PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Timbers fired coach Giovanni Savarese on Monday, parting ways with the winningest coach in franchise history a day after a shutout loss to the Houston Dynamo.
Savarese was named Portland's coach before the 2018 MLS season and went on to lead the Timbers to the MLS Cup finals in 2018 and 2021, two of the four times he guided the team into the postseason. The 52-year-old from Caracas, Venezuela, had a record of 74-62-47 in over five seasons and was let go after a 5-0 loss to Houston as the MLS returned from a five-week break for the Leagues Cup tournament.
The team said assistant coach Miles Joseph will serve as interim coach for the rest of the season as the Timbers (6-10-8, 26 points) try to improve on their 12th-place standing in the Western Conference with 10 regular-season matches remaining.
“Gio has been an exceptional coach for the Timbers and a joy to work with,” owner Merritt Paulson said in a statement. “He has achieved some fabulous results during his tenure with the club ... He will be missed.”
Portland GM Ned Grabavoy said the team was set for a new direction.
“I believe the club is ready for a new direction and voice to help lead us forward," Grabavoy said. "Miles Joseph will take over as interim head coach as we begin our process to identify who will help lead our team in the years ahead. This moment serves as a chance for our club to reset, with a goal of re-establishing our ability to consistently compete at the highest level.”
Savarese, a former MLS player who previously coached the New York Cosmos of the NASL for five seasons, became the fifth MLS coach fired since the start of the season. Chicago replaced Ezra Hendrickson with Frank Klopas on May 8, the same day the New York Red Bulls’ Gerhard Struber was replaced by Troy Lesesne. Miami’s Phil Neville was fired on June 1 and replaced by Javier Morales and later Tata Martino. Toronto’s Bob Bradley was replaced by Terry Dunfield on June 26.