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Struggling Timbers fire Spencer

John Spencer became the third head coach to be fired in Major League Soccer this season as the Portland Timbers let him go on Monday.

The Timbers have gotten off to a poor start this season under Spencer, posting a 5-8-4 record that sees the club sitting one place above the basement in the Western Conference.

Portland joined MLS in 2011 with Spencer as head coach, and he leaves with a mark of 16-22-13, with general manager Gavin Wilkinson taking over for the remainder of the season.

"I strongly believe any coach needs an adequate runway to be properly evaluated and that too many owners make coaching changes hastily," Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said. "Given our record last season and the fact we are only halfway through the 2012 campaign, there will be some on the outside who believe the decision to part ways with John is impatient. What I will say is that it is essential to me that the Portland Timbers brand be personified by continuity and commitment to long-term growth. Over time we will demonstrate that.

"However, I am a firm believer that when any personnel decision is made and final there is little to be gained from waiting to put it into effect."

The decision comes following Portland's 3-0 defeat against Real Salt Lake over the weekend, and Spencer joins former Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter and Philadelphia Union boss Peter Nowak on the chopping block.