Overlap #3: A portrait of Caleb Porter, the struggle to integrate Clint Dempsey & other stories from MLS Cup Playoffs
The latest edition of Overlap Magazine, our digital soccer magazine, is here, bringing its unique take on the North American soccer scene.
Overlap #3 is available for iPad, Android tablet, and now, for all you soccer fanatics on the go, iPhone.
It’s that time again. Put-up-or-shut-up time. Win-or-go-home time. Sport-cliché time.
In short, it’s playoff time.
Every fall, the arrival of the MLS Cup Playoffs forces us to confront an emotional push-pull that comes with the transition from the regular season to the playoffs. Every fan is asking the same two questions: How did we get here? And how far can we go?
It’s those two questions that guided our thinking as we planned Overlap #3. In the cover story, “Destroyer,” longtime soccer writer Ives Galarcep traces the remarkable journey undertaken by Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, who guided the ambitious club to the top of the Western Conference in his first year in charge. Whether you find Porter confident or arrogant, you can’t help but admire the way his team plays: a fluid, coherent attacking style that has been his trademark with every team he has coached.
Just north of Portland, in Seattle, things have not been nearly as coherent this season. At times, the Sounders looked like world-beaters, going 8–1–3 for one heady stretch. At other times, including during the last five games of the season, they looked downright awful. There have been big changes to the Sounders’ midfield, writes Liviu Bird, as the team tries to integrate Clint Dempsey into the lineup. Head coach Sigi Schmid is shaking up the old system, in which Osvaldo Alonzo and Mauro Rosales ran the show with a lot of success. That’s changing.
Sporting Kansas City is supposed to contend for the MLS Cup this year. They’ve certainly got the talent, including USMNT stars Graham Zusi and Matt Besler. But their secret weapon might be forward Dom Dwyer. The rookie spent most of the year on loan in a lower division with Orlando City SC, where he scored bunches of goals, won a trophy, and, according to writer Michael Manganello, showed how high the upside of MLS’s partnership with the USL PRO can be.
There’s plenty more that looks at where we’ve been and where we’re going. Frankie Hejduk gives us an audio tour of his scrapbook—don’t miss his story about “blading” Luis Figo. As rumors about David Beckham creating an expansion team continue to leak, Jared DuBois offers Becks some advice on where not to locate his club. And photographer Ber Murphy presents a photo essay of some of New York City’s most beautiful soccer fields.
That last one seems more than appropriate. After all, the New York Red Bulls have just won the Supporters’ Shield, their first major trophy in the history of the club. It gives them home-field advantage through the playoffs. But again, the question is, how far can they go?
No matter how you got here, and wherever it is you’re going, we hope you enjoy Overlap #3.
P.S. Keep an eye out for Overlap #4 in early December, just in time for the MLS Cup.