Being a head coach in Major League Soccer means preparing for every single conceivable scenario that could impact your team. And for Portland Timbers' boss Caleb Porter, that includes practicing during a solar eclipse.
Along with Sporting Kansas City, Portland is one of the two MLS teams closest to the direct path of Monday's total eclipse. And while Porter expects training to go on as usual following Friday's 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls, he revealed there is a plan for a brief observance shortly after 10 a.m. local time.
"We’re going to have some glasses," Porter said at a press conference on Wednesday. "So we’ll put them on and take a two-and-a-half minute break when it gets dark, and then get back to work."
If the casual use of protective eyewear sounds like a nonchalant response to a once-in-a-lifetime event, consider it in the context of regular demands on professional athletes.
In particular, MLS asks its players and coaches to forgo almost all of their weekends during what is the longest pro season in American team sports.
"As a player, [for] 11 months, there’s no weekends," Porter said. "There’s always a practice. There’s no holidays. We don’t go to weddings. I’ve sent in 100 RSVPs “No.” The practice will go on. We’re not going to change that. But yeah, we’ll probably put the glasses on."
Mother Nature has already left quite a mark on Timbers' 2017 campaign. Portland twice has moved kickoff times due to extreme heat, most recently pushing their 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy up to an 11 am PT start.
After that win, the Timbers' social media team framed their infamous "Fading Star" video aimed at the Galaxy around the upcoming eclipse.