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MLS opens independent probe of allegations involving Polo

Major League Soccer has engaged an outside law firm to review the Portland Timbers’ handling of domestic abuse allegations involving former midfielder Andy Polo.
Credit: AP
FILE - Portland Timbers forward Andy Polo (7) sets up to shoot during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo, July 18, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. Major League Soccer has engaged an outside law firm to review the Timbers' handling of domestic abuse allegations involving former midfielder Polo. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Major League Soccer has engaged an outside law firm to review the Portland Timbers' handling of domestic abuse allegations involving former midfielder Andy Polo.

The Timbers terminated Polo's contract last week after his former partner accused him of abuse. Polo was initially suspended by both the team and the league.

A Washington County Sheriff's report then became public that said deputies were called to Polo's home last May and two Timbers' employees arrived during the investigation.

Polo was cited for misdemeanor harassment but never charged. He denies the allegations.

RELATED: Timbers terminate Andy Polo's contract after domestic abuse allegations

Major League Soccer on Friday confirmed the outside investigation, first reported by The Athletic. The Portland Timbers issued a statement that said: “The Portland Timbers welcome Major League Soccer’s review into the handling of the May 2021 Andy Polo complaint and will cooperate fully.”

Genesis Alarcon alleged on Peruvian television that Polo, 27, was physically and emotionally abusive to both her and their children. She also claimed that Polo had stopped paying child support. The accusations were recounted in the newspaper La Republica.

The Timbers acknowledged last week that the team was aware of the dispute at Polo’s home in May 2021 that resulted in the citation. But the team still exercised Polo’s contract option in December.

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“We deeply regret not suspending Polo immediately, especially considering the troubling new details of abuse that surfaced this week. It was a failure on our part, and one that will never happen again,” the team said in a statement.

Polo issued a lengthy statement in Spanish that said the allegations were unfounded. A harassment charge was not pursued by Alarcon or Washington County, Oregon, authorities.

The incident report from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Alarcon’s assertion that two Timbers employees arrived at the home while the deputies were there.

The employees were identified as director of security Jim McCausland, a retired Portland police detective, and player affairs and professional development manager Gabriel Jaimes.

Polo was on Peru’s roster for the 2018 World Cup and played 37 matches for the national team.

He played for the Timbers for the last four seasons, scoring two goals in 69 appearances. He missed most of last season because of an injury.

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