Timbers fire second-year coach Spencer

TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012

PORTLAND – John Spencer, the affable coach of the Portland Timbers who helped prepare the team for the jump to Major League Soccer last season, was fired Monday.

The Timbers, coming off a 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake on Saturday, are 5-8-4 and in next-to-last place in the league’s Western Conference, with no road wins.

General manager Gavin Wilkinson will coach the team for the remainder of the year.

“We are by no means waving the white flag for the 2012 season,” team owner Merritt Pauslon said at a news conference announcing Spencer’s dismissal.

Spencer was hired on Aug. 11, 2010. In the Scotsman’s first year as coach, the Timbers finished 11-14-9.

Wilkinson, 38, joined the Timbers in 2001 as a player when the team was part of the USL First Division. He was coach of the second-division Timbers from 2007-10 and was an assistant with the Houston Dynamo for five seasons before coming to Portland.

“Now it’s up to me to get a little bit more out of them,” Wilkinson said.

Paulson said it is not Wilkinson’s intention to keep the coaching job on a long-term basis.

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