Defending MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers miss playoffs
The Portland Timbers entered the 2016 with championship swagger, but they bow out of the season disappointingly early after failing to make the playoffs, unable to defend their crown.
The Timbers fell 4-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps on MLS Decision Day, finishing seventh in the Western Conference and out of the postseason picture. They were pipped by the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City to the final three spots in the West, joining FC Dallas, the Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy on that half of the playoff bracket.
Perhaps no play was more emblematic of the team's woes than Lucas Melano's failure to redirect a ball into the goal at the doorstep, somehow having it deflect off his chest and go wayward. He was taken off by manager Caleb Porter at halftime.
Giles Barnes scored twice in the opening half, while Pedro Morales made it 3-0 with a fantastic finish from long range to put the final nail in the coffin. Shortly after, Nicolas Mezquida made it 4-0.
2015 MLS Cup MVP Diego Valeri scored a consolation penalty kick in the second half to get the Timbers on the board.
With Portland and Columbus Crew SC both missing the postseason, it marks the first time in league history that the two reigning finalists do not play beyond the regular season.
Portland finished 12-14-8, and its road woes were ultimately the club's undoing. The loss at BC Place Sunday dropped the Timbers to a staggering 0-11-6 away from Providence Park. Last season, Portland won seven games away from home.