New England
Both of last season's MLS Cup finalists missed playoffs for first time ever
New England

Both of last season's MLS Cup finalists missed playoffs for first time ever

Published Nov. 15, 2016 2:34 p.m. ET

Defending MLS Cup winners have missed the playoffs before. So have some MLS Cup runners up. But never before have both of the finalists from the previous year's MLS Cup final failed to make the postseason ... until now.

The Portland Timbers, who were the league champions a year ago, and the Columbus Crew, who fell in the final, are both going to watch this season's MLS Cup playoffs from the comfort of their couches. Both finished outside the top six in their respective 10-team conferences and will not have the chance of a return trip to the final.

The end of the Crew's season has been coming. They weren't eliminated from playoff contention until last week, but they have been close to the bottom of the East for much of the season and never looked like a functioning team. It was a disaster from the start, when they got into a spat with Kei Kamara, and dealing him to New England didn't help much.


Portland managed to stick around all season, entering the final weekend needing a win to make the playoffs, but they were embarrassed, 4-1, by the Whitecaps. It was a fitting capper on what has been an underwhelming season for the Timbers. They failed to win a single match on the road all year and when they needed just one on the final day of the season, they got thrashed by a bad Vancouver team.

Neither team was struck by extraordinarily bad luck. They were simply not very good and that's why their seasons are over. From the MLS Cup final to out of the playoffs in 11 months.



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