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Portland Timbers hire Cosmos' Giovanni Savarese as new coach

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The Portland Timbers confirmed the hiring of New York Cosmos manager Giovanni Savarese as their new head coach on Monday.

As reported by ESPN last week, the 46-year-old Venezuelan will succeed Caleb Porter, who resigned last month after leading the Timbers to first place in MLS's Western Conference.

On a conference call with reporters last month, Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said that he preferred a manager who was familiar with MLS and that speaking Spanish was a plus.

"Gio is an intelligent, attack-minded coach and is a driven individual who is both a great fit with us on and off the field," Paulson said in a statement. "We are extremely pleased to welcome Gio and his family to Portland."

Savarese enjoyed success with the Cosmos since they resumed play in the NASL in 2012, winning three Soccer Bowl titles in five seasons. They reached the final this season but lost to the San Francisco Deltas.

"Gio brings a wealth of experience across all levels of the game, and his playing philosophy aligns with the expectations of the club and suits the playing personnel," general manager Gavin Wilkinson said.

"His leadership and man-management, coupled with his core values and previous accomplishments, made him the right fit for this club, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Timbers."

Savarese, a forward in his playing days, spent five seasons of his 18-year professional career playing in MLS with the likes of the MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls), the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

While in MLS, Savarese scored 52 goals in 121 league and playoff appearances. Among the other clubs Savarese played for are Swansea City and Millwall. He earned 30 caps for Venezuela.

Before joining the Cosmos, he worked for the Red Bulls as the head of youth development. He has also worked as an analyst for ESPN International and ESPN Deportes.

"I am both excited and proud to become the head coach of the Portland Timbers, and this is an ideal fit and outstanding opportunity for me as I take the next step in my coaching career," said Savarese, who will be introduced at a news conference in January.

"The passion, ambition and support surrounding this club is truly inspiring, and I am sincerely honored and grateful for this opportunity to lead it on the pitch and to build on the club's history of success for the community and the incredible supporters of the Portland Timbers."