS jobs over the last few months.
It isn’t always the score at the end of the match that matters, and Orlando City proved that with its recent friendly to benefit those affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
[ MORE: Whitecaps announce USL affiliation with expansion side Fresno FC ]
Orlando City faced off with the Puerto Rico national team on Nov. 4, which the Lions won 6-1, but it was the club’s humanitarian efforts that proved to be the real story from the event.
The club announced that it raised $327,530 from the match, with all proceeds from the event going directly to the Puerto Rican people.
“I’m very proud of what our Club and our partners were able to accomplish,” Orlando City SC owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in a team statement. “What we did meant more than just raising funds for Puerto Rico. Once again, we came together as a community to rally behind something bigger than us all.”