PORTLAND — A person familiar with the decision confirmed that head coach Caleb Porter has parted ways with the Portland Timbers.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made by the team. The surprise move was first reported Thursday night by the soccer website FourFourTwo.com.
The 42-year-old Porter has been coach of the Timbers for the past five seasons, compiling a 60-50-52 record and guiding the team to the MLS Cup Championship in 2015. He was named the MLS Coach of the Year after his first season with the team in 2013.
He signed a long-term contract extension with the team in January, 2016.
Porter tied the Major League Soccer record league record for fewest losses through his first 100 games with just 25. This season he coached his 150th game in the league.
The Timbers qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League twice during his time with the team. The Timbers also reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup in 2013, his first season with the team
The Timbers finished this season as the top seed in the Western Conference, but fell in the conference semifinals 2-1 on aggregate to the Houston Dynamo. The Timbers were decimated by injuries in the semis, including midfielder Diego Chara, who broke a bone in his foot.
“This is one that hurts for sure. We fell short. We felt we could move on, but we didn’t,” Porter said after the game. “When the dust settles I think we will look back and realize it was a good season, but it’s also a season where you think to yourself ‘what if?’ ‘What if we were at full strength?'”
Porter came to the Timbers from the University of Akron, where he was head coach of the Zips from 2006-12. He went to the NCAA College Cup championship game twice during his tenure, winning the title in 2010.
After that loss to Houston to end the season, Porter praised his players.
“One to 25 they were all good guys and there was a great spirit in that locker room. That’s really what made us the team that we were this year. It’s the team and the locker room and the guys’ character,” he said. “So I really enjoyed spending a lot of time in the trenches with these guys. Like I said in a couple days we will realize it was a good season. We made a lot of steps forward this year. We still need to make more steps, but we had a good bounce back from last year.”