Standing in the middle of the Columbus Crew locker room, head coach Caleb Porter held a black Crew jersey with his last name and the number “100” on the back.
All around him, from fellow coaches and players, to President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko and Investor-Operator Jimmy Haslam, his colleagues cheered for a milestone that’s only happened on one other occasion in Major League Soccer history.
With the Club’s 4-0 win against Inter Miami CF on Saturday night, Porter became just the second active coach in League history to win two MLS Cups and 100 regular-season games (Bruce Arena).
Join us for the regular-season finale at Lower.com Field on November 7 vs. Chicago Fire FC
As Porter accepted the Crew jersey with his name on it, the two-time MLS Cup champion appeared humbled as Bezbatchenko handed the kit over. Porter didn’t have many words to say, but addressed the room and reminded his players that no coach can reach such a milestone without having talented rosters.
The celebration on Saturday night should serve as a reminder of Porter’s impressive coaching career to date.
The win against Inter Miami makes him just the 11th coach in MLS history to achieve 100 or more MLS regular-season wins.
The 2013 MLS Coach of the Year is one of only three coaches to win two MLS Cups, doing so with the Portland Timbers in 2015 and the Columbus Crew last year inside Historic Crew Stadium. Only three MLS coaches have won MLS Cup with two different clubs, and just six coaches have won the trophy twice.
Although Porter’s comment about how his achievements can’t come without good players is fair, he has shown a proven ability to win regardless of the circumstance. Whether in NCAA or MLS, Porter has led great teams because of his leadership and in-game management.
His accolades from his time leading the University of Akron from 2006-2012 reads like it could be multiple banners stretched out around a stadium:
- 1 NCAA College Cup (2010)
- 7 Mid-American Conference regular-season championships
- 5 MAC Tournament championships
- National Soccer Coaches Association of America National Coach of the Year (2009)
- NSCAA All-Ohio Coach of the Year (2008, 2009, 2011)
- MAC Coach of the Year (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
What is to come of the final few weeks of the 2021 MLS regular season could turn out to be another impressive feat for Porter and the Black & Gold. A lot could be said of how the Club got to this point, but the Crew now sits four points outside the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs with five matches remaining.
On Wednesday night, the Crew plays at No. 2 Nashville SC, followed by a Saturday night clash with the New York Red Bulls inside Lower.com Field.
That the team has won five consecutive home matches is an impressive feat, but there's more to be had before Columbus can compete for a second-straight MLS Cup trophy.
Perhaps that’s why Porter was so quick to move on from what he achieved against Miami. Not because his milestone isn’t worth reflecting on, but because he and the Crew have more work to do.