"The Portland Timbers have terminated the contract of midfielder Andy Polo following allegations this week of domestic abuse," the team said in a statement. "The Timbers were previously aware of a dispute between Andy Polo and his partner on May 23, 2021, that resulted in the Washington County Sherriff's Office citing Polo for harassment. That citation was not subsequently pursued by the victim or the prosecutor's office.
"We deeply regret not suspending Polo immediately, especially considering the troubling new details of abuse that surfaced this week. It was a failure on our part, and one that will never happen again."
The allegations of physical and emotional abuse were made by Polo's former partner, Génessis Alarcón, on the television show "Magaly TV, La Firme." Alarcón is also the mother of his children.
"He pulled my hair. I fell to the floor," Alarcón said. "He slapped me in the face and gave me a black eye."
Alarcón also accused Polo of not providing for her and their children financially.
"My children were sick for two weeks. My daughter didn't stop vomiting," she said. "I didn't have a way to get around, I had to sell my shoes."
In a statement given to reporter Nick Negrini, Polo denied Alarcón's allegations.
"The allegations are without basis and are part of a strategy from the mother of my children to take 60% of my earnings as a soccer player in the U.S.," he said. "It's important to reiterate that the television show did not try to contact me to, at the very least, corroborate the facts by asking me about my version, irreparably affecting my image and name."
Polo added that he and Alarcón were separated, and he hadn't abandoned them. He said they spent part of the Christmas holiday together.
Polo had been in preseason training camp with the Timbers since Jan. 18. But following publication of the allegations, the Timbers soon moved to suspend the player and remove him from all team activities.
In a statement to ESPN on Wednesday, the club added, "MLS is conducting an investigation into the matter and will remain in close communication with the Timbers and the MLS Players Association throughout the process."
According to an incident report obtained by ESPN from the Washington County Sheriff's Department, on May 23, 2021, Polo was "issued a citation in lieu of arrest for harassment after grabbing onto Genesis Charlott Alacon[sic] Dorival's wrist." The citation is classified as a B misdemeanor.
In the report, Alarcón indicated that she and Polo had been separated for the past three years but living under the same roof. On the date in question, a friend of Alarcón's called police stating that her friend's husband was hitting her. Two deputies arrived and separately began interviewing Polo and Alarcón. When the police arrived, the report says that Alarcón "seemed to be frantic, scared and stressed" and that the children looked frightened.
The report adds, "Genesis said Andy and she had been arguing for the past two days. She told me today she was home in the kitchen cleaning when Andy came home. She said Andy wanted to take her cellphone back because he wanted to take back everything he has ever given her. She told him she did not have it. She said during the argument Andy reached out and grabbed her right wrist and scratched it. She showed me the underside of her right wrist and I saw what appeared to be a light red abrasion."
The report states that Alarcón took their children upstairs and locked themselves in a room. Polo had recently been injured in a game against the LA Galaxy and was on crutches, making it easier to get away. She also made an audio recording of what took place and played it for the police. Polo denied arguing with or even grabbing or touching Alarcón.
The report goes on to detail that two Timbers employees, Gabriel Jaimes, who is the players affairs and professional development manager, and the team's head of security, Jim McCausland, later arrived at the residence.
The report reads that "[McCausland] told me he would make sure that peace would be maintained inside the house. He said if he needed to move Andy or Genesis out of the home to maintain safety and security, he would take care of it. He assured me no further incidents would take place."
A report includes a court date of June 23, 2021.
One source with knowledge of the team's thinking indicated that the "additional details" referred to in the statement included the hair pulling and black eye Alarcón received. These ultimately led to the decision to terminate Polo's contract.
The Timbers' ownership group, which also owns the NWSL's Portland Thorns, has been criticized by some fans after it emerged that former Thorns manager Paul Riley engaged in the sexual coercion of two Thorns players in 2015. An investigation by the Thorns resulted in Riley's dismissal, but rather than make the findings public, Riley was allowed to leave quietly following the 2015 season, and gain employment with the NWSL's NC Courage. The delay in dealing with Polo will likely exacerbate those tensions between the Timbers and their fans.
Polo joined the Timbers in 2018 after moving from Monarcas Morelia, initially on loan, and later completing a full transfer. He has made 69 league and playoff appearances, scoring two goals and adding five assists. He missed most of the 2021 season after sustaining a ruptured quadriceps muscle and a torn meniscus in his left leg in a May 22 match against the LA Galaxy.
The Timbers announced in December that they had picked up the option in Polo's contract for the 2022 season. Polo is a current Peru international, having made 37 appearances with one goal.