Reports: Columbus Crew SC in "final stages" of hiring Caleb Porter as coach

Caleb Porter - Portland Timbers - signals towards the field

The drama swirling around two of Major League Soccer’s vacant head coaching positions took another turn on Thursday evening, as The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio reported that Caleb Porter is “in the final stages of negotiations” to become Columbus Crew SC’s next coach.

If accurate, that would take one of North American soccer’s most prominent out-of-work coaches off the market just days after he was heavily linked to the LA Galaxy job. On Monday Porter sat courtside at a Los Angeles Lakers game with Galaxy president Chris Klein – Porter’s college roommate at Indiana – newly-hired GM Dennis Te Kloese and Dan Beckerman, CEO of the club’s owners AEG.

Tenorio’s reporting was soon confirmed by Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote that talks between Porter and the Galaxy had advanced nearly to completion only to break down over the length of the contract on offer. Baxter also cited an anonymous source that stated Te Kloese had doubts about Porter and “didn’t like everything we saw” in the 43-year-old, who most recently coached the Portland Timbers from 2013-17, a mostly successful stint that included a 2015 MLS Cup win.

Crew SC are replacing Gregg Berhalter, who was recently named the US men’s national team coaching post after five years as Columbus’ head coach and sporting director. Meanwhile LA are in the process of selecting their fifth head coach in the past three years, having cycled from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid to current interim boss Dom Kinnear since Bruce Arena left the club to take over the USMNT in November 2016.

"The Club has begun its search for new soccer operations leadership in collaboration with potential new Investor-Operators but will not be providing additional comment on the hiring process at this time," said a Crew SC spokesperson when reached.

Tenorio confirmed previous reports that Columbus have interviewed Arena and former New York Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis in their hunt for a technical director to take up that aspect of Berhalter’s role.