Timbers' Howe honored as Coach of the Year; Gordon named top rookie

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland Timbers head coach Bobby Howe was named the A-League Coach of the Year and forward Alan Gordon was given the nod as its Rookie of the Year, it was announced Thursday.

The awards were voted on by the league’s general managers and coaches.

Howe managed the Timbers to their best campaign to date, posting an 18-7-3 record as the top team in the A-League’s regular season. In four years as head coach, Howe has amassed a 59-40-11 record while making three trips to the postseason and never finishing with a losing record.

"No one puts their heart and soul into coaching more than Bobby Howe does, so I couldn't be happier to see him honored,” said Timbers general manager Jim Taylor. “He is the best of mentors and the consummate professional. I have the utmost respect for him and the outstanding job that our entire coaching staff did this season in leading us to the best record in the league. This honor is a tribute to all of them."

Under Howe, the Timbers led the league with 58 goals and a minus-28 goals-against count in their run to the conference semifinals. The Timbers began the year as winners of six straight and finished the regular season with a 10-game unbeaten streak under the tutelage of Howe.

Nick DeSantis of the Eastern Conference-champion Montreal Impact was runner-up for the honor.

Gordon, a key factor in the Timbers successful 2004 season, was recognized as the A-League Rookie of the Year after sharing the goal-scoring title with 17 strikes on the year.

"What a great capper to Alan Gordon's storybook season,” said Taylor. “Talk about a player with great potential. He's got as good a work rate as I've seen in this league, and because of that, he knocked in a lot of goals for us. He's a great kid and has a very bright future in front of him."

The Timbers’ first-round draft pick out of Oregon State in 2004, Gordon tallied two hat tricks and was named A-League Player of the Week three times during the season.

Richmond’s McColm Cephas was runner-up for the award.

Gordon, who was loaned to the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS for the remainder of their season, was also nominated for the league’s Most Valuable Player honor, but was edged out by Montreal goalkeeper Greg Sutton.

Montreal’s Gabriel Gervais was named A-League Defender of the Year, rounding out the awards ceremony held Thursday in Montreal.