MLS expansion franchise Portland Timbers will name their inaugural coach in the second week of August says owner Merritt Paulson.

The Timbers enter MLS in 2011 and are able to name a coach as soon as they would like before finalising their playing list next year.

Former Houston Dynamo assistant John Spencer has emerged as a the frontrunner but reportedly has competition from ex-Chicago Fire boss Denis Hamlett and although he avoided naming names, Paulson did set a tentative date for an announcement.

"The second week of August range is when we'll probably be making an announcement," Paulson told Oregon Live.