John Spencer, the coach who shepherded the Portland Timbers into Major League Soccer last season, has been sacked.
The Timbers said general manager Gavin Wilkinson will coach the team for the rest of the season. "We are by no means waving the white flag for the 2012 season," team owner Merritt Paulson said. "There are still many games to play and we continue to have high expectations for the season."
The Timbers, who fell 3-0 at Real Salt Lake on Saturday, have yet to win on the road this year and lie second-bottom in the MLS Western Conference.
Former Chelsea striker Spencer issued a parting statement saying he had enjoyed his time with the team, which he guided to 11 victories in its first MLS campaign last year. "I want to personally thank Merritt Paulson and the Paulson family for the opportunity to be the first head coach in the history of the MLS Timbers," he said.
Paulson said the decision to part ways with Spencer wasn't due to their poor road record but because of "some fundamental philosophical differences." "We had a terrific record last year as an expansion team under John and he provided us with some amazing moments and memories that will forever be a positive part of our MLS history," Paulson said.