Caleb Porter is poised to become head coach of the Columbus Crew, according to ESPN FC sources.
On Tuesday, it appeared that Porter was on the verge of accepting an offer to take the vacant managerial spot with the LA Galaxy, but the outcome of the fluid situation now looks like it will end with the 43-year-old coach taking the job in Columbus, confirming a story originally reported by The Athletic.
However, one source cautioned that a deal hadn't been finalized between Porter and Columbus, with the source saying that the Crew is "headed in this direction" in terms of hiring the former Portland Timbers manager.
The Crew has been without a GM and head coach ever since Gregg Berhalter's appointment as manager of the U.S. men's national team, which was made official earlier this month. The search has been conducted by the team's presumptive owners, the Haslam Family as well as Dr. Peter Edwards, who are in negotiations to buy the team from Precourt Sports Ventures.
ESPN FC has confirmed that both former U.S. national team manager Bruce Arena and former New York Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis have interviewed to be team's next GM.
The news comes just days after Porter was spotted at a Los Angeles Lakers game alongside Galaxy president Chris Klein, new GM Dennis te Kloese and Dan Beckerman, the CEO of Galaxy owners AEG.
A source connected to the Galaxy confirmed that Porter is no longer a candidate for the managerial position, and while the link between Klein and Porter goes back to their days of playing collegiately at Indiana University, one source indicated that Te Kloese didn't feel that Porter was the "right fit" for the Galaxy.
Another source stated that the Galaxy job was "Porter's to take," but that Porter felt in terms of the technical side, Columbus' structure suited him better.
Porter has been biding his time ever since leaving the Timbers at the conclusion of the 2017 season, a club where he enjoyed considerable success. He led Portland to its first playoff appearance in 2013, his inaugural season in the Rose City, and a year later reached the top of the MLS mountain, winning the 2015 MLS Cup final with a 2-1 road victory over the Crew.
There were some valleys to go with the peaks, however. The Timbers twice missed the postseason during Porter's five-year tenure, though Portland made it back to the playoffs in 2017.
Porter proved to be an adaptable manager during his time with the Timbers, instituting a possession-based style dubbed "Porter-ball" during his early seasons there. But he also revealed a pragmatic side during that spell, and wasn't afraid to play a defend-and-counter style when needed.
Prior to taking the Portland job, Porter was the head coach at the University of Akron, where he won the 2010 College Cup.
Following his collegiate career, Porter spent parts of three seasons in MLS with the San Jose Clash (now the San Jose Earthquakes) and the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny. He made a total of 11 appearances before his career was cut short by injury.