Reports: Caleb Porter Out as Coach of the Portland Timbers
Photos by Diego Diaz and Jeff Wong
Written By Edward Pham
Thursday evening, sources reported Caleb Porter was out as the Portland Timbers coach. Despite a MLS Cup and finishing first in the West twice in five years, his departure left fans confused.
Not only did it leave fans shocked, but the Timbers office aghast, according to Chris Rifer from Stumptown Footy:
A source confirmed to Stumptown Footy that Porter and the Timbers have parted ways, but denied that it was as a result of any power struggle. The separation, however, came at Porter’s choice and surprised Timbers brass. There is not presently any indication why Porter chose to leave Portland, and Porter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Stumptown Footy.
Porter led the Timbers to the 2015 MLS Cup crown and amassed a 68-50-52 in five years at the helm in Portland. Porter’s success in Portland makes his sudden departure from the Timbers stunning, especially in the absence of any obvious destination.
While critics and analysts believe that it came down to a power struggle between Porter and the front office, Caitlin Murray commented saying:
Re: reports of a “power struggle” between Porter and front office, I’m hearing it’s a little of that, but different feelings about the past season and future direction were the driving force behind Porter’s decision to leave. #RCTID
— Caitlin Murray (@caitlinmurr) November 17, 2017
Steve Zakuani, who played under Porter while he was coach at Akron and for a season with the Timbers, mentioned something similar to what Murray had said and also had his own say to Matt Doyle’s comments:
— *insert brand identity here* (@MattDoyle76) November 17, 2017
Mutual is a generous term from what I’ve heard https://t.co/xyBvWLTT8d
— Steve Zakuani (@Zakuani11) November 17, 2017
The Timbers have yet to release anything on the matter but there is suppose to be a press conference Friday morning about it.
Coming in after John Spencer was fired by the Timbers, Porter changed the club with his style, charisma, and tactics. He guided the club their first Western Conference regular season title in his first year. They also earned the club their first ever CONCACAF Champions League birth. The team made it to the semifinals in the US Open Cup, their furthest finish in competition in club history.
His second season proved to be a rough one. MLS teams adapting to his tactics and exposed his aggressive attacking approach and defensive weak points. The team’s first CONCACAF Champions League appearance saw them crashing out in the group stage. His season eventually ended with them missing out of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
2015 saw him redeem himself, as the Timbers won the MLS Cup for the first time in club history. Using a surge of form, the team went 5-0-3 in the final three games of the season and in playoffs to make it into the MLS Cup Final. There, he guided the team and hoisted the Cup in Columbus.
The 2016 season saw him struggle like he did 2014, as his roster was depleted with injuries. As a result, the club failed to advance past the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League again and missed playoffs. While 2017 saw the team struggle with injuries, he wouldn’t let the same result from 2016 happen again. He found himself in a tough spot, but guided the club to their second Western Conference regular season title and reclaimed the Cascadia Cup for the Timbers Army, only to face more injuries and crash out of the Western Conference semifinals.
Caleb Porter proved to be a fresh face for the Timbers. His “Porterball” style earned points with the football purists, while his winning mentality and record earned the hearts of Timbers fans right out of the gate. His cockiness was something that left fans either loving or hating. But ultimately, his results despite adversity was something that fans all could appreciate after their 2015 MLS Cup victory.
Prost Amerika will update this story as it continues developing in the upcoming days.