Portland Timbers head coach and ex-OG MetroStar Giovanni Savarese is going to his first MLS Cup Final thanks to an inspired performance from his team at Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday night. The appearance will mark the fifth time in six seasons that Savarese is in a final, four with the New York Cosmos in the NASL and now MLS with the Timbers in his first year coaching. After year’s of heartache as a player and never lifting a trophy, it appears now that the Venezuelan forward turned coach can’t kick the habit.
Ex-MetroStar Savarese From Week One Loss to MLS Cup
“I’m very proud of the guys,” said Savarese after the game. “The performance that they put, especially in the second half. It’s been a great season. They put their heart into it today and I’m just very proud of the work that they did because we beat a very good team in a tough place.”
Getting it done in tough places has become Savarese’s trademark. Both NYCFC and New York Red Bulls continue to fail at bringing home titles but from the beginning the Timbers coach has figured out a way to make the best of what he has around him. In no way was his team considered the best at anything in 2018. A slow start saw many people wondering if the team would even make the MLS Cup Playoffs. All of that doubt took a backseat with a 15 game unbeaten streak in of the season.
While that success helped them make the playoffs, it was impressive performances against the first and second place teams in the Western Conference that has sealed Savarese’s status as a coach in just one season. Seattle took them to the brink with a penalty shootout win and an inspired away performance catapults the Timbers into the national spotlight against an Atlanta team that has found success in a very different way.
“It’s an incredible group,” said Savarese. “It’s all on them. They work so much. They’re making me and the coaching staff enjoy what we do. And we couldn’t be more proud of this win today because it was a special win against a very tough team.”
Red Bull fans have to wonder, once again, why them? Savarese’s is another ex-New York player that has found success away from the now cursed team. What the Red Bulls had in stats and talent, Savarese has proven to have more of in inspiration and motivation. Perhaps that’s the missing ingredient for Chris Armas and the Red Bulls. Whatever it may be, the team will be watching a club legend lead an excited Portland Timbers team into the MLS Cup Final from home for another year.
Photo by Anthony Merced