VANCOUVER, B.C. - What a difference a year makes.
Last season's Decision Day saw Portland Timbers put in a commanding performance to beat the Colorado Rapids 4-1 and secure their place in the playoffs, on the way to winning their first MLS Cup.
"Disappointing," was Porter's brief summation after the game. "This performance was not good enough. Defensively, we leaked goals. We were missing some quality but that's where your depth needs to step up and they didn't. We had some guys that had some really poor performances.
"You can't win when you get that and we got that across the board. For me, it's the defensive side where I was most disappointed. It felt like we just bled goals. Every time Vancouver were in and around, it seemed to end up in the back of the net."
Vancouver took the game to their bitter rivals from the start. The 'Caps were two goals up and coasting by just past the half-hour mark after a brace from Giles Barnes. Portland were on the ropes and they were knocked out by a killer one-two from Pedro Morales and Nicolas Mezquida in the 54th and 55th minutes to give the 'Caps an insurmountable four goal lead.
But Portland were left angered and frustrated by two game-changing moments in the first half. The first saw Lucas Melano miss an open goal from a couple of yards out, and that was quickly followed by Kendall Waston picking up only a yellow card after a clash with Fanendo Adi on the sideline where he seemed to hit the striker in the stomach.
"There were some turning points that maybe could have changed the game," Porter admitted. "At one-zero, we could have walked the ball in the goal and that would have been 1-1. The decision of the official not to give a red. I'm sure that will be a retroactive, which will be our fifth or sixth of the year.
"So those are factors of the game, but when I look at the overall performance, I didn't think we were good. I didn't think we defended well and I thought we got surprisingly poor performances out of some of our key guys."
Portland, like Vancouver, now find themselves with a long offseason ahead. Just what went wrong for the Timbers will now be under close scrutiny and Porter promised that "evaluate everything" to make the team playoff contenders again next season.
"There has to be some long, hard discussions, reflection on what went wrong," Porter admitted. "It's a combination of things, but for me there were holes in the team all year. Some of those holes started with cap-related issues. Some of those holes were compounded with injuries. It put pressure on the bench to perform.
"But we dealt with holes all season long in the squad. Those holes led to inconsistent lineups, lack of continuity, which meant inconsistency in performance and chemistry. We need to correct that now. The real challenge now is to correct that."