Caleb Porter ready to lead the Timbers

Credit: Portland Timbers

Caleb Porter ready to lead the Timbers

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by Michael Berk

kgw.com

Posted on March 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 9:26 AM

PORTLAND -- Caleb Porter didn't even hesitate when I  posed a late-game scenario which guaranteed the Timbers at least a one point draw. Then he was asked if he'd still try to attack to get the three-point win.

"No question," he said. "You play to win. You have to be smart, but for me, you're not playing to a tie."

Porter will get to test his aggressive style for the first time in a regular-season match on Sunday March 3 when his Timbers open the season at home against the New York/New Jersey Red Bulls.

It'll be his first regular-season match in the coaches' box. But not his first inside Jeld-Wen Field.

"I was blown away watching that game," he said of a match he attended before being named the team's second head coach in its three-year Major League History history.

"For me it was eye-opening to see how passionate the Timbers Army were. Loved the chants, and when I had the opportunity to look at this job, that was a big factor," he said.

Raw interview: Timbers coach Caleb Porter

Porter enjoyed tremendous success in his previous post as head coach at Akron University. He never had less than a first-place conference finish, and led the Zips to the 2010 NCAA National Championship.

A shot at the same MLS glory is what made him leave college for the pros. And he knows those Army members won't settle for less.

More: New Coach, players to debut in Timbers MLS season opener

"They want to see an attack-oriented team -- players who will roll up their sleeves and put up a fight, work hard and have a swagger," he said of the team he wants to trot onto the field for the next 34-regular season matches.

"We're hopeful we'll make the playoffs eventually. I can't guarantee anything this year, but we're going to have high expectations. And if we don't make the playoffs, I'm going to be disappointed, and so will they (the fans), and I understand that," he said. 

Porter's predecessor, John Spencer, understood that as well. But here's where the two men differ. While Spencer was a media "darling," with his salty tongue and sense of humor (see his Alaska Airlines commercial spot).  Porter says you won't catch him giving an pre-flight instructions about fastening seat belts.

"That's not me," he stressed. "I want to give soccer answers, and I think sometimes a Coach will use humor to deflect from the soccer. If you ask me a soccer question, you're going to get a soccer answer," he said. 

That is true. Because when asked about the experience of watching Bobby Knight's basketball practices while attending Indiana, Porter did indeed give a soccer answer.

"I took more from my mentor Jerry Yeagley (the IU Soccer coach.) He was a master psychologist, and I firmly believe he could lead anything. I learned a lot from him about how to run a program,"he said.

Now he'll take what he learned and apply it to the Timbers. He's hoping it's more than enough to satisfy a fan base starving for a winner.

More: Timbers News

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