Merritt Paulson - Portland Timbers

Southern California has long been perceived as one of the biggest and highest-profile markets in Major League Soccer, home to the five-time MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy and ambitious 2018 expansion entrants LAFC.


But the Portland Timbers’ soccer-mad community makes for even more pressure and visibility at PTFC than anywhere in SoCal, Timbers owner Merritt Paulson told ESPN FC’s Herculez Gomez and Max Bretos.


“I'd argue you're under more of a microscope in the community of Portland," said Paulson in an appearance on the "Max and Herc Podcast" this week. "And [head coach] Caleb Porter is more of a recognizable figure in the community of Portland as the head coach of the Portland Timbers than anybody who's coaching the LA Galaxy is as they walk in and around their community.”


Paulson made a few headlines with a similar message over the winter, when a Goal.com report linked Porter to the then-vacating Galaxy job as Bruce Arena departed to take over the US national team. LA Galaxy II manager Curt Onalfo would eventually take over as head coach.


While Los Angeles and the Rose City are dramatically different in terms of media market size and other such metrics, the Timbers’ outspoken owner believes that the passion and intensity of “Soccer City USA” changes the dynamics.


“In my mind there's more pressure on the head coach of the Portland Timbers than there is on the head coach of the LA Galaxy. And that's something I'm not objective about but I certainly believe,” Paulson said this week.


“And I'm certainly not implying there's not pressure that comes with an LA Galaxy head coaching gig but we sell out every game here, and we've got the [season-ticket] waiting list and yeah, the city's not as big as LA but this is a pretty damn big coaching job right here.”