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Vancouver Whitecaps extend head coach Carl Robinson through 2020 season

The Vancouver Whitecaps fell well short of expectations this season, but that didn’t stop them from signing head coach Carl Robinson to a contract extension through 2020.

The Whitecaps announced on Wednesday that they’ve inked Robinson and assistants Martyn Pert and Gordon Forrest to extensions. Picked by many in the preseason as a contender for MLS Cup, Vancouver finished the 2016 season in eighth in the West with a 10-15-9 record, a mark that included a 2-7-5 finish in their final 14 matches.

The ‘Caps did manage to end the season on a positive note, defeating the Portland Timbers 4-1 on Sunday to win the Cascadia Cup and keep Portland out of the playoffs.

“The 2017 season started for us as soon as the final whistle went on Sunday,” Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said in a statement released by the club. “Today’s announcement is a statement that everyone is committed to the vision of our club.

“Carl’s body of work over the course of his five years at the club has shown that he is one of the top up-and-coming head coaches in North America. While this past season was certainly a learning experience for everyone involved within the club, we have complete faith in Carl’s continued vision in acquiring the necessary players to build a team that will compete with the best in MLS.”

Robinson has served on the Whitecaps coaching staff for five years, starting as an assistant under Martin Rennie before taking over the head coaching job ahead of the 2014 season. He led Vancouver to the playoffs in his first two seasons in charge and has guided the ‘Caps to two Cascadia Cups, their first-ever Canadian Championship and two appearances in the CONCACAF Champions League, where they’ll compete in the quarterfinals as the top seed in February.

“As we’ve said all along, we’re building the club for not only the short term, but the medium and long term as well,” said Robinson. “We’re excited to continue building our foundation. We’ve brought in a number of players who have contributed greatly to the successes that we have achieved so far. We have a comprehensive plan for 2017 and beyond; changes will be made and players will be brought in to give our fans the team that they deserve.”

Robinson and Pert will depart Vancouver for South America on Thursday for a scouting trip