SANDY, UT - JULY 7: Head coach John Spencer of the Portland Timbers directs his players in the first half of an MLS soccer game July 7, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt Lake beat the Portland Timbers 3-0. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
The Timbers will reportedly give GM Gavin Wilkinson the interim coach tag as they search for John Spencer's permanent replacement.
John Spencer has run out of time. The Portland Timbers will announce that they've fired their head coach at a news conference scheduled for Monday, the Oregonian is reporting. Current General Manager Gavin Wilkinson, who coached the Timbers during their USL days, will reportedly serve as interim coach and the team will search for a permanent replacement during the offseason.
Reports that Spencer was on the hot seat have been circulating for much of the year, as the Timbers have gotten off to a slow start in their second MLS season, which followed a somewhat surprisingly competitive inaugural campaign. Among the flash points this year was a rather embarrassing loss at home to amateur side Cal FC in the U.S. Open Cup. Despite relatively recent wins over the Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes, a pair of ugly road losses to the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake apparently sealed Spencer's fate.
The Timbers are currently 5-8-4 and in second-to-last place in the Western Conference. The Timbers were 5-2-2 at home this year, but just 0-6-2 on the road. That was an enduring theme during Spencer's tenure, as the Timbers went 2-15-8 away from Jeld-Wen Field. By contrast, Spencer's team was 14-7-5 at home and were able to beat some of the league's best teams with shocking regularity.
Under Wilkinson's guidance, the Timbers were relatively successful in the USL. He went 50-29-39 over four seasons that included a first-place finish in the 2009 regular season.
Spencer would be the third MLS head coach to be fired this season, joining Aron Winter and Peter Nowak on the unemployment line.
For more insight and analysis of the move, be sure to check out Stumptown Footy.