The Portland Timbers fired head coach Giovanni Savarese on Monday.
The team announced the news a day after the Timbers posted a 5-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo. The loss dropped the Timbers to 6-8-10, good for 12th place out of 14 teams in the MLS Western Conference. Savarese acknowledged after the loss that the "team is completely disconnected."
Some high (or low) lights from Gio Savarese's presser after a 5-0 Timbers loss tonight:
"It is an entire group that did not perform today... This is a performance that is not acceptable... It's difficult for individual players when the team is completely disconnected." pic.twitter.com/ipCkKQ7Sp9
— Brenna Greene (@BrennaGreene_) August 21, 2023
"All of us need to take the responsibility of the lack of competition that we showed as a group today," Savarese said. "It's not about an individual. This is an entire group that did not perform today. This is a performance that is unacceptable. There's a lot of reflection that we have to make. ...
"This is not what we expected. And I'm sure it's not what the fans deserve from us. ... It's difficult also when the team is completely disconnected to even be able to put their part into the entire group."
The loss was Portland's first game since the team went 1-2 in Leagues Cup play.
Savarese's dismissal arrives less than a year after he signed a contract through 2025 that included a team option for 2026. He'd coached the Timbers since 2018 and led them twice to the MLS Cup finals, where they lost in 2018 to Atlanta United and in 2021 to New York City FC.
The Timbers reached the playoffs in each of Savarese's first four seasons and posted a 74-62-47 record under his guidance. But they missed the playoffs last season and are on track to do so again in 2023.
“We are incredibly grateful for the commitment that Gio has given to the Portland Timbers over that last six seasons, and it has been an honor to have had the chance to work with him,” general manager Ned Grabavoy said, per the team statement. “His success during his time with the club speaks for itself, and we wish Gio the best moving forward.
“I believe the club is ready for a new direction and voice to help lead us forward.
Assistant coach Miles Joseph will take over in the interim as the Timbers complete their season and commence a search for a full-time head coach.