The Portland Timbers and Caleb Porter have parted ways according to Paul Tenorio and FourFourTwo. Tenorio initially reported that a “power struggle” within the Timbers organization caused the parting of ways, but later versions of FourFourTwo’s report did not reference any internal struggle.
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.
Coming in after the Timbers fired John Spencer, Porter immediately turned the club around in 2013, leading the Timbers to win the Western Conference regular season title in his first season.
The Timbers, however, struggled in Porter’s second season in charge, as a depleted defense struggled to cover for the aggressive, possession-based approach that Porter used to turn the club around the year before. Despite a strong late-season run, the Timbers failed to make the playoffs and crashed out of the CONCACAF Champions League in the group stage.
Porter, however, wouldn’t have to wait long redemption. After scratching through much of 2015 with a struggling attack, a newly counterattacking Timbers team caught fire in the fall, surging to the third seed in the West. And it wouldn’t stop in the playoffs, as the Timbers ran roughshod through the Western Conference and knocked off the Columbus Crew to take MLS Cup.
Again, however, the follow-up act proved difficult for Porter. Battling injuries and a roster depleted of much of its depth, the Timbers struggled throughout 2016 and again failed to qualify for the postseason.
Whereas the adversity got the best of his team in 2016, Porter didn’t let it happen to the Timbers again in 2017. The injuries returned, but the disappointment didn’t as improved depth and a long late-season string of results salvaged the season. In what may have been Porter’s most difficult coaching job at the helm of the Timbers, the coach led the team to the second regular-season conference crown of Porter’s tenure. Another tidal wave of injuries, however, derailed a once-promising playoff run as the Timbers crashed out in the conference semifinals.
This story will be updated as Stumptown Footy learns more.