Kick Off: Timbers to announce new coach on Wednesday?

Kick Off: Caleb Porter

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It appears that a new era is set to begin on Wednesday in Portland, where University of Akron coach Caleb Porter appears ready to succeed John Spencer as the second head coach in franchise history.

But Timbers fans will have to wait to see what Porter, who will take over from interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson, can do. Akron’s fall campaign only recently started and all indications point to Porter finishing out the college season before officially taking the reins in the Rose City. As for those who were also in the running, check out the names thrown around.

Paul Mariner knows a thing or two about taking over after a tough situation, but even he couldn’t will Toronto FC to a big win in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday night at BMO Field. Instead it was a pair of late goals that cost the Reds against Santos Laguna, and Mariner singled out captain Torsten Frings as one of the culprits for the team’s late collapse.

Said Mariner on Frings’ attempt to stop Daniel Ludueña on what turned out to be the winner: “I don’t like people diving in because if I dive in then I make a problem for my teammate and that’s irresponsible. I know what he’s trying to do, but if you just keep him in front of you.”

Watch the highlights and decide for yourself if Frings could have done better. [VIDEO]

The tournament resumes on Wednesday night with an interesting match at The Home Depot Center between the LA Galaxy and Puerto Rico Islanders, who tangled in the 2010-11 edition of the tournament. The Galaxy were stunningly bounced by the Islander underdogs in that one, and will look to make amends with a 10 pm ET kickoff on Fox Soccer.

But they could be forced to do it without any of their three Designated Players. It appears that between a suspension, injury and stomach bug, the star-wattage could be dimmer than usual at the HDC.

On to the league schedule, where three MLS games dot the landscape on Wednesday night, beginning in Philadelphia. The Union and Columbus Crew will bang heads at PPL Park (8 pm ET, streamed on MLS LIVE) and there’s some concern in the Philly camp that the Crew and new star DP Federico Higuain are burning up MLS coming into the game.

"Any goalscorer like that,” Philly boss John Hackworth says of Higuain, “when you are hot, you are hot."

One player who most certainly won’t play Wednesday night is Colombian forward Jorge Perlaza, who was released by the Union on Tuesday after never making an impact for the club since he was dealt from Portland for Danny Mwanga.

But do keep an eye out for US women’s star and Olympics hero Carli Lloyd, who will serve as an honorary captain for the Union.

The Crew, meanwhile, will lean on a relatively unfamiliar face in net in this one. After starter Andy Gruenebaum went down with an injury during the team’s win over New England last weekend, it looks like local kid Matt Lampson could get the start against the Union. The former Ohio State Buckeye is a Homegrown player for the Crew.

Down to RFK Stadium in Washington, where D.C. United are back at it after a loss over the weekend in Montreal. This time head coach Ben Olsen’s group squares off against the New York Red Bulls (8 pm ET, Galavision) in the final of three Atlantic Cup matchups of the regular season, and it looks like D.C. star Dwayne De Rosario is ready to roll after he saw limited minutes against the Impact.

Olsen’s medical diagnosis? “Everybody’s fine. Every one of them,” he said. “I mean, what’s fine? They trained today. Everybody is available tomorrow.”

And as for DeRo, the D.C. star has been named the 2012 D.C. Sportsperson of the Year by the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, and he’ll be honored on Sept. 11 in “Washington D.C.’s only black tie and sneakers gala.”

Thierry Henry looks primed for a return in the Red Bulls’ match on Wednesday after missing the team’s last game for the birth of his son, and RBNY fans could also catch a glimpse of newcomer Loyd Sam.

Rarely do the stories about players suiting up against their former team really make waves (it’s sports, players get traded!), but it’s certainly big news when someone like Shalrie Joseph comes back to town. That’s easily the biggest storyline when Chivas USA visit the struggling New England Revolution on Wednesday (8 pm ET, streamed live on MLS LIVE).

“It’s going to be an emotional return, I’m not going to lie about that," Joseph said. “But I’m not worried about them trading me. They made a business decision, they made a decision to let me go and I can’t be mad about that. I just have to let it go and concentrate about what’s next for my future.”

Let’s bounce around the league and start in Houston, where it looks like the Dynamo aren’t done wheeling and dealing on what’s been an already busy season. Their latest target is a former Derby County man.

There’s some good news in Chicago, where captain Logan Pause is ahead of schedule on his return from breaking two ribs and suffering a collapsed lung on Aug. 12. Pause participated in training for the first time on Tuesday but likely won’t suit up against Houston this Sunday.

That game will cap a busy weekend at BBVA Compass Stadium. The first prep football games in the stadium’s history will kick off there on Friday and Satuday.

The Montreal Impact are arguably the hottest team in the league, and now they’re walking the walk and talking the talk. Here’s Impact star midfielder Partice Bernier: “On paper and in the games we played when we’ve been at our best, there aren’t many teams that are better than us.”

On the other end of the spectrum are Real Salt Lake, who have looked surprisingly vulnerable since losing defender Jámison Olave to a recent injury. Here’s a breakdown of how the defense has coped.

There’s some controversy in Vancouver, where it appears the Whitecaps could appeal the red card given to rookie forward Darren Mattocks for an errant elbow last weekend against the Timbers.

And at least one columnist is questioning all those moves made by head coach Martin Rennie, and what it means for the team down the stretch. “Not enough consistency or chemistry right now,” writes Marc Weber of The Province. “Not enough goal scoring or discipline. No clean sheets since July 7, and not enough of anything on the road to suggest they’d be favoured in a series."

Midweek is always time for Power Rankings, so let’s get to it. Check out the latest polls from MLSsoccer.com, Sporting News, Goal.com and NBC Sports.

A number of MLS players will be busy in the coming weeks with international duty, and it’s no surprise that many of them will suit up for Honduras. Here’s a list of who’s headed to work with Los Catrachos, and a quick look at the three D.C. United players who received calls to their respective teams.

And last but not least a look at some international action, where Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht’s berth in the UEFA Champions League highlights a busy day of Americans abroad, and Clint Dempsey’s fate still lies in limbo.

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