Portland’s Caleb Porter, New England’s Kevin Alston win MLS awards
Caleb Porter, who led the Portland Timbers to the Western Conference finals, was named Major League Soccer’s Coach of the Year on Monday. Defender Kevin Alston of the New England Revolution, who returned to the field in July after 4 1/2 months of treatment for cancer, was named the league’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Both winners were determined in a vote of media members, MLS players and club management.
Porter, in his first year with the Timbers, led the team to a conference-best 14-5-15 record, matching the league record for fewest losses in a 34-game schedule. The Timbers also had a 15-game unbeaten streak, the longest-ever for a rookie MLS coach, and enjoyed a 23-point turnaround from 2012.
Mike Petke, who coached the New York Red Bulls to the league’s best record, finished a distant second in the balloting.
Alston, who started every game in his first four MLS seasons, left the Revolution for medical reasons in April and was soon diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a rare but treatable form of cancer.
After undergoing treatment Alston was allowed to return in midseason, playing in five of New England’s final 14 matches and helping the Revolution secure a berth in the MLS playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Philadelphia forward Conor Casey was second in the voting.
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