We just got 20 minutes or so on conference call with new Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter. I’ll have more from the interview later. However, for now, here’s what I took to be one of the most interesting answers, as he explained some research he did into the Timber-Sounders rivalry, which he will personally experience for the first time Saturday in Seattle.
“I always heard about Roger Levesque. To be honest with you, everybody mentions that, and I never knew why his name was always mentioned in the rivalry, so I actually bought a book. I’m not giving a shoutout to Geoffrey Arnold, but he’ll think I am. I actually got his book and skimmed through it last night just because I wanted to have a few tidbits. It’s important to me. This is my club. I’m the head coach, and I’m leading this club. And even though it’s a new team, it’s a new season, it’s a whole fresh start, it’s a new philosophy we’re building; I appreciate the past, and I want to be aware of it. So I tried to find out why it was that Roger Levesque was so polarizing with Timbers fans. So I found that interesting, just kind of researching that and some of the other names over the years, and some of the little stories and sidebars between the two clubs. … I’ve not met Roger, but I certainly know who his is. … I have no problem with him, but obviously I know a lot of our fans do.”
That, by the way, was a follow-up question to an original basic question on the rivalry. Here’s how Caleb answered that original question:
When his job became an option, a big part of me taking this job was the atmosphere in the games and I think just overall the passion of the Cascadia region. I have a great appreciation for the rivalry, for the fans. I’ve studied it and researched it, and it’s something that means a lot to myself, our team, to the fans certainly. It’s something that we’re going to relish the opportunity to go into CenturyLink and try to get the team’s first win there in the club’s history. If you’re looking at the past and the accomplishments of the Sounders, they’re clearly the team that’s favored. The nice thing is that games aren’t decided on the past, they’re decided on what happens over the course of the 90 minutes. In some ways even though we haven’t won there; I’ve never coached there, and there are a lot of the players with the team now who have never been there wearing a Portland Timbers uniform. We’ve talked about the past with this group, but we’ve also talked about the fact that it’s a new team and we’re 0-0 on the road and we’re certainly 0-0 – this team – going into CenturyLink Field.