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Columbus Crew fires coach Caleb Porter after missing MLS playoffs

Caleb Porter
Derik Hamilton
Columbus Crew head coach Caleb Porter walks onto the field prior to a MLS soccer match against the Philadelphia Union, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Chester, Pa.

The Columbus Crew fired its coach Caleb Porter on Monday, a day after missing the MLS playoffs for the second straight season.

The Crew lost 2-1 to Orlando City SC on Sunday. Columbus needed a win or tie to qualify for the playoffs.

Porter guided the club to the MLS Cup in 2020, and finished with a record of 45-43-37 during his four seasons in Columbus.

He took over when the previous coach Greg Berhalter left to become the U.S. National Team's coach in 2019. He was the first coach hired by the Haslam and Edwards families following the Save The Crew movement that prevented the team from relocating to Austin.

Crew President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko said Porter was fired for not making the playoffs after the club had made a big player signing during the season.

“We assessed the 2022 season as a whole and it’s clear that we fell short in our collective goals. Namely, our goal is to consistently contend for championships. This starts with making the playoffs and then securing a home match as a top-four team in the conference," Bezbatchenko said. "We all share in the responsibility of the results and unmet objectives this season, including myself. As part of our evaluation, we believe that we have a talented core of our roster in place and felt we needed to make a change this offseason as we position ourselves for success in 2023 and beyond.”

Columbus struggled to score goals throughout the season.

Over the summer, the Crew acquired striker Cucho Hernandez, who played the previous season in the top-tier English Premiere League with Watford. Columbus paid a club-record $10 million transfer fee to bring in Hernandez.

Hernandez started his stint in Columbus by scoring nine goals in 16 games and helped to lift the Crew moved into a playoff position in the MLS Eastern Conference. However, they won just five of their last 15 matches and lead the league with 16 ties.

The Crew also fired assistant coaches Pablo Moreira, Tim Hanley, Eric Quill and Blair Gavin on Monday.

Prior to coming to coaching the Crew, Porter led the Portland Timbers to the MLS Cup in 2015 and the University of Akron to an NCAA championship in 2010.

Nick Houser leads the digital media team and oversees all things digital, including wosu.org, columbusneighborhoods.org, digital content, the WOSU Public Media Mobile App, social media, enewsletters, podcasts and on-demand video.