Timbers new coach says team will attack, play with passion

Giovanni Savarese replaces Caleb Porter, who stepped down in November. ESPN first reported the Savarese hiring in December.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers officially introduced new head coach Giovanni Savarese on Monday at Providence Park.

Savarese replaces Caleb Porter, who stepped down in November. ESPN first reported the Savarese hiring on Dec. 12.

The 46-year-old former player coached the North American Soccer League's New York Cosmos for the past five seasons. His team won three league championships during that time.

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"With Gio it was — I hate to use the proverbial cliche, 'check the boxes' — but the off-the-field, on-the-field philosophy, the way he thinks about the game, it was pretty seamless," said Timbers owner Merritt Paulson.

Savarese, who is from Venezuela, played for 18 seasons in Europe and in the United States, including stints with Major League Soccer's MetroStars (Red Bulls), New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes.

The new coach said he wants his team to play an attacking style with a lot of determination and passion. He said many of the pieces are already in place.

"It's good not to start from zero," he said.

The coach said he has spoken to a few of the players, including MLS Most Valuable Player Diego Valeri, midfielder Diego Chara and forward Fanendo Adi.

"I think this was the right time for me to make this transition. And I couldn't have found a better club to make the transition, because of what the club represents and the culture. I think culture is very important in soccer. This club has a tremendous culture," he said. "I'm a person, I cannot just work for a club to coach, I have to feel it. I'm passionate about what I do and I need to be with a club that has the same beliefs."

Savarese is already getting acclimated to rainy Portland and its quirks.

"Yesterday I went to cut my hair and of course it was raining," Savarese said. "So I bring my umbrella and the lady who was cutting my hair says, 'You are not from here, this town, right?' And I say, 'Yes, you know because of my accent.' And she said 'No, no, no. Because you have an umbrella. Usually people here don't use an umbrella.'

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"Good to know,' I said. Next time I'm not bringing the umbrella," Savarese said, laughing.

VIDEO: Introductory press conference

Timbers introduce new coach

The Portland Timbers introduce their new head coach, Giovanni Savarese.

Posted by KGW-TV on Monday, January 8, 2018