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Kick Off - Caleb Porter
US Soccer

Kick Off: Report says Timbers want Akron's Porter as coach

The Portland Timbers don’t seem to be wasting any time when it comes to their search for a new head coach.

A report in The Oregonian indicates that a contract offer has been extended by the club to University of Akron head coach and former US Olympic manager Caleb Porter. Akron’s season got off to a 4-0 win on Friday.

As they wait for more news, the last-place Portland Timbers have one hand on the Cascadia Cup after their 2-1 win over the playoff-chasing Vancouver Whitecaps (watch the highlights here). Akron stars Darlington Nagbe (another goal) and Darren Mattocks (red card) made the highlights, but the story was the end of the seven-game winless streak for Portland.

“He’s seen some of the things people are saying, we all have,” Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury said about under-fire interim manager Gavin Wilkinson. “I’m just happy to get three points for him tonight and hopefully take a little bit of the pressure off.”

The pressure was on the Montreal Impact to win their Saturday match against D.C. United, a direct competitor for the final postseason spot in the East. Jesse Marsch’s team didn’t disappoint a sell-out crowd with a 3-0 victory (watch the highlights here).

The big controversy in this match was D.C. manager Ben Olsen’s decision to save Dwayne De Rosario, Chris Pontius and Branko Boskovic for the second half, when his team was already down 2-0. “You can’t play these guys every game with two days rest in between three games,” Olsen said.

Meanwhile, D.C. United president Kevin Payne was critical of the club’s schedule with a match against New York looming on Wednesday: “This is very poor scheduling. The league needs to pay more attention to the competitive aspects.”

The weekend’s big match atop the East between Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls may have ended 1-1 on Sunday night (watch the highlights here), but SKC manager Peter Vermes made sure to deliver that final zinger that his team could not.

“[New York] bunkered in tonight. They’re happy to be leaving here with a point,” Vermes said. “We don’t go to places and say that we’ll be happy with getting one point. We want to go there and get three. It’s a little bit different mentality, for sure.”

Although they could have captured all three points on a couple of dangerous counterattacks, the Red Bulls in the end didn’t register a single shot on goal (their equalizer came on an own goal by Sporting’s Kei Kamara). That stat means nothing to NYRB manager Hans Backe: “We could have won it. We had two of the best goal scoring chances in the game.”

Speaking of scoring, did you know that Seattle Sounders star Fredy Montero had never registered a hat trick in his MLS career before Saturday? He took care of that in a 6-2 rout (watch the highlights here) on the road against Chivas USA, who showed massive defensive difficulties. “It makes me sick, to be honest with you,” said Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.

But the lead to the Seattle Times match report highlighted the Sounders fans, who showed off their strong LA chapter and impressed at least one writer with their song: “Our house — In the middle of LA — Our house!"

The Sounders are still seven points adrift of the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes, who easily brushed by the Colorado Rapids 4-1 on Saturday night. Simon Dawkins and Alan Gordon were the goal-scoring heroes on this night, with a brace each (watch the highlights here).

The Quakes’ chase of the Supporters’ Shield wasn’t even the big news at the club over the weekend. They also announced a date for the official groundbreaking of their new stadium in San Jose.

But new stadiums don’t guarantee wins. Just ask the Houston Dynamo, who saw Toronto FC come back to equalize late at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night in a 1-1 draw (watch the highlights here). “Yeah, it is a loss,” said Houston defender Bobby Boswell. “We came out firing, I think, and did pretty well in the first half. Then we kind of played the second half like it was just going to take care of itself.”

The LA Galaxy turned to budding teen star Jose Villarreal in the second half and he came through in a 2-0 win over FC Dallas on Sunday (watch the highlights here). But Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman has an issue with a critical referee decision early in the match.

In the 11th minute, Kevin Stott opted to give a yellow card to LA’s Todd Dunivant for bringing down FC Dallas forward Fabián Castillo breaking in on goal (watch the play here). Hyndman wanted a red: “I think you’ve got to call a red card. … The facts are that this is a tough place to get the calls.”

Coming from behind was no issue for the Columbus Crew, who scored with ease as Federico Higuaín and Jairo Arrieta continued to take MLS by storm with two goals each in a 4-3 home win over New England (watch the highlights here). Arrieta’s brace came on his 29th birthday.

“I'm like, 'Where the heck did that guy come from?'” Crew manager Robert Warzycha said of the two free kick goals by Higuaín. “It's amazing to have talent like this.”

Geoff Cameron’s got some talent. The American midfielder received the highest grade (an 8 out of 10) in the player ratings awarded by The Daily Mail after Stoke City’s 0-0 draw vs. mighty Arsenal. It was his EPL debut.

Michael Bradley also tied on his AS Roma debut, but he was able to register an assist on the stoppage-time equalizer vs. Catania (play starts at 2:00 of this clip). (VIDEO)

Say it ain’t so! A report in England claims that Sunderland have now moved ahead of Liverpool in the race to sign Fulham wantaway forward Clint Dempsey with just five days remaining before the close of the transfer window.

Vancouver Whitecaps Jamaican midfielder Dane Richards will be next to join the aforementioned Americans in Europe after announcing he signed an agreement to join English side Burnley in January.

We leave you with a taste of some vintage Ronaldinho. He scored a goal which only he is capable, on a solo run from midfield dribbling by every obstacle in his path. (VIDEO)

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